Martin Zee – Guard Merseyrail

Our Ref: HSR/5/8
Head Office Circular: NP/220/15
11th November 2015

The Secretary

Dear Colleague

Martin Zee – Guard Merseyrail

Following a resolution from our Wirral Branch the General Grades Committee have considered the case of our Guard’s Grade member Martin Zee.

Martin was involved in an incident at Hamilton Square on 8th July 2015 in which a member of the public was injured when she tried to board the train after the door closure procedure had commenced when the door closing alarm was sounding. The individual concerned received a number of injuries after falling between the train and the platform. Our member, by following the training he has received from the company, was instrumental in assisting the train driver in isolating the electrical supply to the third rail by placing the short circuit bar on the running and conductor rail. Martin then lowered himself between the platform edge and the train and offered assistance and reassurance to the member of the public until the emergency services arrived.

Merseyrail’s investigation into the incident and the company’s response to the findings of that report is exemplary. The company have taken no action against our member and all of the recommendations in the report are addressed to system risk issues rather than individual failings. This is in line with RMT’s campaign of fair culture programme in the investigation of incidents.

What is beyond belief is that the Crown Prosecution Service has now commenced a prosecution of our member under Section 34 of the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861. This statute allows for the prosecution of staff on the railway who endangered the safety of any person conveyed or being in or upon a railway. The maximum penalty under the Act is two years imprisonment.

On giving consideration to the resolution from Wirral Branch the General Grades Committee have adopted the following Decision:

That we note the resolution from our Wirral Branch and agree with the sentiments contained within.

We note our Member Brother Martin Zee has been disgracefully charged under section 34 of the offences against persons act 1861 for performing nothing more than a door procedure in line with Merseyrail's training standards, this unfortunately resulted in minor injuries to a passenger who opted to ignore the hustle alarm, warning her that it was unsafe to board, instead choosing to board the service whilst the doors were in the process of closing whilst it was unsafe to do so.

This GGC notes that Merseyrail carried out their own full and detailed investigation following the incident, further we note Merseyrail's findings following the completion of their investigation amounted to nothing and they advised our Member that he had carried out the "Power operated door procedure" as per the company standard, that he would not face any disciplinary sanctions following the outcome of their findings which proved his innocence beyond doubt ,without any failings on his part.

Additionally we note Brother Zee has been provided full legal assistance from the RMT in an attempt to clear his name and ensure justice is sought. This GGC recognises and welcomes the support Merseyrail have provided for our Member during this difficult time, firstly for the offer of providing legal assistance for our Member and secondly for working together with our Union in an attempt to ensure police charges were not brought against Brother Zee although unfortunately this turned out not to be the case.

This GGC believes if the CPS do not withdraw these charges against our Member, then this could result in grave consequences for the Rail Industry in general, leaving our Members receiving no level of protection whatsoever, regardless if they follow agreed company training procedures whilst carrying out door operating procedures which could ultimately result in police prosecutions should a member of the travelling public choose to ignore warnings not to board a service whilst Train doors are closing, potentially resulting in injury.

We therefore instruct the General Secretary to write to Merseyrail seeking assurances over our Members future employment status regardless of the out-come of these charges, we
further instruct the General Secretary to raise this matter directly with the ORR, seeking clarification on approved power operated door training standards requesting information as to who or whom, if anyone? is protected in circumstances such as these and whether the wider rail industry is aware that police charges may be brought against rail workers even in circumstances when procedures are carried out as per the agreed company standard.

Finally the General Secretary is instructed to request that this is an item for discussion to be raised through our Parliamentary Group members to build a high profile political awareness around this case and to place pressure on the CPS to do the decent thing and withdraw the charge against our Member, any further developments to be placed back before this GGC.

Relevant Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with this Decision and will update you as appropriate. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary