Our ref: HSR

Head Office Circular: NP/85/24

9th April 2024

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague



I have received correspondence from the Lead Officer regarding the lack of staffing and resources for overhead lines coverage provided by Network Rail Scotland during the recent storm Isha. The Lead Officer has raised serious safety and performance concerns with Network Rail and Scotrail and linked the issue directly with the "Modernising Maintenance" Program imposed by Network Rail. 

The issue of staffing has also been raised through the Collective Bargaining Machinery. 

The Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, Alex Hynes, has informed the union that in his view Scotland’s Railway did have sufficient people to repair and reopen the railway within reasonable timescales. 


He has also commented that, with regard to the joint decision between Network Rail and ScotRail to stop running services across Scotland at certain points due to the storms, this was due to a commitment to operating safety rather than a lack of front-line personnel.


In respect of Modernising Maintenance, this way of working commenced in late November last year, and it has taken some time to populate all of the roles within the new structure. Although progress has been made, work does remain ongoing and is a key area of focus. Post implementation reviews will be undertaken, and this will provide the opportunity to fully understand whether the Modernising Maintenance headcount is appropriate.


Mr Hynes, has offered to meet with the RMT Lead Officer for further discussion on this matter.

At its meeting on 2nd April 2024, your National Executive Committee noted adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee: 

We note the contents of the letters from our Lead Officer. 


The General Secretary is instructed to seek an updated report from the Lead Officer (Scotland) following his meeting with the Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway and place the matter back before this NEC.


Members in Scotland to be updated on developments thus far.


Branches and Regional Councils to be advised accordingly. 

I am acting in line with these instructions. Please bring this circular to the attention of all relevant members.


Yours sincerely




Michael Lynch

General Secretary