Our Ref: BR2/0146

20th December 2017

Dear Colleague,


First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues for your steadfast support and clear solidarity in our defence of the Safety Critical Role of the Guard.  You and your colleagues are a true testament and inspiration to the entire trade union movement.

Your union is fully committed in its support of the Guard and our campaign remains fully supported by the union and the public. There is no doubt that your support thus far has sent the railway industry a clear and concrete message, that we are serious about safety and that we will do everything in our power to ensure the railway is safely run with a guarantee of a second safety critical person on every train. If this continued pressure and will is there, then we can win this fight. We have already been successful in Scotland and Wales, in retaining Guards which raises the question as to why England should be any different. It is perplexing that trains operated in Scotland and Wales are also run and operated by the same company in England yet they are unwilling to provide us with the same deal or agreement. It is disgraceful that Southern’s position leaves the most vulnerable in society at risk of being marginalised further and clearly discriminates against the elderly and passengers with disabilities.  Southern are obviously allowing their strings to be pulled by external factors and the rush for profits at the expense of their employees and the travelling public. They need to get around the table and commit to a Safety Critical Guard.

Therefore, to ensure we keep sustained pressure and to try and guarantee a Safety Critical Guard on every train the National Executive Committee has considered this matter and have instructed you and your colleagues not to book on for any shift that commences between:-

•    00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Monday 8th January 2018

ASLE&F’s Position

For your information I would like to remind you, and confirm issues relating to the agreement reached between our sister union, ASLE&F and Southern.

Southern has stated that ‘From Tuesday 2nd January 2018 the new ASLEF drivers deal will come into place. This means trains will be cancelled if OBS’ are not on their allocated train without a good enough reason.’  

I have also received correspondence from the ASLEF General Secretary with regard to section 6.1 of their deal “agreed reason to run without an OBS” in which he states “The agreed reasons set out in 6.1 are self-explanatory. They do not include strike action by OBS. “ASLEF were very clear with management during negotiations and in the road shows presenting the draft agreement to members (at which management were present) that section 6.1 is not applicable in the case of strike action taken by OBS. Furthermore this assurance was given publicly to you in the TUC General Council on 22nd February 2017 by Simon Weller, Assistant General Secretary that ASLEF would not agree to a strike breakers charter.”

Therefore, we look forward to seeing our ASLEF colleagues supporting our position during this industrial action by adhering to the agreement not to operate trains without an OBS on board.

Let us continue our solid support and I urge you all to continue standing shoulder to shoulder. Now is the time to send the company a clear message that we demand they take railway safety seriously and that we demand they commit to a Safety Critical Guard on every train.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary