Our Ref: BR2/0146


9th December 2019




Dear Colleague,




I am writing with reference to my previous correspondence and in relation to the referendum that was sent out and dated Friday 6th December 2019. As you are aware, throughout the dispute the union has used the same heading of ‘Role of the Guard & Introduction of DOO – WMT’ in all its circulars, ballots, correspondence to management and letters to members. This makes it easier to follow the chain of correspondence and provides cohesion and consistency in the correspondence. Unfortunately there seems to have been some rumours that the heading alludes to the union agreeing to the introduction of DOO. However, the ‘Introduction of DOO’ in the title is obviously a reference to the company’s original position of wanting to introduce DOO. These rumours could not be further from the truth, the union has and always will oppose DOO. The heading in this dispute has been used from the start and throughout the dispute. In fact on all of our Train Operating Company DOO disputes across the country the heading is either titled as an extension or introduction of DOO, which has been the case for many years. Please do not be mistaken and be taken in by this misinformation and rumours.


In order that there can be no confusion the union has altered the title of the referendum to ‘Role of the Guard – West Midlands Trains’ this will hopefully stop any rumours. Additionally, the proposals received from the company have since been slightly amended and clarified. The proposal was unanimously endorsed by your negotiating team, Lead Officer and Company Council Representatives. The referendum will now be re-run, with a slightly later closing date of Monday 23rd December 2019. You can find the new proposals attached with your referendum voting paper or by clicking HERE. You will notice that point 4 has been amended to clarify matters of the door closing procedure, with point 9 being withdrawn and point 10 being renumbered to point 9.


I would respectfully remind members that at the start of the dispute West Midlands Trains were adamant on removing the guard. You may also remember that the Sir Roy McNulty report sought the removal of all safety critical competencies and in some cases guards from a number of train services. This was simply to increase profits for the Train Operating Company. This negotiated proposal completely destroys this report and ensures a safety critical guard remains on the WMT network. For further clarification, some points to consider are:-


  • There will be a “safety critical” Senior Conductor guaranteed on all WMT services.
  • The Senior Conductor will retain a full suite of “safety Critical competencies” to comply with the rule book.
  • The Senior Conductor will be responsible for all Station duties.
  • The Senior Conductor will be responsible for the overseeing of the Safe PTI duties.
  • The Senior Conductor will be responsible for the safe train dispatch.
  • The Senior Conductor will be solely responsible for the closing of all train doors using the door close button, with the exception of their own local door.
  • The Senior Conductor will step back aboard, close the local cab door and observes interlock.
  • The Senior Conductor will give two on the buzzer being the instruction to the driver as a ready to start signal.
  • The Senior Conductor will observe the train departure until the train has cleared the platform.
  • This agreement will maintain the requirement for Senior Conductor resource planning (as now).
  • No vacancies will be held open (as now).
  • Trainee Senior Conductor budget and pool of trainees (as now).
  • Senior Conductors can progress to trainee driver vacancies at all locations (as now).
  • No changes to training programmes as a result of this agreement.
  • No reduction in salary and annual pay reviews (as now).
  • No redundancies as a consequence of this change to the “Method of Working”.
  • This agreement is effective to the end of the current franchise or any possible extension thereafter, providing job Security.


Therefore, members are asked to please complete the enclosed (light blue) voting paper and return it in the freepost envelope by no later than First Post on Monday 23rd December 2019, with the company council and negotiating team unanimously endorsing the proposal, the NEC is strongly recommending acceptance of the proposal. I would ask that you vote as soon as you receive your voting paper due to the Christmas post.


Please be aware that the previous voting paper (light orange - with a closing date of Thursday 19th December 2019) will not be counted, this referendum is cancelled. Please dispose of this paper.


You will need to vote on the light blue voting paper with the closing date of Monday 23rd December 2019 – We urge you to use your vote and ensure your voice is heard.


Once again, I would like to thank you all for your solidarity. Your solid action and unity during the industrial action has enabled the union to reach this negotiating position.


If you do not receive a voting paper by Monday 16th December 2019, then please contact the RMT Freephone Helpline on 0800 376 3706 or the RMT Switch board on 020 7387 4771 and ask for the industrial relations department, where your details can be amended and a replacement ballot paper sent to your address. Additionally, if you are aware of a colleague who has recently moved or changed their details then please ask them to call on one of the above numbers to update their details so they are eligible to vote.


Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary