In the midst of a recession, redundancy can have devastating consequences for those on the receiving end and their families. But the implications of job losses amongst railway trackworkers have another dimension - their potential impact on the maintenance regime and safety.
Network Rail is currently looking to cut costs by "cutting heads" - between 10-15% of its workforce will go. The company claims that this does not pose a threat because it has "a very robust safety change process". The RMT brands the proposals as "a recipe for disaster".
So who's right? Over the next few months, we'll try to work that out.