Our Ref: HSR/2/2
Head Office Circular: NP/237/20
30th September 2020
To: The Secretary
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
MESS FACILITIES AT WATERLOO STATION (SOUTH WESTRN RAILWAY)
The following resolution was submitted by Waterloo Branch:
Waterloo Branch has serious concerns about the lack of suitable accommodation at Waterloo for all SWR staff, a location that is the hub of the network, some of the existing mess facilities haven’t expanded for some years now even though the passenger numbers have increased and more trains are running however still stuck with the existing mess facilities.
Since the COVID 19 pandemic it has highlighted significant issues that the existing accommodation is not fit for purpose with the added social distancing measures that are in place to protect our members is having an added strain, it’s at a point that managers offices are being used as an over flow for the train crew at Waterloo, which isn’t solving the problem because members don’t feel comfortable eating within as it’s still a designated managers space and managers are in and out of the area and further more we have other grades based within this raft that have facilities that are not adequate for the very same reasons. The company are stating that the existing accommodation is suitable for the staff and they have based this on the fact that there are only supposed to be a certain amount of staff within these rooms when having their break, that means those staff who may want to access the area for example get a drink or obtain something out of their locker cannot do so, doesn’t also take into account shift change overs. Other mess facilities are not big enough to accommodate staff lockers they have to be stored at another location on the station nowhere near their mess facility, given that we are in the 21st century this should not be the case, staff should not have to sit on a train or the concourse to eat their food because which is happening because there is not adequate space for them to sit and eat.
Our Industrial/Health & Safety Representatives have been raising the above concerns on a weekly basis both during COVID 19 and before and are told that there is a high level accommodation JWG meeting arranged to discuss this topic however no updates on these discussions has been given to our representatives and no actions to take forward, representatives were told today that only one meeting has taken place with no future ones scheduled, a question was asked as to whether the Head of Network Rail responsible for Waterloo attended this meeting and the response was no.
Waterloo station is the hub of the SWR network however hasn’t got suitable or adequate accommodation to accommodate not just Waterloo based staff but those who come into waterloo from outer depots who have their PNB at this location. To learn that there is adequate moth balled space underneath the old International Terminal that was used by the contractors who rebuilt this area, this area is ready made as mess facilities, when we ask why this cannot be used by SWR for a joint mess facility for SWR & NR staff the response is firstly its owned by International Continental Railway (Estate agent of DFT) and that the area hasn’t got a fitted alarm system and that its too expensive to connect.
Its of the view of this branch that SWR are either waiting for the social distancing measures to go away so they don’t have to deal with the problem, or have plans ready to use the space underneath the WIT for retail shops.
We therefore call on the National Executive Committee to instruct the General Secretary to carry out the following:
Write to the Department for Transport requesting information as to what the obstacles would be to allow discussions with Network Rail & South Western Railway to use the facilities underneath the old International Terminal.
Write to South Western Railway requesting that a high-level meeting is arranged with all the elected SWR & NR Trade Union Representatives (LDC & H&S) along with Senior Managers from their organisation and to extend the invite to Network Rail, the purpose of these talks are to explore options for additional mess facilities including toilets with a view to move this forward and have constructive discussions to move this forward.
All Wessex Branches and Regional Council to be informed and updated on developments
Your NEC noted and approved the report of its Health and Safety Sub Committee at its meeting on 16th September 2020:
We note the resolution from Waterloo Branch. The General Secretary is instructed to write to the Department for Transport requesting information as to what the obstacles would be to allow discussions with Network Rail (NR) and South Western Railway (SWR) to use the facilities underneath the old International Terminal. The General Secretary is further instructed to write to SWR requesting that a high-level meeting is arranged within two weeks with all elected SWR and NR Trade Union Representatives (LDC and H&S), RMT’s Regional Organiser and NR Co-ordinator along with senior managers from its organisation and to extend the invite to NR. The purpose of these talks is to explore options for additional mess facilities (including toilets).
Any updates to be placed before this NEC.
Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
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.