National Executive Committee Call Further Strike Action After Company’s Response

Our Ref: BR2/0146

National Executive Committee Call Further Strike Action After Company’s Response

7th June 2018


Dear Colleague,


I am writing in relation to the above matter and further to correspondence we received from South Western Railway. The National Executive Committee has expressed their disappointment after considering the company’s response. The NEC has stated that SWR have only agreed to one of our requests in finding a resolution to this dispute.

Having considered this situation further, the NEC has identified the following points:-

SWR has not agreed to allow us to give 7 days’ notice of industrial action as they say in the event of the talks breaking down and industrial action being called such a reduction in notice would not be in the interests of their customers. The NEC feels that customers would prefer that we were around the table talking. Additionally, the NEC also believes this shows the company taking a negative view on the talks by stating that “in the event of talks breaking down". Furthermore if the company are keen to resolve this dispute they would not worry about a 7 day notice period. The NEC believes that in fact this is only a stalling process to get passed the busy period of Ascot week.

The company states that they agree to provide full details of their plans and then go onto say that the talks are being conducted in an open way. Mr Mellors has not been at any of the ACAS talks so he only has reports from his management within the discussions. The reports from our negotiators have been that talks have been long and protracted and no movement has been made around the Guard and no information has been given to our team about how they want to run the trains. The company also tried to gag our negotiating team stating that they had to reach an agreement and once agreed there would be no interference from outside sources, therefore, removing the NEC and the members from agreeing any new processes. Our Lead Officer rejected this by stating the members will have the final say on whether they accept a new way of working trains. After 3 days with ACAS the team has only managed to get one letter from the company around autonomy, which the NEC has instructed me to include and attach to this letter for your reference. The company also state there is no master plan. If there is no master plan then why are we in dispute with the company? In Fact what is their plan apart from DOO, if there is no master plan then SWR can guarantee a second safety critical member of staff on board all their trains.

South Western Railway states they have agreed to talks, but, in fact they are only agreeing if it is practical for them, so, not really agreeing to start talks on or before the 11th June 2018.

The National Executive Committee has consulted with your representatives and after carefully considering this matter the NEC believes that there is no other choice but to call further industrial action. Therefore, the NEC has instructed you and your colleagues to take industrial action by not booking on for any shifts that commence between:-

• 0001 Hours on Thursday 21st June 2018 until 2359 Hours on Saturday 23rd June 2018

The NEC believe they have option but to call these strikes as the company would not agree to a 7 day notice period and have insisted on us giving them 14 days’ notice in accordance with the anti-trade union legislation. Therefore, there is no option but to call the action now and allow the talks to continue, if the company are genuine in their commitments the action will be suspended.

I have also been instructed to write to South Western Railway stating the union’s disappointment that they have been forced into calling this action. However, we wish for the planned talks to go ahead and if the company give our negotiating team all the details that have been requested and if the negotiating team believe that we should suspend the action, the NEC will suspend it. By walking away from the talks the company show that they were being disingenuous around their response.

I urge you and your colleagues to continue with your magnificent support and to stand shoulder to shoulder against the company’s plans to introduce DOO on their network. We must force the company to start taking our concerns seriously and to start putting passenger safety before their profits.


Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary