Our Ref: BR2/0146
9th December 2019
TO ALL SWR GUARDS, COMMERCIAL GUARDS AND TRAIN DRIVERS
LATEST INFORMATION ON DISPUTE
ROLE OF THE GUARD & EXTENSION OF DOO - SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY
First and foremost, I would like to thank and congratulate you on the magnificent show of strength and determination you have shown during this whole dispute but especially over the last ten days. You will be aware that it is having a massive impact on SWR services and shows clearly you and your colleagues will not back down in this principled dispute.
You may have seen in the media that we have again made it clear that there is a deal to be done and that SWR need to sit down with us and seriously consider our proposals.
We have asked for talks to take place on the 6 specific point set out below.
1. That there will be an active safety critical guard on every passenger train in service.
2. That guards will retain their safety critical competencies including an active role in the safe dispatch of trains.
3. That as far as practicable every station and train will be 100 per cent accessible for passengers with guards playing a role in the accessibility of services for all passengers.
4. SWR will guarantee the role of the guard until the end of the franchise and seek DfT commitment beyond the life of the current franchise.
5. That it is feasible to create an optimal method of dispatch in which the guard has an active and defined role as well as being able to provide passenger assistance.
6. The RMT recognises the company’s ambition to reduce station dwell times to an appropriately efficient and safe time. The current difference between driver-only and active-guard is 3-4 seconds and the RMT will work with the company on this issue. This will include implementation of driver releasing doors and future implementation of Automatic Braking-Door Open (ABDO) system.
I have advised SWR that the union is of the view that an agreement to resolve the dispute is achievable and we are committed to an urgent negotiation process. If the company accepts the above position, this will enable us to suspend the current strike action and spend the rest of December 2019 in timetabled discussions to resolve the dispute.
The ball is firmly in management’s court now and it would be a sign of bad faith for them to refuse discussions. It would be the equivalent of slamming the door on you, their employees, and their customers when a resolution is achievable.
I will advise you of their response as soon as it is known.
UNITY IS STRENGTH
CONTINUE SUPPORTING THE STRIKES