Use of Non-Operational Staff During Strike Action

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Dear Colleague,

USE OF NON-OPERATIONAL STAFF DURING STRIKE ACTION

Further to Circular No. IR/32/13 dated 15th January 2013 and with regards to the above matter. I was instructed by the General Grades Committee to carry out the following instructions:

“Provide advice and support to Branches, Representatives and Activists on monitoring safety breaches and the use of inadequately trained/qualified staff during industrial action.

Ensure that Health & Safety Representatives demand full information from employers as to training/competence and licensing of people working during industrial action.

Collate information about incidents where non-operational staff have been used during industrial action and where safety has been compromised: report this to the ORR and also publicise it, further we encourage Branches, Regional Councils and Representatives to report these matters to Head Office so that they can be placed on file.”

With the first point in mind, I would like to remind all members that you have the legal right to remove yourself from the workplace if you have a genuine belief that you are being put in danger by someone else’s actions or by any activities that you are being asked to carry out. RMT has produced a booklet on this issue called ‘Serious and Imminent Dangers’, which is available in pdf version on the Health & Safety pages of the RMT website at http://www.rmt.org.uk/files/134924/FileName/dangers.pdf Feel free to download, copy and distribute this booklet.

If you feel that replacement staff are inadequately trained or qualified and that this poses a danger to you and others then you have the right to use the legislation in the booklet. I would ask that you take details of any breaches of Safety Regulations, Safe Systems of Work or manipulation of the Safety Management System and forward to the safety section at s.mackay@rmt.org.uk or p.clyndes@rmt.org.uk

Members should ask for the credentials of staff replacing those who are taking industrial action. Ask for proof of when they were qualified and what kind of training took place. For those replacing safety critical staff ask to see their PTS card and check that it is up to date. Further, RMT Health & Safety reps should ask employers what their contingency plans are for covering those taking industrial action including their training and qualification plans.

The Health & Safety section will gather information on the use of non-operational staff and any breaches of safety so you are asked to report this to the section using the email addresses above. This information will be forwarded to the Office of Rail Regulation so please include as much detail as possible.

Please bring the contents of this Circular to the attention of all members.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Crow

General Secretary