Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum - Rail Service Risks

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/103/20
7th May 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Further to Head Office Circular: NP/097/20 (Rev), 29th April 2020 I have an updated report for your information. Transport unions and employer representatives agreed on 18th March 2020 to set up the Rail Industry Coronavirus Joint Forum (RICF) in order to engage at a senior level to support a collective industry response to the Pandemic and help to ensure that the railway could continue to operate during the coronavirus crisis. The Government are now talking about easing restrictions on lockdown and RMT have been involved in early discussions with the rail industry as to how this can be safely done while at the same time ensuring that the health of workers and the travelling public does not suffer.

The RICF drafted a “Rail Service Risk” document setting out a number of principles which must be adhered to if we are to see a safe increase in rail services and passengers. A copy of this documents along with two covering letters we have received which give further useful information are attached to this Circular.

The first two documents were considered by your National Executive Committee at their meeting on 5th May 2020. Following on from that meeting I have made further representation to the employers, the regulator and to the Department of Transport. As a result of these discussions we have been given additional re-assurance and guarantees about how the perceived risks to workers and the travelling public will be safely managed. These further matters are contained in the subsequent letter.

The matter has now been referred back to the National Executive Committee who have adopted the following Decision at today’s meeting:

That the General Secretary is instructed to write to the chair of the RICF to state that:

We note that the industry has adopted and is implementing a set of principles based on 2m social distancing and an increase of loadings in phase 2b to an average of 20% capacity.

On this basis RMT will instruct our representatives to engage in further discussions regarding the management of risk of exposure to Covid 19 to passengers and employees across the GB mainline rail industry.

Relevant Branches, Regional Councils and Representatives to be informed
Representatives are therefore instructed to engage with the relevant employers in company and local level discussions. RMT Guidance on this matter for these representatives will be issued early in the week commencing Monday 11th May 2020.

Please be assured that RMT are taking every possible step to protect our members’ health and safety and that of the travelling public, your safety remains our priority. I will keep you up to date with further developments.

Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary