Network Rail has risked furthering angering rail unions by announcing that 500 maintenance workers will lose their jobs by the end of next month.
The rail infrastructure company said that the cuts would be made as part of a voluntary redundancy programme, reports the Times. They come after 235 volunteers took redundancy in January.
Network Rail wants to cut between 1,200 and 1,300 employees as the greater part of rail spending in the next four years shifts from maintenance to capital expenditure.
It has already clashed with the RMT union over the redundancy programme, in which the original target was 1,500 job cuts. It was feared that some of these would be compulsory.
The RMT planned to bring maintenance workers and signallers out on strike at the beginning of this month. Network Rail succeeded in stopping the action, which would have shut down the network, via a High Court injunction. The two sides are holding talks at Acas, which will continue today.
Network Rail insists that it was able to cut maintenance jobs after increases in productivity and the introduction of new technology.