17th October 2019
Our Ref: BR2/15/4
CUSTOMER JOURNEY MODERNISATION PROGRAMME – ARRIVA RAIL LONDON
The union has been made aware that Arriva Rail London plans to destroy ticket offices by reducing the opening hours across the whole of the network. If these proposals are to go ahead they will have dire consequences for safety, service and accessibility across London Overground stations.
As you are aware, we have been campaigning against the plans to axe the Overground ticket offices for the past two years, with our campaign being supported by members, large passenger groups and organisations. The union ultimately saw a stop to the closure of ticket offices through a hard fought campaign. However, after this resounding victory the company are now reneging on their agreements by slashing the hours of ticket offices. It is clear that having failed to ensure the closure of ticket offices, due to our campaign, the company are attempting to run the ticket offices into the ground by drastically reducing some ticket offices to just 2.5 hours opening time. If these cuts go ahead, and many ticket offices are closed for large parts of the day, the union is concerned at a number of issues that will negatively impact London Overground Stations. These proposals will have a detrimental effect on the safety, security and accessibility of stations with many vulnerable passengers unable to purchase tickets or get advice. Furthermore, should these ticket office hours be reduced, it will have a significant impact on the workload of other front line workers. You and your colleagues will be on the front line and will unfortunately take the full force of any customer complaints regarding tickets and advice.
It is clear that the company are not engaging in meaningful consultation with your union and are instead pushing ahead with effectively a cost-cutting exercise. This is a clear example of a company, not interested in passengers or staff, but, focused on maximising profits. We cannot allow this to continue and I will be writing to the London Mayor, the London Assembly and London Travel Watch to highlight the company’s malicious attempts to circumvent ticket office closures. I will also be asking for their immediate intervention to immediately halt the company’s process.
The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and believes that in order to ensure these ticket offices remain open and that there is adequate funding for this to take place, we have no further option than to ballot all Arriva Rail London staff for industrial action. Additionally, I will be arranging two mass meetings (AM and PM) for all effected members to discuss the current situation. I would encourage members to attend at least one of these meetings to have a better understanding of the current situation and to allow your opinions to be shared. These meetings are still being organised and a time, date and location will be sent to members once this has been arranged.
Therefore, to ensure a swift ballot, membership checks are currently underway. I urge you all to ensure your membership details are correct in preparation for the ballot. If your job title, address or workplace has recently changed, then please contact the RMT Freephone Helpline number on 0800 376 3706, the RMT switchboard on 0207 387 4771 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if you know a colleague who has moved or changed jobs inform them to contact us on one of the above methods and we will be able to amend their details accordingly.
I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will inform you of any further developments on this issue when they arise.