Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – Arriva Rail North

To all Conductors, Conductor Instructors and Train Drivers members – Arriva Rail North


28 February 2018

Dear Colleague,

Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – Arriva Rail North

You will have received the latest Special Brief from Richard Allan dated 27th February 2018.

As usual with these briefings there are plenty of half-truths and management leave out very important facts that don’t gel with their rose tinted view of what they are offering.

First of all I make no apology for repeating the points I have already made to you. Arriva Rail North has entered into an agreement with the government to run at least 50 per cent of its services DCO. Driver Controlled Operation is defined in the agreement as “operation of a train by a driver alone without the need for a conductor (or any other Franchise Employee).”

This would mean that at least 457,000 trains a year - almost half a million - will run in DCO operation. If there will be almost half a million trains running with a driver alone then what jobs are the company guaranteeing?

Further, the same franchise agreement also says that Arriva Rail North can, if it wants, deploy staff “in both normal and disrupted operation on-board every train in addition to the driver.”

As I have said, the problem for the company is that to do so would cost them money, it would eat into the profits that they plan to make.

It is clear the company can give the undertakings that we are asking for and if necessary can go back to the government to ask for changes to the franchise agreement to facilitate this. But they won’t do that as it would mean continuing to employ the same number of conductors as today and that means less profit for them. It is as simple as that

And I would like to make it clear we want discussion and agreement on the retention of a Guard with full safety responsibilities and competencies. Northern state they have ‘offered A guarantee of job and pay security to the end of the franchise’. What they haven’t guaranteed is that your role will be the one you have now. There will be a dilution of your responsibilities and your role within the industry will be lessened. It is the equivalent of a down-grading of the very important role you play in the industry.

As for pay there has been no guarantee that you will earn the same as you are now or that your terms and conditions will remain the same.

So there is a guarantee of ‘A’ job and a guarantee that you will be paid – there is no guarantee that you will be paid the same as you are now. As I said half-truths.

Time and again the public, especially vulnerable groups and passengers, have made it abundantly clear they want a Guard on every train. They are not interested in the company being able to pass on profits to shareholders, they view their safety as their first priority and quite right too.

We are willing to negotiate, we are willing to sit down and discuss matters with the company but they have to move from their entrenched position. They state their hands are tied – this is just ridiculous.

So read between the lines. To state Arriva Rail North Management is being economic with the truth in this briefing is being kind! They need to get back to the negotiating table and guarantee a Guard on every train with full competencies and respect the role you play in keeping the train and the travelling public safe.


Yours sincerely,


Mick Cash
General Secretary