Members of the RMT and TSSA transport unions at Network Rail are on track for a major confrontation with their bosses over plans to cut 1,500 safety-critical jobs.
Every group of workers balloted so far has voted to back strike action. The key issue is the axing of maintenance staff, who do track inspections.
Their job is to stop train disasters like those at Potters Bar, Hatfield and Grayrigg from happening again.
“Network Rail is taking safety risks by cutting these jobs,” said Dave Barnes, a TSSA member at the company. “There is great support for the maintenance workers. They are not properly staffed and resourced to do the job they’re doing now, never mind after cuts.
“We need to strike as soon as possible across the company to have the biggest possible impact. We have a big battle on our hands.
“We are fighting to defend the public and workers’ safety. Everyone should support us.”
The unions were meeting bosses at the Acas conciliation service as Socialist Worker went to press. Unless the company backs down completely the RMT and TSSA should call hard‑hitting action that would bring the rail network to a standstill.