Our Ref BR2/0146
4th October 2018


Dear Colleagues,


I write to update members of the latest position in our discussions with Merseyrail under the auspices of ACAS. These detailed discussions have been taking place over the last four months with a proposal being tabled by Merseyrail, recently endorsed by the Combined Authority where they would guarantee a safety critical Guard on the new Class 777 trains but only on the basis that they introduce productivity measures which are listed below: -

1. A two-year pay freeze for all guards in 2020 & 2021.
2. All new and current non-permanent guards will have a new salary of £27k. Current Guards will continue on their current rate. No pay caps will apply beyond the proposed two year pay freeze.
3. Guards’ annual leave entitlement will reduce by one day.
4. Turnaround on-board cleaning (bin-bag litter pick) where practicable will transfer to the Guard. Any on-board cleaning staff displaced will be redeployed or take voluntary severance. Talks on the details of this proposal will continue at ACAS.
5. Six Guard Standards Manager posts will be removed

NB: It should be noted that at start of discussions 28 productivity items were proposed which have over the course of negotiations been reduced to the above 5.

Additionally it has also been confirmed in writing that should the dispute be resolved the outstanding backpay for guards from the last two withheld pay agreements will be paid out.

The above productivity measures are intended to deliver £2.2 million towards the £9 million savings per year that the company state they would need in order to guarantee the guard on the new rolling stock. In addition there would be a financial contribution from Merseyrail and budgetary measures would also be introduced by Merseytravel to create savings.

Merseyrail and Merseytravel’s proposals are for driver control of the doors via in cab display. This would be subject to ORR validation and station by station risk assessment. RMT has insisted that both Traincrew unions must be involved in any of these processes. So far in this process RMT has not formally accepted this proposal.

A meeting took place this week between your negotiating team, the National Executive Committee and Senior Assistant General Secretary to discuss the latest developments. Following this meeting the NEC considered this matter and noted the views of the Lead Officer and Merseyrail Company Council reps and placed on record their thanks for all their hard work during these difficult and protracted negotiations.

Having considered the proposals in full, the NEC feel there are several items that need addressing so we are seeking further negotiations on the following issues: -

• Our negotiators have insisted there should be no compulsory redundancies for any grade and have been instructed to remind the company of this policy and seek written confirmation of this in any agreement.
• We will seek a written guarantee that the guard will retain safety critical responsibilities in line which is in line with union AGM Policy.
• We will continue to pursue the potential of Guards carrying out revenue duties.
• Renegotiate items 1 and 2 of the productivity measures.

Furthermore the NEC has instructed to our negotiators to seek the following from Merseytravel on behalf of the combined authority: -

• Seek clarification, with the assistance of Stadler Rail, over the costings and feasibility of a door operated panel for the use of the 2nd Safety critical guard.

• That no disabled passengers will be impacted upon by any cost savings measures in line with RMT policy on accessibility for all passengers.

• Insist to the authority, that any cost saving measures introduced by them as a result of having to reverse their original decision to remove all guards from the new fleet, are not targeted at RMT in any publicity surrounding these issues. RMT’s position is that the original business case was flawed, and we do not accept responsibility for the cost of any alterations.

Our negotiating team has been instructed in line with the decision of the National Executive Committee who will consider the matter again once further talks have taken place. I will keep members informed of developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary