Our Ref: BR2/0146
25th April 2018
TO ALL DRIVERS, GUARDS AND COMMERCIAL GUARDS AT SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAYS
ROLE OF THE GUARD AND EXTENSION OF DOO – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAYS
The National Executive Committee has considered the latest situation in our dispute with South Western Railway over the vital safety role of the guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation. Since December 2017 and even since the re-ballot closed, and the industrial action that took place over the Easter weekend, SWR have failed to make any effort to try to arrange talks to try to resolve this dispute. On the other hand we have throughout been willing and available to talk and try to reach agreements around the safety role of the guard. We believe our last discussions were close to reaching such an agreement but the company pulled the rug out from under our feet.
We cannot stand back and allow this to continue so we must force the company to get back around the table so the National Executive Committee has called for a number of strike dates as outlined below.
All Guards, Commercial Guards and Driver members are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Wednesday 9th May 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Friday 11th May 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Monday 14th May 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Wednesday 16th May 2018
• 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Friday 18th May 2018
I urge you to continue your magnificent support you have shown throughout this dispute. The role of the guard is vital to passenger and railway safety and SWR’s current proposals remain unacceptable to this union and we must force them back round the table. Our own framework proposals, tabled in talks at December, would have seen industrial action we called at the time to be suspended. This remains on the table but there has been silence ever since. We have today asked the company for no pre-conditions talks under the auspices of ACAS stating that we would be willing to suspend the action if these talks prove productive.
Furthermore, members will be aware that we have sought legal advice over the up to 40% deductions SWR have made from pay for those members that took part in the industrial action which related to the GRA and DRA agreements. We have now received detailed advice on the matter which is currently being considered by the National Executive Committee. We will advise members of the NEC’s decision in due course.
As you are aware, today marks the two year anniversary of our first dispute in defence of the Safety Critical Role of the Guard. The national demonstration today shows how serious our fight is and the strong solidarity you and your colleagues have in defending the Guard role. This vital issue is one that is affecting our members up and down the country and our colleagues on other Train Operating Companies are also fighting to defend the Safety Critical Role of the Guard and to ensure the companies they work for don’t put profit before passenger safety.
SUPPORT THE ACTION STAND FIRM