Andy Mellors Managing Director South Western Railway Friars Bridge Court 41-45 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8NZ

Our Ref: BR2/0146

23 July 2018

Dear Andy


Thanks for your letter dated today, only two days before the action is due to take place this Thursday, following my letter to you 11 days ago offering talks.

I am disappointed it has taken so long for the company to respond to our calls for talks particularly as we made proposals during the last set of intensive ACAS discussion to settle this dispute.  Unfortunately, your response dated 4th July 2018 only confirmed that your company were not really serious at resolving this dispute.  It is clear from your response that you are still wedded to the introduction of Driver Only Operation on South Western Railway train services.

In your letter you quite rightly refer to the settlements we have made with a number of companies and with the Welsh and Scottish Governments which has meant that we have kept a safety critical guard on trains. 

In your letter you have offered talks to ensure that we keep trains on South Western Railways Safe, Secure and Accessible in line with the agreements we have made elsewhere.  We would welcome such talks but in view of your company’s previous attitude I would ask that you confirm that you are prepared to give the same commitment the other companies we have negotiated with have given to maintain a safety critical guard on all their trains.

If you are in position to change your previous position and give such a commitment I am sure my union would work with the company positively to address the concerns that the company seems to have about the availability of guards during disruption.

I would point out that our information is that only about 12 to 20 trains out of the almost 47,000 trains you run a month are likely to be impacted by such an occurrence.  Nonetheless we are happy to discuss this concern with you.

We are willing to meet with the company once again under the auspices of ACAS to seek a resolution to this dispute and I will place your offer before my National Executive Committee tomorrow.

If you could respond by midday tomorrow (Tuesday 24 July) on the question of committing to a safety critical guard on all your trains I will place that also before my National Executive Committee for consideration. 

If I do not hear from you by midday I shall assume that the company is not willing to give such an undertaking

Yours sincerely   Mick Cash General Secretary