Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – South Western Railway

Our Ref: BR2/0146


23rd October 2018


Dear Colleague

Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – South Western Railway

I wrote to you yesterday advising you I had written to SWR, Mr Mellors specifically, calling for more talks to try and resolve this dispute. Mr Mellors email to you yesterday is disingenuous to say the least.

To say his letter of 6th August was never responded to is basically preposterous. We replied on 9th August advising SWR that we would meet on the framework proposed as long as the discussion commenced on Monday 13th August, that there were no punitive actions against you, our members, if they did not book on for duty if unaware the action for the 11th was suspended and that SWR needed to respond the same day. We also guaranteed the industrial action for 18th August would be called off if the talks were constructive.

The Company agreed and the talks did commence on the 13th August under the auspices of ACAS and the strike action for 11th August was cancelled as you know. The RMT put forward proposals that we were confident could form the basis of agreement for a disruption policy. At one point we felt that SWR’s negotiating team at the talks were broadly in agreement but it is our firm belief that they were vetoed by higher management. Considering there are only a dozen or so services effected a week we were surprised to say the least.

On the 20th August SWR accused your negotiators of changing their position at the ACAS talks. We again responded on the 23rd August pointing out that we had put forward counter proposals, which is not unusual at ACAS negotiations, negotiations being the operative word, but that it was SWR negotiators that refused to discuss them. That said we made it abundantly clear that we were willing to enter into further discussion in the hope that a resolution could be achieved. We asked for urgent discussions.

On the 29th August Management again asked for discussions, yet they only seemed to want these on their terms. However in order to try and resolve the dispute we advised them the very next day that we were willing to enter into discussions and laid down no conditions other that they be serious about progress.

It is SWR that has not responded to this request for further discussion despite a further reminder.

As you can see from the above to say the email you received from management is being economical with the truth is an understatement and it really is insulting to write to you accusing the union in this manner when the facts don’t meet there rhetoric.

The truth is, I believe, management were holding out in the hope that the third ballot would be lost – well they got that one wrong because for the third time you returned a magnificent ‘yes’ vote to continue with the fight to retain a Guard on every train with safety critical responsibilities.

This union is more than willing to enter into meaningful open discussions with SWR in an effort to resolve this dispute. I have written to Mr. Mellors yesterday as I have already advised you, and I hope they will agree to commence these as a matter of urgency as your union has been continuously requesting. The ball truly is in their court.




Yours sincerely  


Mick Cash

General Secretary