Travel threat to rail jobs 'unfair'

Network Rail employees who live more than 75 minutes from new headquarters in Buckinghamshire could lose their jobs, a union has claimed.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said workers could be made redundant if they could not get to the Milton Keynes offices on time.

TSSA said 850 staff south of London in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire would be affected by the decision.

Network Rail said it was helping about 150 people who were affected.

The company confirmed that managers had been told they could live up to 90 minutes away from the multi-million pound site next to Milton Keynes railway station and other workers up to an hour and 15 minutes away.

A spokesman said it was talking and working with each individual about the move and encouraging relocation.

Legal action

However, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "This is an unfair and arbitrary decision which we believe to be unlawful.

"This modern-day version of Beat The Clock to get work is a complete nonsense.

"They are telling staff they cannot follow their jobs in the worst recession in 70 years. With unemployment heading towards three million, where else are they going to find work in these hard times?"

Mr Cortes said he had written to Network Rail warning bosses that the union would take legal action to defend its members' right to move to Milton Keynes, adding: "We are hoping that NR will start to see sense on this issue."

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We are pulling together dozens of offices from around the country into one national centre at Milton Keynes that will deliver a better, more efficient way of working and save taxpayers tens of millions of pounds per year.

"We are talking and working with each individual about the move, encouraging relocation, making help available and putting transitional arrangements in place."

The new office is set to open in the summer, replacing the current London headquarters of the rail infrastructure company, though it will keep its head office in London.

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