Our ref: HSR/2/17
Head Office Circular: NP/81/22
25th March 2022
To: The Secretary
RSSB T1211 PROJECT– DEFINING THE REQUIRMENTS FOR REMOTE CONNECTIVITY TRAIN DISPATCH
Further to Head Office Circular NP/7/22, dated 7th January 2022, your National Executive (NEC) met on 24th March 2022, to consider a report from its Health and Safety sub-committee, from when it met to discuss the following resolution from its Liverpool No5 branch:
After seeing the report of NEC Member Brother Shaw, at the recent NW, North Wales Regional council meeting, specifically pertaining to the RSSB project ‘Remote Connectivity Dispatch Devices’; Liverpool 5 Branch would request the NEC to instruct the General Secretary to write to all TOCs immediately and seek assurances that should (after the 12 month trial) the plans for the new technology of ‘Remote Connectivity Dispatch’ devices be rolled out for live use, that there will be no loss of Guards/Conductors/Train Manager numbers, that there will be no removal or dilution of the safety critical role of the aforementioned grades and that this new technology will only be used as an additional tool for these grades within their respective roles.
Furthermore, we would also request confirmation from TOCs that platform staff and dispatchers will NOT be utilised to use these devices as part of their respective roles due to the direct encroachment that would cause on the safety critical role grade of the guard.
Although in Brother Shaws report, the RSSB have said that ‘savings would not relate to any job losses’, it is this branch’s opinion that we have heard such promises before and the idea of a device that can dispatch a train from a platform is a direct encroachment on the role of the guard. Especially when the report specifically mentions platform staff using such devices.
This branch believes that should this project/trial run go live and be introduced into TOCs that it could indeed help fuel the dilution of the guard’s role to the point of a mass role out of DOO. It is this branch’s opinion that these devices are a direct attack on the role of the guard and the implementation of DOO, only they have hidden it under a different heading to try and coast under the radar. Especially so, when we have the likes of the train driver’s union ASLEF endorsing the ideas proposed by the RSSB (As Per supporting document).
This branch recognises some of the challenges already put to the RSSB by this union, but we believe that more is to be done.
We cannot allow these devices to spell the end of the Guards grade via the rollout of DOO owing to these devices. This branch believes this new proposed technology, whilst hidden under the guise of better safety, dwell time cost saving and efficiency, is a direct attack on the grade of guards/Conductors/TMs and will, ultimately, be the tool to converge employers’ aspirations of DOO and we need to seek assurances immediately before it is too late.
The documentation in Brother Shaws report is attached to this resolution for information and context.
The report adopted by the NEC is as follows:
The General Secretary is instructed to:
- thank Liverpool No.5 branch for their resolution
- write to all train companies and NWR to seek assurances that should (after the 12-month trial) the plans for the new technology of ‘Remote Connectivity Dispatch’ devices be rolled out for live use, that there will be no loss of RMT members jobs
- to also seek assurances from train companies and NWR that there will be no removal or dilution of the safety critical role of RMT members and that this new technology will only be used as an additional tool within our members respective safety critical roles.
- Furthermore, the GS to also request confirmation from all train companies and NWR that their staff will not be utilised to use these devices as part of their respective roles if this directly encroaches on the safety critical role of staff.
Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
I am acting in accordance with this instruction and will keep members appraised of any further developments.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.