A Network Rail employee who “works on the infrastructure daily” has emailed Sky News to counter what he suggests are widespread misconceptions about the cause of this week’s strikes.

The worker, who provided his name to Sky News but asked to remain anonymous, said the action was not primarily being driven by pay.

“The issue that I have is nothing to do with money,” he said.

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“Every reporter and news station across the country is just focusing on pay – this strike is mainly about safety. Network Rail want to cut 2,000 operative jobs just on my route alone.

“They want all operatives across the country to be gone and replaced with a job role called assistant technician.

“The duties of this role would include travelling to various locations throughout the country in your own vehicle, therefore using more fuel and having to change your insurance policy to allow for business use, therefore costing the worker more money.

“They also want to bring in cross-discipline working so they want staff to be able to work with various departments using skills that people have mastered over years of experience.

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“However, they expect us to do their highly skilled work even though we are not trained to do the task.

“Network Rail wants to attack our pension scheme and make us work more weekends with reduced rest periods between shifts, therefore making staff more fatigued and increasing the risk of serious injury.”

The worker went on to criticise Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive.

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“This is the man that claims we need to save money as the company has no money to give us a pay rise, while he sits there on his £635,000-a-year job,” he said.

The latest available figures indicated Mr Haines’s salary was between £585,000 and £589,999 annually.

Network Rail has been contacted for comment.