I'm pleased to see my own constituency MP, Ian Mearns, doing something positive here - tabling a House of Commons motion in defence of a Tyneside rail depot threatened with closure. Via RMT
'RAIL UNION RMT today pledged to step up the fight to save the Babcock Rail depot in Newcastle which is facing the threat of closure early in the New Year. RMT is calling on MPs to back Early Day Motion 1119 tabled in the name of Gateshead MP Ian Mearns:
“That this House expresses concern that Babcock Rail's Newcastle-upon-Tyne depot is threatened with closure and that there is no guarantee of employment at current levels for the skilled railway infrastructure workers at the depot after March 2011; believes that the loss of these track renewal jobs would damage the North East economy and undermine capacity for future rail projects in the region; notes that there is appropriate rail infrastructure work in the area planned by Network Rail which could safeguard the depot and on which these workers could gainfully be employed; recognises that Britain lacks a long-term, co-ordinated strategy for railway infrastructure and engineering; and calls on the Government urgently to convene an industry summit which includes the trades unions to develop an integrated approach to enhance Britain's capacity and skills base.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“It is a shocking indictment of the lack of strategic rail planning in this country that skilled rail jobs in an area where there is clearly a long-term demand for infra-structure renewals and upgrading could be left on a knife edge in this way. Protecting skilled, engineering jobs in the North East must be a political and industrial priority and the loss of all or part of the capacity at the Babcock Rail depot would be a hammer blow for the economy in Newcastle and beyond.
“For these workers it’s the second time in less than twelve months that they have ended up with the axe hanging over their heads as most of these posts were transferred out of the collapsed Jarvis Rail company earlier this year after RMT negotiated an arrangement to protect the jobs. That is no way to treat experienced, skilled rail workers that we need to keep our trains running.
“RMT welcomes the political support for the campaign to keep the Babcock Newcastle depot open and we are writing to MP’s urging them to join us in this fight and in the wider battle for long-term, strategic rail planning that brings an end to this continuing uncertainty amongst the work force.”'