Our Ref:  HC/14/2

5 January 2018

Dear colleague


I write to provide an update on the most recent discussions which have taken place between your union and Great Western Railway with regard to the Intercity Express Programme.

The company tabled proposals at a meeting of the On-Trains Divisional Council last month in relation to an interim arrangement for “Front-Set Lead” working. This matter arises from previous discussions at OTDC level which were aimed to utilise Catering Grades staff as “Front-Set Lead” on IET 10-car trains in place of the Ticket Examiners currently in position. As part of the package, the company proposed the following:

• Training competence as agreed • A full day training – half day classroom and half day on board to be undertaken by competent OBS managers or peer trainers • The Hosts will receive a £20 (and not 15%) flat payment for any day on which they undertake this role

Prior to the proposals being considered by your National Executive Committee, the following resolution was submitted by our Paddington No1 Branch:

“That this RMT Paddington No.1 branch notes your Circular No: IR/549/17 ‘Intercity Express Programme (IEP)’ (1st December 2017, REF HC/14/2) regarding the “temporary agreement and operational method” for GWR Class 800 (IET) 10-car sets previously reported by this branch.

We note the RMT National Executive Committee decision (not numbered or dated) referred to in Circular No: IR/549/17 fails to respond to concerns of this branch. In particular, RMT Padding No.1 Branch called on the NEC to revoke the “temporary agreement and operational method” for class 800 trains, inform GWR no such agreement exists with this union, obtain a risk assessment for class 800 operation and provide immediate advice to RMT members (Train Managers, Ticket Examiners, Customer Service Hosts and Dispatch Staff) on what steps they should take to protect their safety in the event of being rostered to work Class 800 stock.

We further note that a further communication ‘working of 10 Car IET trains’ (unsigned and dated 29th November 2017) purportedly from RMT On-Trains Divisional  Council seeks to clarify the use of ‘IET Trained TE’ staff as competent persons to work Class 800 (IET) stock. The failure of the previous NEC decision on this matter to provide clear leadership to our members on the operation of Class 800 stock is facilitating GWR’s operation of non-gangway 10-car formation (2x5) Class 800 stock without a Guard in the front portion of the train. This is a breach of RMT’s policy.

This branch notes the meeting due to take place between our union and GWR at Director Level on Thursday 7th December 2017 on the introduction of IET trains. We call on the General Secretary and NEC to uphold this union’s policy that a Guard be rostered to work on each section of non-gangway Class 800 stock. In the event that GWR refuses to implement similar arrangements to those that have successfully operated with class 180 stock for many years, we call on the NEC to inform GWR that we are in dispute over the operation of class 800 stock and to ballot our affected members for industrial action.”

Your NEC has now considered the matter and noted both the situation which arose at the OTDC and the above resolution. Having consulted with the GWR members and their representatives, the NEC has instructed me to inform the company that the proposals are unacceptable.

Further, I have also been instructed to seek an urgent meeting with GWR to discuss our objections and to demand that the arrangements involving the 180 stock are applied to the operation of class 800 IET trains. Your Lead Officer is currently making the necessary arrangements to hold this meeting.

Additionally, the NEC has also instructed all branches with affected GWR members to arrange special meetings for our Guard, Catering and Ticket Examiner members to discuss this matter, so look out for details of such meetings from your branch.

I will of course write to you again with details of any further developments with regards to this situation, but I trust this keeps you advised of all recent matters for now.

Yours sincerely   Mick Cash General Secretary