To All Arriva Rail North Conductors, Conductor Instructors and Train Drivers


Our Ref: BR2/0146


24th December 2018



Message from the General Secretary


Dear Colleague,




I am writing to you personally to thank you for the magnificent support you have shown during the most recent a bout of industrial action, whereby once again, you have shown your determination in our continued fight to keep trains running on Arriva Rail North, Safe, Secure and Accessible for allwith a second safety critical member of staff.


It is extremely disappointing and frustrating to learn that Arriva Rail North has throughout recent weeks been extremely busy in their overzealous circulation of distorted propaganda, which is solely aimed to undermine our trade dispute, as well as the jointly agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement.  If as much effort was put into addressing the core issues surrounding our dispute, then the dispute itself may have well been resolved.  However, as advised to you recently, this is not to be the case and Management has instead buddied up to and called on their friends in business to support their efforts in eroding the role of the Guard and help push ahead with the introduction of Driver Controlled Operation.


Arriva Rail North has gone further and has tried to elict the help of some individuals who lead TravelWatch NorthWest, North West Business Leadership and North East of England Chamber of Commerce in supporting the companies line calling for an inquiry to be led by ACAS. I explained in my previous correspondence how this was a concerted attempt to undermine and circumvent our long-established negotiating agreements.


I am both disappointed and somewhat concerned that these individuals and bodies could so easily be hoodwinked by Arriva Rail North, for whom you as employees will knoware not to be trusted and are clearly unable and incapable of running, operating and adhering to the requirements of the franchise agreement. 


Whether these organisations have formally decided to take sides in this dispute is questionable but I would have thought they would have had the decency to talk to your union to attain a balanced view, before they decided to unequivocally support Arriva Rail North.  


In any event, I intend upon writing directly to these organisations offering to meet in order that they can fully understand how this call by Arriva Rail North is nothing more than a media and publicity stunt,


Equally, I will ensure they are fully appraised of the consistent and underhanded problems we have endured during the infrequent negotiations whereby the company gives the impression in public and to the wider audience that every train will run with a second person on board. However, the reality is that behind closed doors they are proposing something entirely different.


It is clear that ARN is desperate and under significant pressure.  The franchise is failing and the company is not delivering on its franchise commitments.  A key plan was to introduce Driver Controlled Operation across at least 50 per cent of train services, which is not now supported by Transport for the North, the body established to oversee the franchise.  It is evidently obvious to all interested parties that Arriva Rail North’s tactic is to play for time, utilise the media and its business friends to undermine our campaign.


These tactics will not work, we will not be deterred or side tracked in our efforts, we have clearly spelt out what it will take to resolve this dispute, we have listened to you the member along with your elected representatives and acknowledge and understand both your resolve and determination in winning this dispute.


In closing, I can honestly say that you are an inspiration to all RMT members and the trade union movement as a whole and should be rightly proud of the magnificent stance you have taken.






Best wishes,


Mick Cash

General Secretary