Rail union RMT warned yesterday it would ballot members for industrial action in a dispute over Network Rail maintenance which threatens 1,500 redundancies.
The national ballot for action will begin in the New Year with RMT also fighting attempts by Network Rail to impose new working arrangements.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The past few days have shown that there are already too few staff to deal with the freezing conditions on the tracks. Many of the problems that have hit the railways have been down to not enough engineers being available to unfreeze points and tracks. The 1,500 planned job cuts will hit services and safety with dire consequences for staff and passengers alike.”
Last month the union said it had learned Network Rail was planning to cut 1,448 maintenance staff, with 650 of those working on the West Coast Main Line.
Network Rail said no final decisions on the job cuts had been made. A spokesman added: “Our plans to restructure maintenance depots will enable us to direct resources to where they are needed and enable them to be more responsive.”