Our Ref: BR2/20/1

9th November 2017

Dear Colleague


Further to my letter dated the 5th October 2017 where I informed you of Great Western Railway complete disregard for long-standing agreements regarding Lateral Transfers. Additionally, that the union was seeking further clarification on whether the agreements represent a breach of our members’ contracts of employment and Terms and Conditions.

I can now advise you that a meeting was held on the 18th October 2017 at Unity House with our Great Western Railway Stations Divisional Council, Lead Officer and National Executive Committee to consider the following items from our Great Western Railway Stations Divisional Council:

1.    Single Staffing of Gatelines.
2.    Lateral Transfers.

The union’s National Executive Committee has again considered the matter and note the following regarding Single Staffing of Gatelines:

•    RMT National Policy is to oppose single staffing of gatelines.
•    Current GWR Company Safety Management Standard provides for a minimum of 2 staff per gateline.
•    RMT will not allow Health and Safety processes to be used as a means for achieving job cuts by the back door.
•    Generic risk assessment for the operation of gatelines has been done and a further 18 local risk assessments need to be completed by a working group set up for this purpose with RMT appointed Health & Safety reps working with our Stations Divisional Council to ensure consistency.
•    GWR intend to move from a 5 x 5 matrix to a 3 x 3 matrix for the impending risk assessments.
•    Our Lead Officer is concerned statistics provided by GWR on assaults and incidents at gatelines are inaccurate and has raised this in a meeting with GWR on 19th October 2017.
•    Our Lead Officer is concerned by GWR proposals to utilise Customer Ambassadors as support for gateline members dealing with assaults.

Accordingly, the union’s Executive Committee has instructed me to:

•    Seek a clear, written agreement on the make up and remit of the gateline working group.
•    Seek an updated report from our Lead Officer on the initial risk assessment in Bath on completion.
•    Seek the advice of our Health and Safety department on the above mentioned matrix change, write to GWR seeking a H&S review of GWR risk assessments processes and place all associated correspondence on a new file titled : ‘Health and Safety Review – Great Western Railway.’

Additionally, the Executive Committee notes the following regarding Lateral Transfers:

•    GWR have recently refused lateral transfer applications from our ex Great Western members, maintaining that the word ‘apply’ in our members blue book PTR&R terms to mean ‘apply in the internal vacancy application and interview process’.
•    We have sought legal advice on the request of our Lead Officer and contend that this is a breach of our members’ terms of employment.

In accordance with the above, I am now making the necessary arrangements to place this matter on the agenda for further discussion at Company Council in December, ensuring the RMT position is to negotiate company wide agreement on Lateral Transfers which honours the blue book.

Further, I am writing to our ex GWR members informing them our legal team has advised us that the GWR proposed method for dealing with Lateral Transfer applications may be a breach of contract and that we will give consideration to legal action in support of any member dealt with.

I trust this keeps you fully advised on the matter and I will, of course, inform you of any further developments on these issues as and when they arise.

Best wishes.
Mick Cash
General Secretary