Our Ref: BR2/0146
22 November 2019
TO ALL SWR GUARDS, COMMERCIAL GUARDS AND TRAIN DRIVERS
MANAGEMENT’S CONTEMPT MEANS ACTION REMAINS ON
ROLE OF THE GUARD & EXTENSION OF DOO - SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAYS
In my previous correspondence I informed you that management, despite previous promises, had not confirmed in writing proposals that had been agreed in principle with your negotiators.
I will again remind you that the principles that had been reached on dwell time performance were;
Driver release Guard full control of dispatch. 4 bells across SWR fleet where possible to do so. Introduction of Method of Operation to be confirmed.
Agreed RMT/SWR continue discussions based upon achieving improved, performance safety and customer experience throughout introduction of 701’s.
Productivity based upon improved performance to agreed targets
It was, as you know, hoped that this long running dispute was about to be resolved and the principles of agreement had been made in good faith by your negotiators. Management breaking their word on this potential settlement makes us question not only their integrity but also their honesty. It is apparent that they are deliberately misleading your negotiators, you and the travelling public to what end only they know.
Your union has endeavoured since 2017 to reach an agreement that did nothing other than retain the working arrangements that were in place with SWT, a company that recognised not only the contribution you made to customers but to the company itself. SWR on the other hand are nothing other than contemptuous of both you and their customers and it really beggars belief that they don’t care about lying or prevaricating on promises made.
Despite this your negotiators, including the Assistant General Secretary, attended talks at ACAS and again asked that the principles that had been put forward by SWR verbally be put in writing. Unbelievably, even with the independent input of ACAS they were unwilling to do so. You have to ask why they put forward these proposals in the first place in they did not intend to honour them only a week later. A question it would seem only they can answer.
So what exactly is going on? Perhaps the answer can be found in parliamentary answers secured by the RMT Parliamentary Group of MPs which, as you know, have already revealed the company and government are holding secret meetings to discuss a tax payer funded bail out for the company for lost revenue during strike days. The government are citing “commercial confidentiality” but your union has calculated that this will be at least £70 million by the end of the year! This is of course is an absolute disgrace which means the company are being paid not run trains and this week I will be stepping up our political campaign to highlight this scandal.
So the strikes remain on. SWR can explain to the travelling public why they proposed to settle this dispute only to renege and withdraw them at the last minute. They can explain why their customers will have to suffer travel disruption for the month of December when all they need to do is agree the three principles already verbally offered to the union. They can explain why they are taking tens of millions in tax payer bailouts linked to strike action.
The ball is still firmly in their court and this action can be suspended if SWR honour their previous commitments, it is unbelievable that a company can be so disingenuous and promise you something only to withdraw it a short time later. It is showing utter contempt for you and you colleagues.
As I have indicated previously the union is currently looking into payment for the strike action to alleviate financial hardships this will inevitable cause. Let us hope that it doesn’t come to this and Management come to their senses and give us, in writing, the commitments they had previously agreed. We are ready and willing to enter into further talks at any time but demand this disreputable company honour their previous commitments to the union, travelling public but most of all you their employees.
I will of course keep you advised of developments.