Barnsley Bill | 15.04.2010 15:24 | Sheffield
Jarvis workers march through York 9:10am Thursday 15th April 2010
Updated: ALMOST 200 redundant Jarvis workers and their families marched through York to demand their jobs back.
Songs and chants of “justice for the Jarvis lads,” and “jobs not dole,” rang out as railwaymen from as far away as Bristol, Manchester and Doncaster joined York colleagues in a mass protest yesterday.
Picture gallery of march>>
They called for Network Rail to sign contracts with other engineering companies to take on work carried out by Jarvis before it collapsed last month with the loss of 1,200 jobs, including about 350 in York.
They argued that former Jarvis staff should be taken on by the other firms, with no loss of previous terms and conditions, and later set up an action committee to spearhead their fight.
Hugh Bayley, Labour’s York Central candidate, revealed Cabinet Minister Ed Milliband and Yorkshire Minister Rosie Winterton had agreed to write to Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher to press him to sign such contracts without further delay.
Mr Bayley pledged “100 per cent support” for workers and said: “If Network Rail doesn’t move fast the workers will go to other jobs and their skills will be lost to the railway.”
His Liberal Democrat counterpart Christian Vassie and York council leader Andrew Waller, who both joined the march, supported calls for a “TUPE arrangement” to transfer workers to the companies replacing Jarvis on the same conditions.
Demonstrators marched along Blossom Street, Queen Street, Rougier Street and Toft Green, with some taking an alternative route along the Bar Walls.
They jeered as they approached the former Jarvis HQ and Network Rail offices, shouting “shame on you” and calling for Mr Coucher to be sacked. Bill Rawcliffe, the York and district branch secretary of the RMT union who organised the march, was cheered as he knocked on a Network Rail door and demanded in vain to speak to management.
Later, at a packed meeting at the Crescent Club off Blossom Street, he called for the “justice for Jarvis” campaign to continue and urged workers to help form a committee to coordinate the action.
He said: “We are not going to go away. The Government says it cannot intervene, but at the moment it doesn’t want to. It can intervene. They have got to understand how angry we are.”
Network Rail declined to make any fresh comment on the Jarvis plight.
Mark Worker with his wife, Sara, and daughter AimeeMARK Worker was joined on the protest march by his wife Sara – who used to work for the firm – and three-year-old daughter Aimee.
Mark, 38, from Selby, said he had worked at a Jarvis control centre in York for the past eight years, monitoring trackside work.
He said he had known Jarvis was in trouble, but had still been “gobsmacked” when he heard about the firm going into administration. “I just couldn’t believe how quickly it happened,” he said. He and Sara had got through the past few weeks with the help of the ‘bank of the parents,’ and he was facing tough competition as he looked for work. “It’s hard, it really is,” he said.