A Different Approach to the Rules

Dear Colleague


Further to Head Office Circular, NP/210/12 of 11th September 2012 I am writing to update you on the current situation on changes being made to the railway rule book by RSSB on behalf of the rail industry. The General Grades Committee noted and adopted the following report of the National Sub-committee at its meeting of 1st February 2013:

We note that we wrote to Train Operating Companies asking for their views on Tranche 6 (failures, accidents, incidents and degraded working), Tranche 9 (train working) and Tranche 10 (defective trains, shunting and station duties).

We note the near-identical responses from East Coast, Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, Merseyrail, London Overground, Chiltern, Scotrail, First Great Western, Arriva Cross Country and C2C which state that the companies are legally obliged to implement Tranche 6, which has now been imposed; and refuse to answer our concerns about Tranches 9 and 10, stating that we will receive their comments through the RSSB process. Only the response from Arriva Trains Wales goes further than this, outlining the processes it is following to discuss and implement the changes.

We note that following concerns from RMT (and some TOCs) during the consultation on Tranches 9 and 10, TW1 (preparation and movement of trains) and TW5 (arrangement for dealing with defective on-train equipment) will be revised and a new version prepared for February 2013. We further note that implementation dates have been put back by six months due to RMT raising concerns. It is clear that RMT’s input is proving to be an obstacle to the employers’ attempts to water down our important safety rules. We reiterate that the trend to replace watertight rules with ‘competence management systems’ across the railway industry represents a dilution of safety standards which RMT will forcefully resist.

We instruct the General Secretary to:

1. Ensure that a workshop is arranged regarding the revision of TW1 and TW5, our representation at which is to be agreed by the GGC once a date has been confirmed.

2. Obtain a brief report of the TOMSC held in December 2012.

3. Obtain and place in front of us the disposition statements for Tranche 11 (signals and indicators) and Tranche 12 (working on signaling equipment and movement of trains during failure) workshops.

4. Noting their failure to respond adequately thus far, write again to all TOCs asking how they intend to apply the changes consistently and nationally.

5. Arrange for a presentation to be given to all Regional Councils on this issue and also offer this to branches.

6. Compile a summary of our concerns on Tranches 9 and 10 and circulate it to branches and Regional Councils, making clear the status and timescales of the process.

Any developments to be placed in front of us.

Branches, Regional Councils, company/area council and health & safety representatives to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments with this case.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Bob Crow

General Secretary