The UK’s Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has intervened with the government over the ongoing dispute between Network Rail and rail union RMT regarding 1,500 maintenance job cuts.

Responding to the recent move by the RMT to hand over a dossier on the safety implications of the cuts to government officials, ORR chair Anna Walker said that it is scrutinising Network Rail’s restructuring proposals.

“We will make our own independent judgement on whether the proposed new structure can safely maintain the railway, and will take appropriate follow-up and enforcement action if we believe safety may be compromised as a result of the changes,” Walker said in a letter to TRANSPORT Secretary Lord Adonis.

The ORR’s director of railway safety will submit the inspection’s conclusions by mid-February, after which the regulating body will write to the RMT.

National rail operator Network Rail announced the job cut plan in August 2009 and the RMT has been opposing the move ever since.