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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2010

Ex-Jarvis workers protest in Leeds

Around 100 former Jarvis workers and supporters attended a protest outside Jarvis administrator's Deloitte's headquarters in Leeds on 7 May. After Jarvis collapsed earlier this year, 1,200 rail maintenance workers on the contracts it operates for Network Rail have been left without work.

Yet these are vital contracts for work that needs to be done to maintain the rail network. As Justice for Jarvis Workers organiser Bill Rawcliffe said at the demo: "Either Network Rail are not keeping up with maintenance work and are putting the public's safety at risk, or they've given the jobs to other contractors to do the work on the cheap."

The rail union RMT are demanding that the workers are re-engaged by whoever takes over the contracts, on the same pay and conditions as before. But Network Rail, and the government behind them, seem determined to hire new workers on cheaper pay. Yet as one worker said to me: "If the government can spend billions bailing out the banks, then why shouldn't they spend the 19 million Deloitte's have said is needed to save our jobs."

Most workers only found out they were out of work the day the company collapsed, despite the company having reassured workers that it was in good health. One woman who spoke to me explained how she'd been on maternity leave and had only found out about it via the TV news.

She has gone from being on full maternity pay to not even being able to claim statutory maternity pay! All the workers have now gone ten weeks without pay, and the RMT is appealing for funds to assist the workers in their campaigning.

Send cheques made payable to Doncaster RMT, clearly endorsed on the back Justice 4 Jarvis, to 30 Abercorn Road, Intake, Doncaster, DN2 6NH.

Iain Dalton

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