To All Arriva Rail North Conductor, Conductor Instructor & Train Driver Members

Our Ref: BR2/0146

20th December 2018


Dear Colleague

Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – Arriva Rail North

Further to my correspondence of yesterday I am writing in response to Arriva Rail North’s latest attempt to undermine the campaign to keep a second safety critical Guard on all trains by trying to undermine the actual Machinery of Negotiation. This is an unbelievable and very worrying position for the company to take and you and your union cannot take this lightly.

Your machinery of negotiation is a long, very long, established procedure that has been in place since the days of British Rail. Over the years it has been improved and simplified but the main principle is the Union and Management negotiating without interference from outside bodies. It is difficult enough for the Union, and you the members, to fight your corner with the anti-trade union laws that are already in place and to agree to this charade from management would be disastrous. You are in the union because you want us to negotiate on your behalf. You did not join for us to renege on the promise to do all in our power to protect your hard won terms and conditions and in this case, to fight for the principle of a second safety critical person on every train.

Arriva Rail North is asking a third party ACAS, to intervene and hold an inquiry, no doubt make recommendations that would be binding, but of course on their ‘suggested’ terms of reference. In case you are unaware we agree to talks at ACAS as they act as ‘go-betweens’ during negotiations but any final agreement is between the Union and the Employer. ARN are well aware of this but suggest ACAS stepping in to arbitrate is a normal procedure. It is not. ARN also ‘require’ the RMT to suspend its industrial action or they will not proceed with the inquiry. The arrogance is unbelievable. They want to write the procedure, set out its terms, dictate what the union can do and completely ignore the agreed machinery. If we agreed it would be, to use a Christmas analogy, turkeys voting for Christmas!

This latest farcical proposition from management is pathetic. They throw everything into the mix, from the economy in the north to Brexit and no doubt it will be our fault if the weather turns bad.

This is an attempt by management to muddy the waters, it is not a serious attempt to resolve the dispute, it is a PR exercise of the lowest order and we will not fall for it. Arriva Rail North needs to get back round the negotiating table and not ask someone else to sort out their problems, problems of their own making.

I have made it clear to management that we continue to negotiate with them at any time but only within the agreed Machinery of Negotiation and have suggested they stop grandstanding with this ridiculous stunt – there is no other word for it.

The strikes remain on and I know you will continue to show the same magnificent support as you have throughout this dispute.

Best wishes,

Yours sincerely,


Mick Cash
General Secretary