Our Ref: HSR/4/2
Head Office Circular: NP/224/16
21st September 2016
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
Network Rail – Roles and Responsibilities
Further to Head Office Circular NP/174/16, 22nd June 2016 further meetings have taken place between the RMT and the company. Network Rail are proposing far reaching changes to the way in which workers on the infrastructure are protected from trains. RMT support the principle of a single controlling mind and are determined to see the necessary changes made to fully protect our members working on the infrastructure. The route to securing this process and proper protection for our members must see our representatives fully involved.
Whilst the commitment to working with the company in designing and implementing a new process to protect track workers is important we cannot undertake this work until the current situation in the East Midlands is improved.
Clearly, there is, and continues to be, disagreement with the company over current working practices in the initial trial area of PDSW in the East Midlands. RMT representatives in the area believe the current confusion over what form of protection is offered to workers on the track is leading to unsafe working conditions amongst our members and their immediate line management. Our representatives have called on the company to revert to the current 019 standard.
In response the company allege that the ORR have informed them that to make this change would require full safety validation and if that were the case the validation exercise could take six months.
The RMT are concerned that the current 019 standard has its short-comings, and that the standard needs revision. We further believe the current arrangements, which are still in place in the rest of the country, are far better than the mess that is currently in place in the East Midlands. Why is there any need for a safety validation process for a standard that is currently used in the rest of the country?
A meeting has been held with your National Executive Committee and our East Midlands representatives. Following this, and with the NEC fully appraised of the current circumstances, they have noted and adopted the following report of their Health and Safety Advisory Committee:
Following our meeting with the East Midlands representatives on 16th September 2016, we note the following points:
• We welcome the initiative to base a future system on a revised 019 Standard which is drafted in collaboration with RMT and which is adopted via a developmental approach;
• We cannot accept the continuing confusion and dubiety that has been created in the East Midlands;
• We are only willing to participate in the suggested collaborative approach to a revised Standard on condition that before this commences the East Midlands Area reverts to the existing national 019 Standard that is in use in every other Area and Route;
• We do not accept the statement from NR that reversion to the existing national 019 Standard in East Midlands would take 6 months to achieve;
• A further condition of our involvement in creating a new system is that issues of planning competence and resourcing, and the role of Team Leaders (and equivalents) in planning/verification must be addressed to this Union’s satisfaction.
We instruct the General Secretary to inform the company of our position in this matter. Once again our representatives have shown their commitment to protecting the safety of our members and we congratulate them on their continuing efforts on behalf of the membership.
All Branches and Regional Councils be advised.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.
Our Ref: HSR/4/2