Non-Gangway Stock Working, Conductors – Northern Rail

Our Ref: HSR/2/15
Head Office Circular: NP/258/14
2nd December 2014

The Secretary

Dear Colleague

Non-Gangway Stock Working, Conductors – Northern Rail

Wigan Branch have submitted the following resolution for consideration by the General Grades Committee:

Wigan Branch has serious concerns over an announcement by Northern Rail that they plan to introduce a trial for ‘unit hopping’ that instructs Conductors members to work on non-gangway stock leaving units in service with no competent person on board. It is this Branch’s belief that our union already has a policy on this in the form of our ‘Keep the Guard on the Train – Keep the Train Safe’ campaign.

By agreeing this practice is totally undermining the campaign and completely weakens our case against DOO. This Branch is of the view that if Northern Rail wish to introduce this method of work in pursuit of further profit at the expense of our members and passenger safety then Northern should invest some of the millions they make in profit each year by purchasing modern rolling stock fit for the twenty first century and more importantly fit for purpose.

By signing up to this working practice would also dent the successful campaign we are currently running over the proposals for DOO on the next Northern/TPE franchise as this would give the company the ammunition they need to turn around and say that they are currently running services without a competent person on-board weakening our argument against DOO.

This Branch calls on our General Grades Committee to seek an urgent report on this matter from the Lead Officer and further calls upon the General Grades Committee to instruct the General Secretary to write to all Branches to reiterate our unions policy on ‘unit hopping’

In response the General Grades Committee carried the following resolution:

That we note the Resolution from Wigan Branch and agree with the sentiments expressed within. Referring to decision G1792 on the 10th Oct 2013 we reiterate our Unions policy that we will not accept “Unit Hopping” as it is detrimental to the safe despatch of Trains.

We therefore instruct the General Secretary to write to our Lead Officers and Company Council Secretaries outlining our Policy and to inform them that we will not engage in any form of discussion appertaining to this practice. Further the General Secretary to send copies of the decision(G1792 10TH Oct 2013) setting policy on this practice to all Train Operating Company 2nd stage Reps asking them the following ;

•    Whether they have non compatible rolling stock working in multiple formations?
•    If so are the services worked with 2 or more Guards?
•    What is the dispatch and door operating procedure in instances of multiple units working?

The General Secretary is instructed to name this file “Conductors Working Multiple Units With No Through Gangway Connections.” And place it in the Health and Safety Dept

Any responses to be placed back before this GGC .

All Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments with this case.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary