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25 Jul 2022

Nilufer Guler, Open Democracy

UK: Rail workers protest proposed maintenance staff cuts warning about safety risks for passengers

Rail workers reveal shocking safety incidents they deal with every day, 25 July 2022

Striking rail workers have revealed how they give vital medical assistance, rescue passengers from the track, and stop thefts – all as part of jobs that could be at risk from Network Rail cuts.

Staff at a number of operators will down tools twice this week in a dispute over job security, pay and working conditions – on 27 July and 30 July.

It follows action earlier in the month that saw 40,000 railway workers walk out – among them cleaners, station staff, guards, catering staff and maintenance staff. This time train drivers in ASLEF and workers in the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will also be joining forces after backing strike action earlier this week.

Network Rail wants to “modernise” the rail industry by cutting staffing levels and using new technology in place of railway workers. But unions’ concerns aren’t just about job insecurity – they say there are also major questions about the safety of rail travel if the changes go through...