DB re­struc­tur­ing

Rail (UK) - - Network News - @Clin­nick1

BRI­TAIN’S largest freight op­er­a­tor DB Cargo has reached agree­ment with four trade unions re­gard­ing changes in the way it works go­ing forward.

The agree­ments, which have been struck with ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite, will en­able DB to in­tro­duce what it calls its “fu­ture busi­ness model” on July 2.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions with the unions be­gan in Oc­to­ber 2016, when the com­pany first an­nounced that it would be mak­ing op­er­a­tional changes owing to a decline in coal freight ( RAIL 812).

It plans to in­tro­duce a new ‘hub’ struc­ture to re­place its cur­rent net­work of de­pots and lo­ca­tions, which it claims no longer match mar­ket and traf­fic re­quire­ments. Nine­teen ‘hubs’ will be in­tro­duced.

DB has con­firmed that 893 jobs will be lost un­der the re­or­gan­i­sa­tion - al­most a third of its 2,974-strong work­force. A spokesman for the com­pany con­firmed that staff have al­ready be­gun leav­ing and more would go over the com­ing weeks. They said: “The ma­jor­ity of re­dun­dan­cies are on a vol­un­tary ba­sis, but re­gret­tably there is a small pro­por­tion of com­pul­sory re­dun­dan­cies.”

Hans-Ge­org Werner, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of DB Cargo UK, said: “Un­der the pres­sures of the mar­ket we were able to find agree­ments ac­cept­able to all par­ties and avoid in­dus­trial ac­tion. We re­gret that some col­leagues will be leav­ing us, but treat­ing our peo­ple fairly to se­cure a busi­ness that will be suc­cess­ful in the fu­ture has been at the heart of our dis­cus­sions.

“We will now move forward with our plans to lead the next gen­er­a­tion of rail freight, which in­cludes key in­vest­ments such as new wag­ons, ter­mi­nal en­hance­ments and com­bin­ing our core func­tion of de­liv­er­ing goods by rail with be­spoke in-house IT so­lu­tions, to give our cus­tomers the best ser­vice and make it easy for them to do busi­ness with us.”

The com­pany said that while coal freight de­clined, other mar­kets in­clud­ing ag­gre­gates and steel re­mained buoy­ant. Fig­ures re­leased by the Of­fice of Rail and Road (ORR) on Fe­bru­ary 23 ( RAIL 822) sug­gests that con­struc­tion (ag­gre­gates) had risen 6.6% in terms of com­mod­ity moved, while me­tals (steel) had risen by the same fig­ure.

How­ever, ORR said DB’s fleet moved 3.86 mil­lion kilo­me­tres of traf­fic in 2016-2017 Q3 (Oc­to­berDe­cem­ber 2016), a re­duc­tion of 3.4% com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2015-16.

Werner added: “There is a strong fu­ture for rail freight in the UK be­cause it of­fers ben­e­fits that its com­peti­tors - mainly road - can­not. It’s ef­fi­cient, it’s quick and it re­moves con­ges­tion from our roads be­cause a train can carry much more vol­ume than a truck. We are mak­ing sure rail freight pro­vides so­lu­tions for cus­tomers now and in the fu­ture.”

COLIN G WOOD.

DB Cargo 66034 hauls a rail train from Truro to Eastleigh via Pen­zance on April 23, pass­ing near Lar­gin in the Glynn Val­ley (Corn­wall). Al­most a third of DB’s staff will leave the com­pany by the start of July.

Richard Clin­nick richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk As­sis­tant Editor

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