To All Arriva Rail North Conductor, Conductor Instructor & Train Driver Members
Our Ref: BR2/0146
26th February 2019
LATEST POSITION ON DISCUSSIONS
Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – Arriva Rail North
Further to my correspondence dated 15th February 2018, I promised to keep you updated of developments. I can now advise you that following further discussions last week the Chair of ACAS has sent me the following letter:-
“Thank you to you and your colleagues for attending the meeting today with the team from ARN led by David Brown. The meeting was convened to follow up my letter of February 6 to both parties which proposed further negotiations on the outstanding detailed issues arising from the dispute.
As that letter set out it is intended that, in order to maximise the benefit for customers, and the beneficial use of new technology, the company, the union and other relevant stakeholders will seek to agree any appropriate changes to the operational mode, taking account of all safety and risk factors.
In the discussions today we agree that we should establish an intensive programme of negotiations, with the objective of concluding a final agreement within 3 to 4 months at the latest.
We agreed to establish a Joint Working Group, to be convened and facilitated by Acas, with a first meeting to be held within the next 7-10 days. The aim of that first meeting of the working group will be to exchange proposals from each side on the range of operational mode issues to be considered in this process. That meeting should also consider how best to timetable and programme its work.
To oversee this whole process the group that met today under my chairmanship will meet regularly and act as a National Steering Group. We agreed that the next meeting of this steering group will be convened at 2pm on March 11, again at Acas Euston Tower headquarters.
To maintain the constructive, joint working spirit of today's talks, both parties agreed that - at each stage - any communications on the talks process should be jointly agreed. Acas can, of course, support and assist in this.
I reminded both parties that government commitments had been an important element of the proposals set out in my February 6 letter, and that it would be appropriate for me to maintain contact with government to keep them abreast of progress. Both parties agreed that would be valuable.
Both parties agreed that, alongside, this process, 'business as usual' items should continue to be progressed within the existing day to day collective bargaining machinery. One such issue was ASDO on which RMT had requested a joint meeting with ASLEF and the Company. In order to help to move this forward speedily, Northern agreed that a meeting could be convened with appropriate company health & safety representatives, the company Operations Standards lead for new trains and an RMT company council member subject to ASLEF's agreement to do so.
I think we made good progress today in establishing a constructive, practical joint approach to seeking to move towards a final agreement. Thanks to you and your colleagues for playing your part in that.
I look forward to our further meetings together”
The matter has been considered by the National Executive Committee and they have noted that a Joint Working Party is to be convened under the auspices of ACAS with the first meeting to be held with 7 to 10 days of the last meeting held on 21st February.
The National Executive Committee has also noted that the next Steering Group discussions are to take place on Monday 11th March and an update will be placed back before them following this meeting.
I trust this keeps you advised of developments. I will write to you again with any updates.