Our ref: HSR/2/6
Head Office Circular: NP/64/23
31st March 2023
To: The Secretary
NETWORK RAIL – MODERNISING MAINTENANCE, SAFETY CONSULTATION
I write further to Head Office Circular NP/8/23, dated 13th January 2023, to explain that I have received correspondence from ORR (Office of Rail and Road). In this correspondence they refute my claims, as I made in an earlier letter to them, that NWR are in breach of the Safety Representative and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, in relation to consultation and sharing of documentation with RMT safety representatives.
At its meeting on 30th March, your National Executive Committee (NEC) noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety sub-committee:
We have considered the ORR letter of 1st March 2023, and disagree with them as regards the following:
- that NR have consulted as such level that allows our Reps to provide “informed” comments on the Modernising Maintenance proposals
- that the documentation RMT has requested relates to public or passenger health and safety, when in fact the documents requested related to technical matters
Provision of information
- that safety reps need only sufficient information so that they are adequately informed about the health, safety and welfare of the employees they represent, because SRSC Regs, Inspection of documents and provision of information, Regulation 7, Guidance 7, 67, state that: “Appointed health and safety representatives will need to be given appropriate and sufficient information and knowledge to enable them to play an informed part in promoting health and safety at work”.
Request to attend national consultation
- that by sending an ORR Inspector to one of the consultation sessions they would be able to assess if NR had failed to consult. Because what actually happened when an Inspector attended the final consultation meeting – was they had their camera off and was on mute and when RMT put a question to them the Inspector he was not there to answer.
In relation to the above the General Secretary is instructed to:
- Request a meeting with ORR
- Seek legal advice on the SRSC regs and ORR definition of safety reps needing only to be “adequately informed”
- Make a formal complaint to ORR regarding Tom Wake, ORR Head of Mainline Inspection (North), in connection with his conduct at NR consultation meeting on 3rd March 2023
Additionally, in relation to the role of the ORR - both during RMT industrial action and in connection with Modernising Maintenance consultation - for the General Secretary to:
- Write to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman asking them to investigate ORR in relation to their failure to regulate
- For this issue to be taken up via the Parliamentary route
- Write an article for RMT News
For the General Secretary to place a progress report before the NEC in two weeks’ time.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.