Our Ref: BR2/4/1

30 August 2018

Dear colleague


I am writing with regards to the outrageous decision taken by Southern management to dismiss Service Engineer Wayne Allard, who had been staged under the company’s attendance procedure despite the fact that he was ill as a result of using a solution containing a highly toxic and potentially dangerous chemical at the Stewarts Lane Depot.

It was put to the company that Wayne should suffer no financial loss or have recordings made of any of his absences on his personal file as his absences related to a chest complaint which he developed while using this product. The product, not incidentally, was withdrawn by the company after questions had been asked as to how it could have been introduced without the required measures being followed – i.e. training and protective equipment.

Despite the strong representations made on Wayne’s behalf by your union, the company simply refused the reasonable requests to look again at the circumstances relating to his absences and his ultimate dismissal, with GTR also turning down a request for a director’s review of the case.

I reiterate that Wayne became ill after using this chemical, no training or protective equipment was provided to him, the product was actually withdrawn after questions regarding its safety were raised and no definitive findings have been reached which says that exposure to the product was not responsible for his condition.

Your National Executive Committee has considered this matter and also met with the Service Engineer representatives from Stewarts Lane, Lovers Walk and Selhurst depots.  As a result, the NEC has instructed me to investigate the alleged use of the product at the depots concerned and the possible exposure to our members. I am currently in the process of carrying out this investigation.

The NEC has also instructed me to make the necessary arrangements to ballot our members at the three depots and I’m in the process of doing so. I would therefore urge you to ensure your RMT details are all up to date. If not, please contact the freephone Helpline on 0800 376 3706 with your current details.

Additionally, I will also ask our Brighton & Hove City and Croydon No1 Branches to hold special branch meetings in relation to this matter, so please look out for information on when these will take place.

I have informed the company a dispute situation exists between our organisations and I will keep you informed of all further developments in this case.

Yours sincerely  

Mick Cash

General Secretary