Rail cutbacks looming

May 9, 2009

Cityrail management began a staff review process on April 29 for staff working on the Illawarra line. The breakneck speed of the process so far has raised concerns among Cityrail workers that this is just another exercise in cost-cutting that will run down the already stretched rail network.

So far 39 locations have been reviewed by management and unions. Of these 32 are in dispute. No agreement has been reached between the management and the union members on the staff review committees for these locations.

The state government hoped to cut one-third of railway jobs on the NSW south coast said the April 9 Illawarra Mercury.

Management has announced a wish list of 570 job cuts across the Cityrail network.

The job cuts would reduce the ability to evacuate underground stations in an emergency. Disabled and elderly commuters would also be disadvantaged by any cut in station staff.

However, in an irony that seems to escape management, the top management structure is being expanded. Twenty new customer service managers will replace seven regional business managers.

The planned cuts to frontline staff come despite a 5.7% increase in passenger journeys last year.

Rail and public transport is a key component of any sustainable future. It needs to be expanded, not slashed as the Cityrail management and the NSW government are planning.

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