Our Ref: HSR/2/6
Head Office Circular: NP/118/20
21st May 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Bristol No.1Branch and South Wales and West of England Regional Council submitted the following motion to the National Executive Committee:

(The RMT Bristol branch and South Wales and West of England Regional Council) calls upon the General secretary to demand an RMT approved independent Risk Assessment of the standard trolley on the IET GWR trains, to be carried out in conjunction with the RMT Union and paid for by GWR.
If GWR do not agree to pay we would like the RMT to pay for the assessment.
If GWR fail to agree to the RMT paying and not facilitating an independent risk assessment, we demand a ballot be carried out to support some form of industrial action.
Our members have raised serious concerns about long term use of these trollies and several of our Customer Hosts are exhibiting new injuries leading to time off work.
It is vital that GWR pay due consideration to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992 which specifies the four factors employers must consider when making an assessment of the Standard trolley, namely, the Load, the Individual Capability, the Task and the Environment.
It has become apparent that the numerous complaints being raised by Customer Hosts, carrying out their duties, relate to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD's). These are caused by work and working conditions. They are as a result of the repeated exposure to high loads over a long period of time. These complaints are not taken into account as they are progressive injuries and not accidents. The main areas of the body affected are the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs. Others are non-specific because the pain or discomfort exists without evidence of a clear specific disorder or occupational disease. The repetitive nature of the tasks being performed, handling a heavy trolley, exerting stress to the limbs are most likely to be the chief cause of these problems.
Also, In December 2019 GWR introduced a new timetable, resulting in faster and more frequent trains between stations. As a result of the faster journey times, trains are breaking in a harsher manner into stations and accelerating faster out of stations, making it very difficult to control the standard trolley in and out of stations. Customer Hosts are also struggling to control the trolley over junctions and when approaching signals that have changed, causing the driver to break in a harsh manner. Bristol branch believes the timetable change has resulted in a significant change and as such a new risk assessment should be carried out.
We call on GWR to reassess the standard trolley in conjunction an RMT approved risk assessor and the RMT union. We cannot and should not allow our members to be continuously subjected to using this unsuitable equipment.”

At its meeting on 13th May, the NEC noted and adopted the following resolution:

We note the resolution on file from our Bristol Branch. We further note that despite the best efforts of our Lead Officer the company are not prepared to sanction the expense of an independent risk assessment. We therefore instruct the General Secretary to make a formal complaint to ORR that GWR’s own risk assessment in this regard is neither suitable nor sufficient and we expect the ORR to resolve this matter to RMT’s satisfaction.

At its meeting the following day (14th May), the NEC noted that the South Wales and West of England Regional Council motion had been covered by this resolution.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments. Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary