UK train strikes are in the midst of a more automated workforce promotion


Network Rail states that “union non-compromise” is hampering railroad modernization, and that the proposed 1,850 unemployment can be managed by early retirement.

A three-day national train strike by the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) trade unions has caused confusion for commuters, and many countries, including most of Scotland and Wales, have no rail service at all. Hmm. The entire Cornwall and Dorset.

Part of the strike is about wages, and RMT is demanding a 7% salary increase to deal with the cost of living crisis, but it’s also about unemployment and seeks to introduce a more automated workforce. It’s a big test for people. United Kingdom, London Times Columnist Iain Martin calls RMT a “dinosaur.”

RMT, which called for 40,000 members on strike this week, opposed plans to “reduce the employment of thousands across the rail network without ensuring that there is no compulsory redundancy” and “infrastructure. Reduce safety inspections by 50. ” Percentage to promote a large amount of redundancy. “

Epoch Times Photo
June 21, 2022 (Pennsylvania), RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch of the Picket Line outside London Euston Station.

RMT Secretary-General Mick Lynch said this week, “We will continue our industrial campaign until a negotiation is reached to stabilize employment and raise members’ salaries to deal with rising living costs.”

However, Kevin Groves, Media Head of Network Rail, said he wanted to reduce 1,850 jobs from the 10,000 strong workforce in the maintenance sector. He added that there are 2,000 vacancies across the organization, many maintenance workers have an age profile of over 50, and the organization believes there is a “potential demand for early retirement.” ..

“I believe there is work in the company for everyone who wants it,” Groves told The Epoch Times.

RMT accused of “hype and publicity”

He accused RMT of using “hype and publicity.”

But why would Network Rail, a non-shareholder public body, want to dismiss 1,850 workers?

Groves said he wants to modernize rail maintenance by introducing new technologies that are faster and more efficient.

He wanted Network Rail to drive inspection, tracking of broken drones, and Remote condition monitoring (RCM)-But the “stubborn” RMT refused to discuss them.

For inspections, according to Groves, a male crew member is now out and walking in line looking for cracked rails, missing clips, and rotting sleepers.

“When they are happening, we have to shut down the line. However, there are techniques that could replace these visual inspections. Very high resolution (VHD) using. ) There is a camera Plain line track recognition AI software, “he explained.

Epoch Times Photo
RMT members are standing on the Picket Line outside Glasgow Central Station in Scotland on June 21, 2022. (PA media)

Groves said: Ping the marker and when the train is finished it will be downloaded to the engineering system for later confirmation.

“With this system, no one is at risk, it’s more accurate than the human eye, and it can be automatically generated in a work program,” he added.

“Smart meter” for railway points

According to Groves, the RCM is a kit that attaches to points and other lineside equipment and works like a home smart meter.

“It sends back the measurements so you can know if the points are in good condition, so you don’t have to go out and send an inspection team,” he explained.

But he added that all of this requires a formal consultation process, “if the union wants to be stubborn, it can be maintained indefinitely.”

Groves pointed out that Network Rail recently introduced an internal app called Blink. It works the same as WhatsApp for staff, but it took 12 months to deploy for the union, he said.

The Epoch Times contacted RMT but did not get any comments.

“Myopia and dangerous” reductions in safety processes

However, Trades Union Congress (TUC) Policy and Campaign Officer Robert Mage said: LaborList Last month: “The cut to the basic safety process of Network Rail is short-sighted and dangerous. Network Rail has taken over from a private operator. line After three serious fatal accidents arose from its failure. And the current proposal would cost 627,000 hours of maintenance per year and return to the same inadequate level of maintenance. “

Network Rail continues to maintain the tracks in-house, but outsources tasks such as track updates and ballast cleaning to contractors such as Balfour Beatty. Network Rail has invested £ 300 million ($ 376 million). Fleet of high power machines It has become the third largest in the world in the last decade.

Epoch Times Photo
Train passengers at Waterloo Station in London on June 21, 2022, the first day of the RMT strike. (YuiMok / PA)

However, the Minister of Transport Grant Shaps announced in May last year. Plan to replace network rails In the new Quango in 2023 Great British RailwaysAs part of the “30-year strategy”.

Maisey said: However, the Great British Rail proposal leaves the actual day-to-day operation of the railroad in private hands. Poor integration and central issues for private citizenship have been acknowledged, but they have not been fundamentally resolved. “

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in crime, police and law, covering stories from a wide range of countries.