Network Rail staff face the sack if they live 75mins away from headquarters

A union has claimed that Network Rail staff are being threatened with redundancy if they live further than 75 minutes travelling time from the new Milton Keynes headquarters.

According to the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, rail managers have been told they must get to the new multi-million pound site within 90 minutes – which is located next to Milton Keynes railway station.

The TSSA announced that 850 members of staff could face redundancy if failed to reach the Buckinghamshire base on time.

However Network Rail revealed that they only expected 150 members of staff to face problems meeting the latest regulation.

Rail offices from around the country will be brought together into the new Milton Keynes site, housing around 3,000 staff. Whereas Network Rails’ head office will remain in London.

Manuel Cortes, the TSSA general secretary said: “This is an unfair and arbitrary decision which we believe to be unlawful. They are telling their staff they cannot follow their jobs in the worst recession in 70 years.

“With unemployment heading towards three million, where else are they going to find work in these hard times?”

Mr Cortes has warned Network Rail of legal action in order to defend its members right to move to Milton Keynes. “We are hoping that Network Rail will start to see sense on this issue”.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are pulling together dozens of offices from around the country into one national centre at Milton Keynes that will deliver a better, more efficient way or working and save the taxpayers tens of millions of pounds a year.

“Around 150 people are affected by the travel limits, but we hope they will choose to stay with the company and be a part of our plans to deliver a bigger, better railway in the years ahead”.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

British railways branded the worst in Europe

A study has revealed that Britain’s railways are the worst in Europe when it comes to affordability, efficiency and speed.

The union-commissioned report by think-tank Just Economics has revealed that the network trails behind countries including France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Research found that the only area the UK performed better than the listed countries was for the frequency of trains.

In the UK a season ticket costs around 14p per kilometre whereas 8p per kilometre in Germany, France and Holland, which are the second most expensive countries.

In Britain day return tickets cost around 26p per kilometre and are almost twice as expensive when compared to the second most expensive country Switzerland where it costs 15p.

The report revealed that only Spain’s trains are more crowded than the UK’s in terms of ratio of passengers to seats.

According to the report: “In terms of bang for buck, not only does the UK come bottom of the index of outcomes but it also spends a relatively large amount of money to achieve this woeful result. This means that it also comes bottom of the value for money league.

“Our under-performing railways carry a considerable cost both for passengers and for the public purse.

“Our calculations show that a more affordable, more comfortable and faster railway would generate a staggering £324billion in social value (£9.2billion a year) between now and 2050. This is the equivalent of £7 of value per average journey in that period”.

Eilis Lawlor, the reports author said: “Our research puts figures on what anyone who has been to France or Spain already knows – the UK’s railways are poor value for money.

“The Government should act decisively and make an objective and transparent assessment of the best way to organise Britain’s railways so as to maximise social, environmental and economic value”.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We will shortly announce plans which will deliver a better value railway for the benefit of passengers, taxpayers and the wider economy. We hope unions will work with us on this”.