RMT condemns ‘wholly inadequate’ Network Rail funding
RMT: October 30 2008
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST rail union RMT warned today that the Office for Rail Regulation announcement on Network Rail funding is wholly inadequate for the needs of the system over the next five years.
“The £26.7 billion package ordered by the ORR represents a £2.4 billion shortfall on the £29.1 billion requested by Network Rail – a massive funding gap which can only hamper proposals to enhance the system,” said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.
“Following 30 per cent ‘efficiency savings’ for the period 2003-08 Network Rail must now implement an extra 21 per cent, combining to make a colossal 51 per cent over 10 years.
“After the government found billions to bail out the bankers we might have expected something of the same for our beleaguered rail system. They are quite clearly trying to fit a pint of beer in a half pint pot.
“RMT will resist any resulting job losses and any cuts which might compromise rail safety. We will not be pushed back into a situation where another Hatfield, Paddington, Potters Bar or Grayrigg tragedy occurs.
“That the ORR thinks it possible to develop the railways over the next five years on such a budget, amid projected increases in demand for passengers and freight, defies belief.
“The environment and economy are crying out for large-scale enhancements to the system such as the implementation of high-speed lines and the replacement of the remaining diesel-powered engines with electrification. Today’s announcement risks undermining these, as well as countless smaller-scale proposals, before they even reach the planning stage.
“Network Rail will attempt to make up the shortfall by piling pressure on a workforce which is already working excessively long hours, increasing concerns over health and safety at work.
“This is especially worrying in the wake of last week’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the Grayrigg derailment, which blamed a lack of resources and imposition of unrealistic workloads for the tragedy.”