Hopes rose today that a new jobs rescue plan could save jobs lost following the collapse of rail maintenance firm Jarvis.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has told the leaders of the two main rail unions that Network Rail has agreed to re-allocate Jarvis work in a matter of days, and that workers on the new contract would be directly employed.
Now RMT general secretary Bob Crow and Manuel Cortes, deputy leader of the TSSA, will meet Babcock Rail, the likely new contractor, on Monday and are seeking an urgent meeting with NR to win assurances that sacked Jarvis staff will be re-hired on their old terms and conditions.
It was reported this week that former Jarvis staff have been hired by labour-only agencies to carry out rail maintenance work on longer shifts at half their former weekend rates – being paid £6 an hour for work they were previously paid £12 an hour for.
Bob Crow said today: “It is quite clear that 1,200 front-line rail maintenance staff did not suddenly become redundant when the company collapsed, and it is imperative that Network Rail is not allowed to use the crisis to drive down costs at the expense of our members’ safety and conditions.
“We now need to make sure that justice is done and all Jarvis workers are transferred under their old terms and conditions. We do not want to see then exploited and endangered, working longer hours for less money under worse conditions.”
Mr Cortes, TSSA assistant general secretary, added: “This is a crucial issue, not just for the Jarvis staff, but for another 1,500 NR maintenance workers who are also facing the sack because of Network Rail’s reckless cutbacks on vital maintenance work.
“Lord Adonis needs to bang some heads together. Here we have a state-funded rail company threatening to throw 2,700 skilled staff on the dole when the taxpayer will then be expected to pick up the bill. It is the economics of the madhouse and it should be stopped immediately.”