14th September 2017

Dear Colleague,


I write further to my previous letter dated 11th September 2017 in which I advised you of the company’s misleading propaganda and attempts at dividing the workforce with the intention of introducing DOO in certain areas.

As you are aware, from recent correspondence further meetings were planned and the union has tried to do everything possible to try and resolve this dispute. In our latest meeting the union put forward our position, that we want guarantees that no train would operate without a second safety critical person on-board. However, despite our best efforts, the company have blatantly ignored our concerns and have once again failed to make any guarantees on the Safety Critical Role of the Guard. In the meeting the company stated that their intention was to have a second person on their trains, however, there was no guarantee on their competencies or what this second person would do. This attempt at being deliberately vague on these issues is appalling and the company need to start providing cast iron assurances and guarantees.

Even more shockingly the company has now resorted to further misleading you and your colleagues. As you will have seen in their latest propaganda the company have stated that in the meeting it was discussed that: - “We shared today that we have no plans to change the safety critical skills of all guards who work our Class 158, 159, 444, 450 & 483 fleets as well as the Class 442 fleet which we will reintroduce during 2018 as these fleets will continue to require guard involvement in door operation”. This was never discussed or raised in the latest meeting and has not been communicated to the union. The shocking levels this company are willing to go to is inexcusable and instead of providing misinformation they should be discussing this important issue with your union.

We are in no doubt that South Western Railway are attempting to divide the work force by promising something to one grade and taking it from another. We cannot allow the company to push through their plans for DOO on any line. You and your colleagues need to stand united in the defence of the guard and send the company a clear message that their blatant attempts at dividing the workforce will not win. 

The company need to stop treating you and your colleagues with clear contempt and start treating you all with the praise they are happy to publicise on their website and to the media. This dispute could have totally been resolved if the company had stopped avoiding the questions and instead guaranteed the retention of a second safety critical person on their trains. Therefore, you and your colleagues will receive a ballot paper for strike action and industrial 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 19th September 2017. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we stand together and demonstrate our strength of feeling to the company in this dispute. I am urging members to vote ‘YES’ to both questions in the ballot for industrial action. It is crucial that you return your voting paper by, first post, on Tuesday 3rd October 2017.

Your union needs you to return a massive yes vote to ensure we can act upon your wishes and defend the safety critical Role of the Guard. You will no doubt receive more propaganda from the company as they continue to attempt to divide and rule and try to spin this dispute into their favour. However, be in no doubt that your union fully supports you and your colleagues and will do everything possible to protect the Role of the Guard.

I urge all members to ensure their details are correct and If you have not a received a ballot paper by Monday 25th September 2017, then please contact the RMT Freephone Helpline urgently on 0800 376 3706 or the RMT Switch board on 020 7387 4771 and ask for the industrial relations department, where a replacement ballot paper will be sent to you by first class post. Additionally, if you are aware of a colleague who has not received their ballot paper, ask them to call on of the above numbers to update their details to receive a replacement ballot paper.

Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary