Our Ref: BR2/0146

10 July 2019

Dear colleague


You will no doubt be aware that ongoing discussions have been taking place between your union and Merseyrail under the auspices of conciliation service ACAS as a result of this long-standing dispute. At the same time, your negotiators have been keeping your union’s National Executive Committee fully updated on all developments with regards to these discussions.

Additionally, just last week I wrote to Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham outlining this union’s position on this dispute and advising him that RMT had rejected previous offers which had come out of earlier ACAS discussions. I asked Mayor Rotherham to intervene in this dispute and ensure Merseyrail take the appropriate measures that would protect the role of the Guard and withdraw the proposals to withdraw all but six cleaning grades posts.

While awaiting a response from the Mayor, I can advise that another set of intense negotiations has taken place this week at which your union team has reported on significant progress having taken place over mattes which your NEC has previously identified as crucial in this process.

The company will be tabling a dispatch procedure document which gives RMT members a safety critical role in the dispatch of the new class 777s (excluding door control) on the underground stations, with a possible extension to some overground stations, dependent on the outcome of the risk assessments.

The station by station risk assessments will only take place once RMT has an agreement on the role of the new CSO grade. This is the final position of the company with regards to the PTI/dispatch process and your Company Council Reps believe this is the furthest the company will move at the negotiating table.

The following productivity items have been withdrawn from the previous ACAS documents:

• All proposals to withdraw on board cleaners
• 37 hour week for all existing permanent and temporary Guards
• Temporary Guards rate of £27K (all existing Guards will be on £31k)

The company are instead proposing that new entrants to the CSO grade will be at a salary of £27k and a 37-hr week. It will also table proposals should there be any interim new employees prior to the implementation date.

The company now intend to revise all previous documents issues during this process to reflect the above commitments. Your NEC has instructed me to request that the company submit all documents by 18th July 2019.

The whole package, when submitted, is likely to represent the full and final position of the company and will still be subject to approval of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, following, of course, the RMT NEC deciding the union’s position on the matter.

I can advise you that your negotiators, Local and Company Council representatives will be attending a meeting with RMT national officials and the NEC on Wednesday 24th July 2019 to consider this matter fully.

You and your colleagues have been fully focussed from the beginning of this dispute that the Role of the Guard must be defended and that a second critical safety person must retained. Your union has shared that view and ensured that these negotiations have also had the safety and security role of the Guard in dispatch as paramount going forward.

Your union has also been very clear that earlier proposals from the company have been deeply concerning, particularly over the potential impact they would have had on non-Guard grades and believes they had gone against the values and traditions of your union, which prides itself on looking after the low paid and vulnerable workers while ensuring the Guard role is defended at the same time.

As I say, progress has been made in these more recent negotiations and we shall now await receipt of the company’s full and final written offer. After this, your representatives will discuss the contents with your national officials and NEC.

You will be kept updated on all developments during this process and I would just like to thank you all for remaining steadfast and supporting your union since this dispute first began in 2017.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary