Our Ref: BR1/0001/L(WCTC)
Our Ref BR2/0146
28th November 2019
TO ALL GWR MEMBERS
DISPATCH ARRANGEMENTS/REDUCTION IN STATION STAFF – GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY
I write in relation to discussions that have been held over attempts by GWR earlier this year to conduct Train Despatch Risk Assessments (TDRA) in the Cornwall area with a view to extending self-despatch of rolling stock at a number of stations. The company’s rationale was that greater awareness needed to be taken of Platform Train Interface (PTI) incidents and to comply with the updated Railway Industry Standard (RIS).
At the time the NEC considered this matter and we told GWR of our opposition of any proposals to extend self -dispatch. We also sought an assurance that the terms of the IEP agreement reached in 2017 would be honoured in this regard and raised concerns that this hadn’t been raised with RMT through the recognised machinery of negotiation. We therefore requested that this should be placed on the agenda of the Stations, On Trains and Drivers Divisional Councils and sought their assurance that the TDRA’s completed to date would be rescinded.
As a result of this pressure from the union the company postponed its assessment process to allow proper consultation at Divisional Council level as per the machinery of negotiation. It was also agreed at Stations Divisional Council that TDRA’s would be conducted in conjunction with nominated RMT Health and Safety reps. However despite a failure to agree lodged at Divisional Council as well as an avoidance of disputes meeting held last week little progress has been made the company are intent on proceeding with the extension of self-despatch despite our objections.
Having considered the report of our lead officer the National Executive Committee has declared a dispute with GWR as we believe this will have clear implications for our Conductor, Train Manager and Driver members as well as having an impact on the job security of station staff. The company have been informed of our position and preparations are also underway to prepare for a ballot for industrial action. We will also be raising this issue with the Office of the Rail Regulator as well as our parliamentary Group of MPs.
A meeting is in the process of arranged with your Divisional Council reps and lead officer to meet with the Senior AGS and the NEC to discuss how to progress this matter. I will keep members fully informed of developments.