Our Ref: BR2/0146

5th December 2017

Dear Colleague,


Firstly, I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues for your unwavering support during the recent industrial action. Your steadfast determination and commitment has sent the company a clear message that we will do everything possible to ensure a guard is guaranteed and that we demand there be no extension of DOO.

The union’s negotiating team has met with the company on several occasions since the last industrial action. During discussions Greater Anglia management asked how this dispute could be resolved, they were immediately advised that if there was no extension of DOO and if they guaranteed a guard on all current non-DOO trains then the dispute would be resolved. The company failed to provide these guarantees and instead asked what our position is on ‘Exceptional Circumstances’. Once again the company was advised that there is a clear agreement with GA that there will be a conductor at the start of a journey on all current non-DOO trains.

The company decided that they would need time to outline their proposals and what their definition of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ meant. As you will have seen form their communication today the company outlined the following:-

“Trains should continue to operate without a conductor in the following circumstances:-

1.    Conductor taken ill during shift or otherwise unable to work the train/diagram (e.g. Emergency Leave)
2.    Service recovery – Conductor could be stepped up en-route to restore them to later workings running as booked.
3.    Emergency situation where a conductor could remain assisting a customer (such as waiting for an ambulance service to arrive).
4.    Misreading of diagram/Conductor error.
5.    Conductor taken ill or otherwise unable to work the diagram prior to taking duty after publication of daily alteration sheets.”

As you can see these are anything but ‘Exceptional’, the company are clearly proposing to run a train without a conductor and it demonstrates their clear contempt for you and your colleagues. It is disgraceful that the company continue to avoid providing us with a straight answer and are failing to commit to the guarantees that we need to resolve this dispute. Even more shockingly is that the company are attempting to hoodwink you and your colleagues by holding your rest day working arrangements to ransom.

The company are trying to justify their appalling and shambolic strike-breaking tactics. However, we are all too aware that these have been nothing but a total failure. We already know that the ORR has outlined inadequate planning, risk assessment, training and safety validation for contingency guards that they used to run their services.  The company should respect the democratic process and get around the negotiating table and meet our aspirations.

It is about time the company cut the politics and stop treating you and your colleagues with clear disdain.  Their ‘banning’ of overtime for RMT members is discriminatory and completely disgusting. The fact that the company are now trying to use this as leverage is even more abhorrent. This has not gone unnoticed and the union are doing everything possible to investigate this matter through all means necessary and we will be seeking a legal opinion on this matter.

I urge you and your colleagues to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder and send this company a clear message that we will not allow their hideous bullying and intimidation to prevail. Your union will continue to meet the company and will continue to pursue an outcome that is in line with the phenomenal result for industrial action in support of retaining a conductor on every non-DOO train. I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will continue to keep you fully informed.


Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary