To All Drivers, Conductor, Conductor Instructors and OBS (Ex-Conductors)


Dear Colleagues


As you may be aware, ASLEF and GTR have announced they have reached an agreement which will now be put out to a referendum of ASLEF members. Unbelievably once again the RMT has been excluded from these discussions but the ‘deal’, as set out bellow, has now been leaked on social media.

•    The deal accepts the wholly bogus principle that it can be beneficial for passengers and drivers to run trains without an OBS.
•    The deal accepts the principle that the second person shall not be safety critical which is in line with plans being proposed by the other companies seeking to introduce DOO. It refers to safety trained staff meaning that the second person on the train will not be safety critical. RMT has received no proposals for the competencies of the second person.  How can anyone be sure about how effective the role will be unless the company shares the detail?
•    The deal wholly undermines the arrangements for disabled passengers and will leave many stranded or denied access.
•    The deal gives the driver a responsibility for dealing with disabled passengers on top of driving the train and carrying out the current driver functions.
•    The deal gives no guarantee about how many services will run completely DOO and will give the company a free hand to roll back the boundaries at will.
•    The deal means that drivers are being forced to make a choice between a £14000 pay rise and their workmates, the principles of rail safety and the access rights of disabled passengers
This is a company deal that clearly gives the whip hand to the bosses. It’s a deal that affects our members’ jobs and terms and conditions, but we have been omitted from negotiations. We must do all we can to ensure it is rejected.  

Drivers and Guards have been sold out, passengers have been sold out, and disabled passengers have been sold out.

In respect of safety for drivers, guards and passengers, the deal is even worse than those already rejected.  Gone is the cast iron guarantee to have of a Conductor on every train. DOO will increase under this so-called deal. There will be no conductor or OBS on the Brighton Main Line on London to Brighton trains and on other services on  the Brighton Main Line GTR can remove the OBS for any reason at any time. It won’t be long before management start cutting OBS jobs.
And the deal is a sell-out for vulnerable passengers such as the disabled and elderly for example.  Drivers are told that “if” they become “aware of a passenger with reduced mobility waiting to board or alight from a service running without an OBS, they should inform the Signaller/Control, who will take responsibility for making appropriate arrangements to assist the passenger. Frankly this is ridiculous. The Driver should be concentrating on driving the train, plain and simple. Disabled passengers will remain stranded on the station or stranded on the train, a disgraceful way to treat people. Of course the answer is simple a Conductor or OBS on every train.

And now of course the lie that any settlements on pay and DOO would be kept separate is exposed. This deal that means to get a pay rise Southern Drivers will have to agree to extension of DOO and all the changes to their terms and conditions as set out in the bullet points above. After months of negotiations, all concerns about DOO have been ignored and a monetary ‘sweetener’ offered.
The deal is a government and company sponsored attack on vulnerable passengers and drivers should have no part of it. And do drivers really want a strike breaking agreement?  This deal totally undermines the RMT members who have been striking for safety and goes against the principle of negotiating with all unions that are party to the Machinery. Let’s hope the drivers again reject this bribe as they have in the past and stand up for safety and stand up for the venerable passenger that wish to use GTR’s services everyday – something that should be their right in this day and age.   

Whose side is this rehashed deal really on? It’s a company deal that clearly gives the whip hand to the bosses. It’s a deal that deals with our members jobs and terms and conditions over which we have had no say. We must do all we can to ensure it is rejected.  

A deal to rightly reward drivers for the work they carry out should not be tainted by accepting DOO and giving a green light to roll out similar arrangements elsewhere. Speak to your driver colleagues, maybe show them this letter, and ask them to consider the bigger picture and reject this tainted offer.

Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary