TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to the boss of Network Rail (NR) warning of "widespread disruption" across the country's railways unless agreement is reached on a no compulsory redundancies guarantee.
Amid reports that NR is planning to slash thousands of posts, the union is now demanding an undertaking that no one will be forced out of a job.
In his letter to NR Chief Executive, Andrew Haines (full letter below), Manuel Cortes says that pressing ahead with plans for reform at the moment is "both unnecessary, in the light of continuing talks about the future shape of our industry and will be taken as a sign of bad faith at a time when our members have done so much to keep our railways running in the toughest of times".
Manuel Cortes adds that, unless NR step back from their restructuring plans by the start of June, "our union will be in dispute with Network Rail leading to widespread disruption of the network."
Commenting further, Manuel Cortes adds:
"If Network Rail bosses think leaking their plans to hit our members’ jobs while we remain in the crucial Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) talks is clever then they are badly mistaken.
"Let me be crystal clear, any attempt to use compulsory redundancies will be met by industrial action ballots and trains will be coming to a halt across the network this summer.
"There's an easy way to ensure this does not happen – and that is for NR to give a no compulsory redundancies guarantee until at least 31 December this year. Unless this is forthcoming by the start of June we will be in dispute with the company.
"Our members have put their lives on the line over the past year while we fought this terrible virus. Their employers need to act responsibly and give them the peace of mind they need as they go to work each day keeping our railways safe for all."
Full text of Manuel Cortes' letter to Andrew Haines
Network Rail Chief Executive
The Quadrant, Elder Gate,
Milton Keynes MK9 1EN
24 May 2021
I am writing to express the concerns of our union having learned that Network Rail is already going ahead with some restructuring prior to the conclusion of talks at the Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) discussions.
As you will know these talks are in part about how we put in place an industry-wide uniform approach to deal with such matters.
To take steps now is unnecessary, in the light of continuing discussions about the future shape of our industry. I have no doubt that this will be seen as a sign of bad faith at a time when our members have done so much to keep our railways running in the toughest of times.
Therefore I am seeking a no compulsory redundancies guarantee from you that will last until at least the 31 December this year. If you are unable to provide this by 1 June 2021, our union will be in dispute with Network Rail.
TSSA General Secretary