Our Ref: BR2/0146

24th January 2020

Dear Colleague,


Firstly, I would like to personally thank you all for returning yet again a huge mandate for industrial action. You and your colleagues have shown a tremendous amount of solidarity and have yet again stood up to a company that is hell bent on diluting rail safety.

You will have no doubt received or seen the recent correspondence from management. It is clear from their letter that rather than seeing that for a historic sixth time you and your colleagues have voted for action, they are more interested in undermining the dispute. It is naïve and desperate that the company assume that those who didn’t vote would have voted ‘No’. The figures leave no one in any doubt that members have voted for strike action, have voted for action short of strike and have voted to make sure a safety critical guard remains on the SWR network.

The new Managing Director Mark Hopwood has simply started from where the previous Managing Director, Andy Mellors, left off – with patronising and condescending letters. SWR clearly has no respect for their staff and have no interest in your views and the reasons on why you voted for industrial action. The company need to stop with their empty threats and start to seriously negotiate an end to this dispute. What we are asking for is not a new or radical proposal, but, for things to stay as they were under the previous franchise, offering a safe and secure railway for everyone. It is obvious now that the struggling franchise of SWR is not fit for purpose and they are clearly trying to bolster their profits to improve their poor financial situation.

The National Executive Committee has recently met to discuss the historic ballot result and would like to thank you and your colleagues. Furthermore, I have been instructed by the NEC to arrange a meeting with all our Guard Representatives, Lead Officer and NEC to be in attendance to discuss how to move forward with this dispute.

Once again, I would like to thank you all for your hard work and clear determination in putting rail safety before a company striving to boost their profits at the risk of passenger safety. I trust this keeps you all fully advised and I will update you on any further developments when they arise.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary