ROLE OF THE GUARD AND EXTENSION OF DOO – SOUTHERN (GTR)

Our Ref: BR2/0146

7th October 2016

TO ALL SOUTHERN GTR CONDUCTORS AND CONDUCTOR INSTRUCTORS

Dear Colleague,

ROLE OF THE GUARD AND EXTENSION OF DOO – SOUTHERN (GTR)

I would like to make it clear from the outset that the strike action which is due to begin on Tuesday remains firmly on. The aim of this dispute has always been to stop the extension of Driver Only Operations and, whatever else happens with regards to the letters management are sending you over the next few days, that remains the objective of your union and all our members concerned.

You should take heart from the fact that the whole of the trade union movement is firmly behind you, with pledges having been made in excess of £50,000 for your strike fund from other trade unions, meetings and protests continuing throughout the autumn and MPs and councillors throughout the areas of the franchise and beyond backing your cause. The TUC Congress also recently unanimously passed a resolution in support of you and your colleagues over the courageous stance you have taken during this dispute.

The clear legal advice we have received also makes clear that whatever steps are taken in terms of the imposition of the OBS role by management, this dispute will still be lawful and all further strike action will be legitimate.

However, the “options” as outlined in management’s letter to you are very serious and it would be irresponsible if your union did not provide you with the advice that, most importantly, protects your employment, as that is the first duty the RMT has towards its members. Additionally, not volunteering for an OBS role or securing one of the posts to remain as a Conductor opens the way for management to terminate your employment and then re-engage you as an OBS. The danger in leaving management with the decision to terminate and re-engage raises, is that they will simply do the sacking without re-engaging, depending on whose face fits.

Your union has therefore taken very serious consideration of the matter and would advise you to volunteer for the OBS roles as outlined in the correspondence you have or will shortly receive from management. There are three different groups affected whom we understand are being dealt with as follows: -

Conductors

Those remaining in the Conductor role

GTR will write informing them that they will be continuing in their Conductor role. There are 214 Staff affected.

OBS 1

Those who have already signed up for an OBS role

GTR will send them an OBS Contract of Employment which must be signed and returned to the company by no later than 4th November 2016

OBS 2

Those who have not volunteered for the  OBS  role

GTR will send a letter giving 12 weeks notice of the end of their employment as a Conductor. A new OBS Contract of Employment  will be included which must be signed and returned to the company by no later than 4th November 2016

As stated above, we are advising members to agree to the OBS role, albeit under protest. If you are an OBS 1 or OBS 2 member as outlined above, you should include a signed copy of the attached pro forma when returning your signed OBS Contract to the company.  Please note that contracts must be returned by no later than 4th November 2016.


Nevertheless the dispute remains very much alive and we are pressing ahead with the industrial action previously called that starts from 0001 hours on Tuesday 11th October. The strength and determination of you and your colleagues throughout this fight for justice has been incredible and I have no doubt it will be just as strong in the action next week.

NB Please be advised that the National Executive Committee has recently decided to pay £60 dispute payments for each day that members take part in the industrial action.  

I will keep members fully informed of developments and urge you to keep up the fight!

STAND FIRM
SUPPORT THE ACTION

Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary