To: ARN RMT Conductor, Conductor Instructor and Train Driver Members

Our Ref: BR2/0146

5 January 2018

Dear colleague


The union understands that Arriva Rail North have written to you once again questioning why there is a need to take industrial action in the current dispute  over the introduction of Driver Only Operation or, as they call it, Driver Controlled Operation (DCO).

The basic tenet of their argument is that they are guaranteeing your job and pay until the end of the franchise in 2025.  In addition they say the government is prepared to guarantee employment (but not as a conductor) in the next franchise.

The union for our part in the negotiations has asked the company to give us the guarantee that every train will run with a conductor and that the conductor will maintain their full range of competencies to carry out the role. The company has refused to give such an undertaking despite the fact we have received such assurance elsewhere.

This proves that the company has not guaranteed your job. There is a huge contradiction between what the company is telling RMT members and the public and what their real agenda is

The reality is that Arriva Rail North have entered into an agreement with the government to run at least 50 per cent of its services DCO. Driver Controlled Operation is defined in the agreement as “operation of a train by a driver alone without the need for a conductor (or any other Franchise Employee).”

This would mean that at least 457,000 trains a year - almost half a million - will run in DCO operation.  If there will be almost half a million trains running with a driver alone then what jobs are the company guaranteeing?

Further the same franchise agreement also says that Arriva Rail North can, if it wants, deploy staff “in both normal and disrupted operation on-board every train in addition to the driver.” The problem for the company is that to do so would cost them money, it would eat into the profits that they plan to make.

It is clear to your union that the company can give the undertakings that we are asking for and if necessary can go back to the government to ask for changes to the franchise agreement to facilitate this. But they won’t do that as it would mean continuing to employ the same number of conductors as today and that means less profit for them. It is as simple as that. 

They know that through natural wastage - such as retirement, etc - there will be less of the current conductors employed by 2025 and beyond

• They are putting profit before real guarantees about your future • They want to maximise their profits by running trains with a “driver alone” • This campaign is about Safe, Secure and Accessible trains for all and that means every Arriva Rail North train needs a conductor

So without anything tangible on the table from the company, the strike action next week goes ahead. I’ve absolutely no doubt that you will support each other and your union by once again demonstrating to the company just how strong your commitment to this dispute is. Your action up to now has been a credit to not only the RMT but to the entire trade union movement. Therefore I remind you not to book on for any shifts which commence between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Monday 8th, Wednesday 10th and Friday 12th January.




Yours sincerely  

Mick Cash

General Secretary