Our Ref: BR2/0146
12th March 2018
ROLE OF THE GUARD & EXTENSION OF DOO – ARRIVA RAIL NORTH
I write further to my previous letter dated 9th March 2018, in which I advised you of the recent industrial action called by the union’s National Executive Committee.
As you are aware, during this dispute the company has often been disingenuous and told half-truths. I have been made aware of some disquieting issues that are a causing great confusion, regarding some Senior Managers approaching you and your colleagues on picket lines and elsewhere. These managers are stating that the RMT should be talking to the DfT, as it is a result of the terms of the franchise agreement that has tied Arriva Rail North’s hands.
Once again this is a misleading attempt to try and undermine the democratically lawful dispute. The union, as far back as April 2017, asked for tripartite discussions between, the company, the union and the DfT. When this was proposed, the company blatantly refused advising your representatives that “It was for Arriva Rail North as a company to ‘manage the franchise’”. This can only mean that the conflicting statements are either a deliberate and dishonourable attempt at deceiving you and your colleagues or the company’s managers are clueless about Arriva Rail North’s position.
Furthermore, the company are stating that they are obliged and mandated to run 50% of their services as DCO. The truth is that the company has entered into an agreement with the Government to run at least 50% of its services as DCO. However, the franchise agreement stated that Arrival Rail North, if it wants, can deploy staff “in both normal and disrupted operation on-board every train in addition to the driver.” So it is clear to the union that the company can give the guarantees we are seeking. In light of this confusion that the company clearly has over their interpretation of the franchise agreement and what their managers are saying, I have now asked the company to take part in a tripartite meeting with the DfT, the company and the union to find a meaningful resolution to this dispute. I have attached a copy of the letter that we have sent to the company seeking clarification on the current situation. The letter is attached here
Therefore, the industrial action remains on. As a way of reminder the NEC has instructed you and your colleagues not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 0001 Hours and 2359 hours on Monday 26th March 2018
• 0001 Hours and 2359 hours on Thursday 29th March 2018
I urge all members to continue to show your tremendous support during this dispute. We must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder and send the company a clear message that we will not allow them to unnecessarily push through DOO and that we will do everything possible to defend the vital Safety Critical Role of the Guard.