RMT calls for Grant Shapps to intervene as it declares dispute with rail firm Hitachi and reveals scandal that UK taxpayers are paying for Japanese company to fire UK rail workers.
RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP immediately intervenes to protect rail workers jobs and taxpayer’s money as Hitachi Rail UK Ltd plans to sack 64 rail workers working on the publicly owned London North Eastern Rail (LNER).
The union, which has today entered into dispute with Hitachi Rail UK Ltd, can reveal that the Department for Transport signed a commercial agreement with Hitachi dating back to 2012 in order for Hitachi to take on the rolling stock contract, which allows Hitachi Rail to make staff redundancies and the UK Government to pick up the bill to cover these redundancies, which with 64 redundancies being proposed would cost approximately £6.4 million. RMT research has shown that Hitachi Rail UK Ltd made a profit of over £278 million last year.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is a disgrace that this Government is allowing a multi-national privatised rail company to fire UK rail workers at the height of the Covid19 crisis whilst UK taxpayers pick up the bill.
“Our rail workers have kept the country moving during this crisis ensuring vital food, medical and now Covid-19 vaccine supplies are delivered across UK and it is a shocking indictment that our Government is siding with unscrupulous employers rather than our heroic key workers.
“I’m calling on the Transport Secretary to personally intervene in this scandal to ensure rail workers jobs are protected and that UK taxpayers do not have to pay the multi-million pound bill.”
The full letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP is below:
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
SW1P 4DR 14.01.21
Proposed redundancies at Hitachi Rail – Craigentinny and Bounds Green Train Maintenance Centres
I am writing with concern regarding reports of Hitachi Rail undertaking consultation of a total of 64 redundancies at both Craigentinny and Bounds Green Train Maintenance Centres on the LNER operator. Obviously my union is deeply concerned about our member’s jobs and livelihoods and we are currently in dispute with Hitachi Rail to avert and minimise these job losses at the height of the Covid19 crisis.
I am also gravely concerned of reports that despite the Hitachi Rail workers being TUPE’ed from LNER in November 2018, Hitachi Rail is insisting that it is your Department who pays for any cost of redundancies which at 64 redundancies would work out at approximate £6.4 million charged to the UK taxpayer.
Hitachi are seemingly seeking to strip out the original LNER pay structure, terms & conditions and pensions agreements and then use replacement labour on Hitachi terms all subsidised by the taxpayer without any risk to Hitachi. According to the most recent accounts published on Companies House for the year to March 2020, Hitachi Rail UK Ltd made a NET profit of over £278 million.
So your Government will in effect pay Hitachi to shed workers through redundancy at the height of a national health crisis and the worst recession for 300 years. Whilst this is all in clauses of the commercial agreement between your Department and Hitachi dating back to 2012 in order for Hitachi to take on the 27-year IEP rolling stock contract, it is completely unacceptable that your Government has allowed this to happen and for our member’s jobs to be at serious risk due to the fact of the financial risk being entirely on the UK tax-payer and not the Rolling Stock Operator.
I am calling on you to urgently intervene in this scandal and do everything you can to protect UK rail worker’s jobs and taxpayers money. I would very much like to discuss this with you and look forward to hearing from you at the earliest opportunity.