Our Ref: BR2/0146

2 July 2021

Dear colleague


RMT negotiators met Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Merseytravel leaders earlier this week in order to pick up on where discussions were left around 18 months ago when the Agreement in Principle (AIP) on the method of dispatch for the new fleet was established.

It was welcomed by your negotiators that the Mayor stated that, while the onslaught of the Covid pandemic has led to some very dire financial consequences within the railway industry like it has elsewhere, this would not be “used as a cover or an excuse” not to reach an amicable resolution to this long-standing dispute.

He went onto advise that MEL had been doing some work on the implementation of the method of dispatch (which you may recall was option nine) previously agreed and contained as an appendix to the AIP. They have produced a report, which they have furnished the authority with, but your union has yet to see, which allegedly reports that the dwell times contained in O9 is significantly increased following testing and timing on a real unit of all the actual sequences contained within O9.

It was agreed during the discussions to reconvene the joint workshop that drew up O9 to examine the report’s finding, which your negotiators say they are greatly sceptical of if what was referred to above is true. It was also agreed to convene a workshop in the coming weeks, to discuss the outstanding issues of in train duties, which was also agreed in the AIP.

The Metro Mayor also used the word “affordability” which is in the AIP. The danger with this reference could be that management want another push on productivity issues. Your union will therefore be extremely vigilant on this matter and see what the proposals actually are.

Nevertheless, your negotiators have reported that the meeting was largely positive – even though they were wary of some references made during the discussion - and will now attend the workshops being arranged over the next couple of weeks to obtain a clearer picture of the company’s intentions and report this back to your union’s National Executive Committee.

I will, in turn, provide you with a further update when the details emerge from the workshops.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary