DB Cargo UK has reached agreements with the four trade unions that represent most of its workforce. This means that it will launch its new business model on 2 July 2017, as planned.
ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite have been in discussions since October 2016 with the country’s largest rail freight operator, when the company announced proposals to cut 893 jobs (almost a third of its workforce) in a restructure triggered by the rapid decline in the core market of coal. The working arrangements of employees will also be updated and modernised.
Hans-Georg Werner, CEO of DB Cargo UK, said: “I would like to thank ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite for their continued dialogue with us. 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.”
As the coal sector for rail freight reduces, other markets including aggregates and steel remain buoyant.
Hans-Georg 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.”
Furthermore, Railway Gazette International reports: "DB Cargo is investing in Astra Rail MMA wagons and developing its Anubis customer order IT system. Digital remote conditioning monitoring is being fitted to 97 Class 66 and 28 Class 67 locomotives to identify and prevent mechanical problems up to two weeks before a failure might have occurred."