UK rail union RMT has demanded urgent legal action against Network Rail (NR) and a stop to its 1,500 maintenance jobs cut plan, following the Railway Inspectorate’s recent revelation of ‘systemic’ safety breaches on track-work safety.
Railways Inspector Liesel von Metz served an improvement notice to NR last week saying lines between Cardiff Central and Rhymney, Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfill violated the Health and Safety at Work Act and railway safety regulations.
The violations include the lack of lookouts on duty to ensure safe track working, and indicates that “similar failings may be present in other maintenance delivery units across all routes.”
RMT, which is balloting 12,000 track staff over safety and job cuts, said when the inspectorate is finding such fundamental faults, it is time to call NR’s management into question, and if there are breaches of the law they should be in court facing charges.
NR chief executive Ian Coucher said it was the ambitious long-term plan of the rail operator to improve services across the whole network, which will in turn support local businesses.