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Rail workers face losing their job if they live more than 75 minutes' travelling time from their firm's new offices, union leaders said today.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said hundreds of Network Rail employees could be made redundant if they cannot get to the new headquarters in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on time.
Managers have been told they can live up to 90 minutes away from the new multi million-pound site next to Milton Keynes railway station, said the union.
TSSA said it had calculated that 850 staff, mainly living south of London in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire will be affected by the 'unfair' decision.
The new office is set to open in the summer, replacing the current London headquarters of the rail infrastructure company.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "This is an unfair and arbitrary decision which we believe to be unlawful. This modern-day version of Beat The Clock to get work is a complete nonsense.
"They are telling staff they cannot follow their jobs in the worst recession in 70 years. With unemployment heading towards three million, where else are they going to find work in these hard times?"
Mr Cortes has written to NR, warning bosses that the union will take legal action to defend its members' right to move to Milton Keynes, adding: "We are hoping that NR will start to see sense on this issue."