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Network Rail: Staff Levels, Working Arrangements and Employment Conditions

Volume 693: debated on Thursday 29 April 2021

What recent discussions he has had with representatives of Network Rail on (a) future staff levels, (b) working arrangements and (c) employment conditions. (914901)

As sole shareholder, the Secretary of State has regular discussions with the chair and chief executive officer of Network Rail, as do I. Obviously those discussions sometimes cover matters such as the structure and operation of that organisation.

I thank Network Rail for contacting me yesterday, but may I point out that the trade unions are alarmed to hear of its recent proposals, which could involve the loss of thousands of rail jobs and a halving of the frequency of safety-critical planned maintenance work? We certainly do not want any return to the cost-cutting and safety failures under Railtrack. Can the Minister assure the House that safety will not be compromised and that any changes will be agreed with the trade unions and the regulator, which play such a vital role in protecting safety on our railways?