A leading rail workers’ union is holding a day of action on Thursday, warning of cuts to maintenance, infrastructure and renewals work.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) claimed that Network Rail is planning £1.2 billion of cuts over the next five years to track and infrastructure renewals work, following the Government decision to axe the public company’s budget.
The union warned that if the cuts go ahead, there will be an increased risk to safety on the railways.
Union activists will leaflet stations across the country on Thursday.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Network Rail’s plans to cut over a billion pounds on railway renewals work jeopardises safety for rail workers and passengers.
“Our railway infrastructure needs to be maintained and improved, which can only happen by increasing investment, not cuts.
“We’ve already had reports of cracked rails, problems with drainage and recent extreme weather events.
“We cannot afford to allow the railway to be less safe, which is why we will be campaigning to reverse these cuts throughout the country on Thursday and in the coming weeks and months ahead.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We know there’s going to be lower demand for the specialist track renewal services we offer in the next five years as we invest in our infrastructure in other ways, so we’re consulting with our colleagues and trades unions on changes to restructure and re-size some of our teams accordingly.
“Safety remains our priority and all proposals will be thoroughly safety validated before we make any final decisions.”