30/06/2003

2,000 jobs to go in Network Rail efficiency drive

Up to 2,000 jobs will go at Network Rail over the next three years as part of the company's drive to drive down costs and improve efficiency.

Network Rail, which took over the running of the UK's rail infrastructure from Railtrack last October, today unveiled its plans to reduce costs by a fifth by 2006/7 – part of which will involves job losses. Overall, the company plans to save around £13 billion in operating costs by 2013.

Unions have reacted angrily to the move, and the Rail, Maritime and Transport's (RMT) general secretary Bob Crow has slammed Network Rail directors for awarding themselves loyalty bonuses last week only to hand out P45s to workers this week.

Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) chief Richard Rosser also questioned the prudence of sacking so many workers while also pledging to increase output.

Network Rail's business plan update also contains plans to slash expenditure from a high of £6.1 billion in 2006 to £4.3 billion in 2012.

The programme will also seek to reduce £266 million from the maintenance budget; £804 million cost savings from renewals expenditure; and £246 million reduction in operating costs.

Iain Coucher, Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We are absolutely determined to drive down costs. Our key objective remains unchanged – to deliver safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure.”

"We believe that the programme of radical and rapid reconstruction of the company is the quickest way to achieve cost and performance improvements."

(GMcG)

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