Our Ref: BR1/14/2

16th July 2021


Dear Colleague,


Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my grateful thanks to you for your dedication as key workers in keeping rail services running during the pandemic, these are unprecedented times and you and your colleagues have worked with a tireless professionalism to ensure that a service has been available for those who have needed it.

As you may be aware RMT has been party to discussions under the Rail Industry Recovery Group which has been set up to deal with the response to the affects of the pandemic on the rail industry as a whole.

Your union’s National Executive Committee has been carefully considering documents relating to these discussions and took the following decision:-

“That we note the correspondence on file from Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) inviting our participation in initial Phase 1 working groups on:

Stations (non-Network Rail managed stations)

Further we note that the RIRG has not invited our participation in two further Phase 1 working groups on:

Train Drivers

The RIRG has provided “problem statements” on the above and there are further areas that they wish to discuss in working groups as follows:

Fleet Engineering

Outline problem statements have also been provided for all of these elements.

In response this NEC instructs the General Secretary to put the following positions to the RIRG employers:

The processes are to include meaningful discussions on our negotiating agenda items including:

An increase in pay for all of our members
That there are to be no compulsory redundancies arising from the proposals
good occupational health and the protection of a reasonable work/life balance. Any proposed changes to working practices will not increase the parameters for night and weekend working already agreed and that current rostering parameters will remain in place.
Full and meaningful consideration of in-sourcing of work in both in the train companies including fleet engineering activities, cleaning, security, and other service contracts. Consideration of these contracts will be based on a broader perspective than cash or financial costs and will also analyse social value, equalities, and career progression.

The creation of an industry-wide travel facilities scheme that encompasses all directly employed and sub-contracted staff.

The areas for discussions set out in the documentation are too vague, ambiguous and non-specific a basis for us to engage fully and meaningfully. Therefore, before meaningful discussions can commence, the employer-side are to set out specific issues, proposals and outlines of their position on changes they are seeking, at the first sessions of each working group. These specific issues and proposals from the employer-side are to be reported to this NEC so that the matters can be given further consideration.

The General Secretary is to raise the issue of this union’s representation at the Train Driver and Management working groups with the RIRG.

This NEC remains of the view that we need to commence participation in the processes in order to defend the interests of our members, but we reiterate that we have not agreed to any particular measure or proposal with the RIRG affecting either the Train Operating Companies or Network Rail.

This Union will defend employment levels, pay, conditions of service and pensions of our members in the rail industry going forward. Affected members to be advised of this decision and to be thanked by the General Secretary in the correspondence for the service they have given as Essential Workers in keeping the rail system operating throughout the pandemic on behalf of our people and our communities

Our members deserve a pay rise, secure employment and decent terms, conditions, pensions and working practices not the savage cuts that the Government and employers are seeking under the smokescreen of the Covid pandemic”.

We must be prepared to campaign together in unity to fight for ALL railway jobs, conditions, pensions, and safety. This Government is working hand in glove with the Train Operating Companies to implement massive changes to our industry. We cannot allow them to use the Covid 19 pandemic to slash jobs and destroy our hard-fought terms and conditions.

I will keep you advised of further developments.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary