Our Ref: BR2/0146
9th February 2017

Dear Colleague,


I am writing further to my letter dated 26th January 2017 whereby I informed you that your union, in good faith, entered into talks with Arriva Rail North to discuss the company’s proposals and their plan to offer a guaranteed second safety critical person in addition to the driver on every train.

Our negotiating team met with the Arriva Rail North Management team to discuss their recent correspondence. At the meeting we tabled two key questions that we asked the company to provide guarantees on, these were:-

1. Are you prepared to guarantee a second person on all passenger services operated by Arriva Rail North?
2. If the answer is yes, then will that second person retain full operational responsibility, for train despatch, Platform Train Interface and current rule book requirements for dealing with contingency arrangements, such as evacuation, protection of the train etc?

Despite our best efforts I am deeply disappointed to state that Arriva Rail North has unacceptably failed to provide any meaningful guarantees. After dragging out discussions their response to both questions was “…we are not in a position to offer either of these guarantees at this present time.” It is disgraceful that the company feel it acceptable to renege on their previous position where they informed the union that they ‘were prepared to offer guarantees around a second person on board trains in addition to the driver’.

Arriva Rail North has clearly not taken any of our continued attempts to negotiate seriously and have continued throughout the process to use stalling tactics in an attempt to drive through Driver Only Operation. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and believes that due to the company’s total lack of commitment it leaves us no option other than to inform the company that a dispute situation now exists between our two organisations.

Therefore, the NEC is conducting a ballot of you and your colleagues for strike action and action short of strike to oppose DOO and defend the safety critical role of the guard. Ballot papers will be sent to members’ home address and will be sent out on Tuesday 16th February 2017. I ask that you check your details online or contact the RMT Helpline on 0800 376 3706 to ensure our membership records are accurate. All papers will need to be returned by no later than First Post, Tuesday 28th February 2017.

I will keep you fully updated as new information arises.

Yours sincerely
General Secretary