Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/382/21
15th October 2021
To: The Secretary
NETWORK RAIL WORK INSTRUCTION COVID-19 CONTINGENCY PLAN: SAFE WORKING PRACTICES
Further to Head Office Circular NP/352/21, dated 17th September 2021, I received an updated report from your Lead Officers, noting that Network Rail effectively imposed changes to the Covid 19 Contingency Plan and its Safe Working Practices. In view of this imposition without proper consultation, RMT effectively withdrew from discussions over this issue with the company and reported the matter to the NEC who made clear the union’s opposition to these changes.
Network Rail has proceeded with utter indifference to our position, with an arrogant and belligerent attitude that frankly beggars belief when we are talking about safety and making sure staff are as protected as possible in what remains a global pandemic.
The company has been seeking to engage our reps in more localised discussions, in risks assessments etc, knowing full well that this union is opposed to the changes it is implementing and having frankly expressed our disgust and dismay at the way it has undermined proper consultation on these matters.
RMT strongly believes that Network Rail has failed in its duty to consult us properly on these important safety issues - giving us just 48 hours’ notice of the documentation, indicating at the start of a meeting that consultation could continue and by the end of the meeting giving us an implementation date – and that it shows contempt for this union and its reps and for safety.
Your National Executive Committee, at its meeting on 14th October, noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee:
We note the correspondence on file from the Lead Officers.
The General Secretary is instructed to write to Network Rail to state that RMT is instructing our reps not to engage with any reductions or changes to Covid precautions, the Covid contingency plan and safe working practices, and demand that the company does not to put pressure on our reps to take part in its flawed and incomplete consultations,
Branches and Regional Councils to be informed.
Network Rail members to be advised via email and text.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep members advised of any developments.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.