28th August 2020
Head Office Circular NP/213/20
Our Ref: HSR/2/1
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
Further to Head Office Circular NP/200/20, 17th August 2020, members will be aware of the tragic loss of life of an RMT Guard member, an ASLEF train driver and a member of the travelling public in a train crash at Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. At their meeting of 28th August the National Executive Committee (NEC) have noted and adopted the following report of their Health and Safety Sub-committee:
Following the tragedy at Stonehaven on Wednesday 12th August 2020 where all six vehicles of train 1T08 derailed after striking a landslip at Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire in which our member Donald Dinnie - the train’s conductor, Brett McCullough - the train’s driver and a passenger Christopher Stuchbury suffered fatal injuries in the accident. We note that, currently, Police Scotland are leading investigations but that other investigation by Network Rail, RAIB and ORR have, or will soon commence. Our members will be represented by the RMT as appropriate and wherever needed.
We further note at least two further incidents of a similar type in this current period; at Polmont on 12th August 2020 and; at Wallers Ash Tunnel near Guildford on 27th August 2020. RMT have serious concerns about Network Rail’s overall approach to the management of civil work. While we note the establishment by Network Rail of a Weather Action Task Force and an Earthworks Task Force this union believes that the outcomes of this work must be fully funded from the public purse. General Secretary is instructed to secure agreement on this from both Network Rail and ORR.
The tragedy also highlights that the driver of the train was working to the instruction of the railway Rulebook and that in order to prevent a further incident of this type the rail industry have had to develop a new set of rules and instructions for train drivers to be published shortly in the WON (Weekly Operating Notice).
RMT wish to acknowledge and praise the work of all of our representatives who have or will have played a part in the aftermath of this tragedy. The support provided by our officers and officials of Aberdeen No.1 Branch, our Scottish Regional Council, our Regional Organiser, our Network Rail Coordinator and Lead Union Health and Safety Representative and Area Health and Safety Representatives demonstrate that unity through safety is one of the RMT’s fundamental principles. In addition we pay tribute to the exemplary actions of our guard member travelling on the train.
Finally we note the expressions of condolence and support received from a range of organisations both at home and abroad including trade unions, campaigning organisations and employers and instruct the General Secretary to acknowledge these communications.
Branches, Regional Councils and all members to be advised.
In addition to noting the report of their Health and Safety Sub-committee the NEC also agreed to donate £5000.00p to the Condolence Fund that has been established. Please see Head Office Circular MF/FIN/181 for details of how to donate to the fund.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments.