Former Jarvis workers are continuing their fight for jobs and justice after they were sacked in March.
Hundreds protested in Leeds on Friday last week as details of a possible deal to save some of their jobs emerged.
The privatised rail maintenance company went bust, leaving more than 1,200 staff without jobs or redundancy pay.
The government refused to spend £19 million to rescue Jarvis. As a result, vital maintenance work is being done by agencies, hiring workers to travel for hundreds of miles to do the Jarvis work on less pay.
Workers are angry after receiving false hope from transport secretary Lord Adonis that their jobs would be saved. They have organised demonstrations across Britain.
The Babcock Rail firm and the workers’ TSSA and RMT unions have come to a proposed deal.
This could mean around 350 of the 1,200 sacked workers are employed on contracts in the east of England, from London to Berwick-on-Tweed.
But they would be employed on worse terms and conditions and worse rates of pay. And a third of those taken on would then be made redundant.
The company still needs to win the contracts for this additional work before it can employ anyone.
“This is a bitter pill to swallow,” Bill Rawcliffe, a former Jarvis worker and an RMT rep, told Socialist Worker. “But it would be a step forward if we got 350 people jobs from the position we’re in.
“And we have a good record for fighting to improve pay, terms and conditions. To do that though, people have to have jobs. I’m not happy about it as the company is setting people against people.
“But people haven’t had any wages for ten weeks now. More and more people are signing up to do the agency work on lower pay and worse conditions.
“Even if we get these jobs back it’s not the end of it, as so many other people won’t have work. We’ll need to keep fighting.”
The Jarvis workers are planning another demonstration, which will take place in the next few weeks.