Our Ref: BR4/16/3

3 August 2017

Dear colleague


As you will know, your union has been involved in consultations with Babcock Rail with regards to the company’s plans to cut jobs and close a number of its depots.  You may also be aware that this matter was raised by your union during a recent meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

As part of the union’s efforts to defend the interests of you and your colleagues against Babcock management’s plans, a meeting was held recently involving RMT officials and reps, Babcock Rail and, as the contract provider, Network Rail. The aim of the talks was to explore possibilities for our members who will be hit with the threatened closure of the Eastleigh and Newport depots.

However, despite lengthy discussions on this subject, no alternatives to depot closures were proposed as it was very clear that both Network Rail and Babcock had agreed a business model that will close Eastleigh and Newport permanently, with any remaining work in these areas for the next Control Period being located out of Bristol. The only hint of mitigations to the job losses and depot closures was in making Babcock staff aware of any possible job vacancies in Network Rail within the areas affected, but even this, if it came to anything positive at all, would mean redundant staff having to travel extensively throughout south Wales along the Western area and in to Wessex for any work.

Your National Executive Committee has noted the situation and that the meeting mentioned above failed to deliver a resolution acceptable to you and your colleagues and that, further, Network Rail will continue to allocate work from the work bank in the areas covered by the depots marked for closure to be carried out by agency labour.

With the latter point in mind, your NEC has instructed me to seek legal opinion on the validity of Babcock’s redundancy plans while utilising agency staff to such an extent. Also, with Eastleigh, Newport and Bristol depots being so affected during this process, the NEC has also instructed me to carry out a ballot of members at each of those depots and this will be done as early as possible.

It is outrageous that Babcock are going ahead with its redundancy and depot closures process while utilising so many agency staff to carry out its work. This work, which is essential to the running of the railways, should be carried out by permanent Babcock employees. There seems no logical explanation for Babcock and Network Rail’s decisions on this situation. That is why your union is fighting them on all fronts – industrially, legally and politically through the work of our Parliamentary Group and Welsh Assembly colleagues.

I will continue to keep members updated on the situation whenever any developments arise.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary