Maintenance Cut Backs and Track Worker Protection

Our Ref: HSR/4/2
Head Office Circular: NP/113/16
08th April 2016

The Secretary

Dear Colleague

Maintenance Cut Backs and Track Worker Protection

Newcastle and Gateshead Branch raised serious concerns over the safety of frontline maintenance, operations and contract staff working for Network Rail as a result of cutbacks. A reduction in frontline workers has resulted in Network Rail removing the ability to utilise additional signal disconnections or additional detonator protection where staff are using conventional line blockages to keep them safe. The onus to keep frontline workers safe has been passed to the signaler. Our workforce are concerned that under a conventional line blockage there is nothing to stop a signaler incorrectly sending a train into a protected area, however if there was additional secondary protection, then this would give belts and braces protection to the workforce.

The National Executive Committee has taken the following decision:

“We note and support the contents of the resolution from Newcastle and Gateshead branch. We further note our recent resolution on this issue of secondary protection which instructed the General Secretary to ensure that the Line Blockage Working Group had a specific strand of work looking at the issues of secondary protection. In addition the union’s campaign to halt the PDSW/SWL programme has been successful. We instruct the General Secretary to ensure that L.N.E. rep Steven Shiel is included in the Line Blockage Working Group on secondary protection. The General Secretary is instructed to place a report from the Line Blockage Working Group before the NEC, where we will consider convening a consultation meeting with our reps.
 Branch’s and Regional Councils to be advised.”

I am in the process of carrying out those instructions.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary