EMR Contingent Guards

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/371/21
4th October 2021
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Your National Executive Committee (NEC) met on 30th September 2021 to discuss a report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee relating to my correspondence with ORR (Office of Rail and Road). This correspondence with the Regulator was initially about my concerns as to the health and safety consequences of using bus coordinators to replace train managers during the current RMT dispute with the Company. Subsequently I wrote to ORR to ask them to investigate several safety on the line incidents which occurred involving this replacement workplace. The report adopted by the NEC is based on this correspondence and is as follows:

We note the correspondence between the General Secretary and ORR.

In relation to this we instruct the General Secretary to write to ORR ask why it took two dispatch against red signal incidents before the ORR fully investigated EMR arrangements for Contingent Guards during RMT disputes, and it was only then that they identified ‘weaknesses’ in the EMR competence management system.

The General Secretary to ask exactly what checks the ORR carried out in August, that led them to be satisfied by the assurances given by EMR – that ARR bus coordinators had sufficient competence and fitness to undertake the role of contingent guard in line with legislative requirements. But by September, following our letter to them highlighting dispatch against red signals incidents, that the ORR were only then able to identify “weaknesses” in the competence management system?

The GS to additionally request from ORR:

- the DAR data they refer to
- An explanation as to what ‘relatively consistent means’ in relation to the DAR data.
- information on the ‘weaknesses’ ORR have found in EMR CMS system
- the letter they have sent to EMR about weaknesses in the CMS system – and the Companies reply
- an explanation as to why they were initially satisfied with EMR “assurance on ARR staff competence and fitness” when shortly afterwards an ARR Contingent Guard using a “Bluetooth headset” was permanently removed from contingent guard duties by EMR.

Finally, for the GS to conclude in this letter to ORR that the thoroughness of their assessments of Train Operating Companies measures during RMT disputes is thrown into question by what has happened on EMR.

We instruct the General Secretary to issue a press release highlighting inadequate checks taken by ORR in relation to bus coordinators replacing train managers on RMT strike days - and to request of our Parliamentary group that they table questions and motions on this subject.

Branches and Regional Councils to be advised accordingly.

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

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary