Our Ref: HSR/4/5
Head Office Circular: NP/319/13
18th December 2013

The Secretary

Dear Colleague


The AGM 2013 adopted item 55:

This Engineering Grades Conference is concerned for the safety of staff and travelling public. Casualisation has increased considerably since most of the major rail contractors have laid off large percentages of their staff, in favour of agency workers.

We do not wish to alienate or target agency workers. We would like to be able to do more to help them get organised, be safe and be treated fairly. It is highly likely that if this situation continues, everyone will either be an agency worker or a self-employed worker in the near future.

We believe that the union should contact the ORR and the Health and Safety Executive and use the media in order to put pressure on Network Rail. It is imperative that Network Rail demand that the agencies are organised properly, behave in an appropriate manner and treat workers fairly.

For example:

•    The number of agencies that can be used is reduced.
•    A minimum standard of training for staff should be in place. This should be set for each grade, with a way to gain experience and move up.
•    Each grade/role is given the same rate of pay.
•    Good quality PPE is provided.
•    All companies/agencies should sign up to the Life Saving Rules. If this does not happen, they should not be permitted on the infrastructure.

On giving consideration to item 55 the General Grades Committee have noted and adopted the following report from their Health and Safety Sub-committee:

We fully support the sentiments of the AGM resolution and that considerable campaigning work is being done by the national union on these matters. Particularly in our Great Railway Pay Roll Rip Off campaign, the National Railway Renewals campaign and the Track Safety Alliance. The General Secretary is instructed to continue to advance our concerns in this matter. A further report on progress with these matters to be placed in front of this GGC in March 2014.

Branches and Regional Councils to be informed.

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