Our Ref: BR2/0146
24th April 2020
ROLE OF THE GUARD & EXTENSION OF DOO – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY
I recently wrote to you and your colleagues, advising that SWR had been seeking to agree a 4 year pay deal for train Drivers employed by the company. The RMT outright rejected the offer. As you will recall, part of the offer had a direct impact on the role and safety responsibilities of Guards by trying to reach an agreement on Diver Controlled Operation.
Unfortunately, another union, the majority Driver union, has recently concluded their referendum with the majority of their members accepting the pay deal and associated changes to their terms and conditions. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the Guard grade and an urgent meeting has been arranged with South Western Railway to discuss the impact of this deal and to try and find a meaningful resolution to this dispute.
It is abhorrent that SWR are using the current unprecedented situation the country finds itself in to undermine the Guards dispute and our continuing fight to retain a safety critical Guard on every train. This has shown the clear lack of respect and disdain the company has for its employee’s. When you compare SWR to other Train Operating Companies where we have negotiating rights, most are working with the Union to ensue services are kept running, especially for Key Workers, but SWR see it as an opportunity to undermine the Guards role and increase profits. This is nothing short of a disgusting attempt at using a global pandemic to push through their DOO agenda.
During these discussions with the company, your union will be making it clear to the company that we remain vehemently opposed to the removal of any safety critical competencies or responsibilities that you and your colleagues currently hold. We will also make it clear that we will oppose any planed removal of your role in dispatch at every station.
The meeting is due to take place as soon as possible and I will be providing an updated report to the National Executive Committee once this meeting has taken place. I will of course keep you advised of any developments.
On a more personal note, I wish to extend my thoughts to you and your colleagues who are tirelessly serving on the front-line during this global pandemic and ensuring our other key-workers get to where they need to. On behalf of the union I thank you for this dedication and key service. Also, I hope that you, your family, friends and loved ones are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.