20 December 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT says Christmas Truce on Southern Rail in Government’s hands.
The union highlighted recent agreements on new government rail contracts elsewhere in the country which have retained conductors and provided an agreed method of train dispatch on new modern trains.
The arrangements on the Government’s Great Western, East Coast, and Transpennine Express contracts say:
Great Western: “GWR is not proposing to introduce DCO or DOO operation on any additional lines of route.” (letter to RMT September 2016)
East Coast: “Within our discussions we have confirmed that the safety critical duties of the guard will remain on the train.” (letter to RMT, June 2016)
Transpennine Express: “All trains operated by the new Franchise will be conventionally door operated and will have a conductor.” (RMT Report from negotiations February 2016)
The agreements are in addition to that achieved on the Scottish Government’s rail contract this year.
MPs have tabled a motion in parliament arguing that the deals on the government rail contracts mean:
“the basis for a resolution to the Southern rail dispute exists and calls on the Government to urgently meet the unions without any preconditions and before further strike action to explore how its contractor GTR can reach a similar deal with the unions.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“This year the government has already agreed three new rail contracts in other parts of the country which have kept the guarantee of the guard while introducing new modern rolling stock. All we are asking is for them to authorise a similar deal on its Southern rail contract.
“This would provide a basis for a Christmas Truce on Southern and negotiations that will deliver passengers a win-win of new safe modern rolling stock whilst keeping the guarantee of their guard.”
“I wrote to the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, last week and I would be happy to meet him, informally and away from the media glare if that helps, to thrash out a workable solution to this longstanding dispute.”
Notes for Editors
The new franchises which have retained guards and are introducing modern rolling stock are below
Early Day Motion Below
GOVERNMENT RAIL CONTRACTS AND DRIVER ONLY OPERATION
“That this House notes that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which is seeking to extend driver only operation, runs Southern Rail services through a contract let by the Government; further notes that the unions have recently reached agreement on other government rail contracts, such as Great Western and East Coast in respect of new modern rolling stock, the role of the guard and train dispatch; therefore believes that the basis for a resolution to the Southern rail dispute exists; and calls on the Government to urgently meet the unions without any preconditions and before further strike action to explore how its contractor GTR can reach a similar deal with the unions.”