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Union leaders were formally invited to consultation talks with Network Rail last night following breakdown of negotiations with National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) ahead of the start of three days of industrial action today.
The invitation to the RMT, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) and Unite, seen by NCE, is for talks on 1 July at Network Rail’s Eversholt Street office in London.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines expressed his disappointment to NCE in the way the strikes had been called and set out the need for modernisation as part of the pay deal.
In the letter, Network Rail sets out the process so far and the need to “implement meaningful changes to working practices by April 2023”.
Following the breakdown in negotiations with the RMT yesterday, the letter goes on to say that Network Rail “cannot delay any longer” and that it intends to “press ahead with consultation on the implementation of certain technologies in order to make the railway a safer and more efficient workplace”.
The letter adds: “While we do not believe that we need the agreement from our trade unions to make these changes, we would much prefer to implement them with your agreement and co-operation.”
Network Rail has said that the purpose of the 1 July meeting is to commence the formal consultation on working practice changes and to begin the consultation process for the 1,800 redundancies that could arise from the implementation of those practices.
The proposed changes outlined in the letter include implementing individual rostering, standardising the allocation of night and weekend working and a revised roster authorisation process and introducing joint incident response teams.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Last night Network Rail passed a letter to the RMT asking them to attend the start of formal consultation talks on 1 July on the introduction of modern working practices in our maintenance organisation.
“The changes will mean dumping outdated working practices and introducing new technology, both of which will lead to a more effective and safer maintenance organisation.
“We expect this will reduce roles by around 1,800, the vast majority of which will be lost through voluntary severance and natural wastage. With retraining and redeployment also available to us, we anticipate there will be a job for everyone that wants one.
This article first appeared on www.newcivilengineer.com
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