ROLE OF THE GUARD & INTRODUCTION OF DOO - MERSEYRAIL

Our Ref: BR2/0146

10th February 2017

Dear Colleague,

ROLE OF THE GUARD & INTRODUCTION OF DOO - MERSEYRAIL

I am writing in relation to the above matter and to inform you of the current situation with Merseyrail and their proposed introduction of DOO. Earlier this year we asked Merseyrail to give the union assurances that any new trains will have a safety critical member on board and that the guard will be retained on all services and asked what their plans were for DOO.

We set out clear deadlines giving the company ample time to give the assurances we required and in a key meeting the company blatantly ignored our concerns. Furthermore, we then asked to meet the company over our safety concerns for our driver members surrounding the impact of the introduction of DOO. The company have appallingly informed us that they are unwilling to meet with us at this present time, despite this union having recognition for the grade.

The company has continued to try and stall any meaningful talks. This dispute could have been entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions’ deep-seated safety concerns had taken them seriously and had put passenger safety before profit.  Merseyrail are wholly responsible for this situation and we have called for them to back away from confrontation, drop their proposals and get back round the table to negotiate a safe and secure way forward that protects the safety-critical role of the guard on Merseyrail trains.   Unfortunately, as the company have totally failed to provide any cast iron assurances around the future of the safety critical role of the guard, the National Executive Committee has considered this matter and believes that due to the their total lack of commitment it leaves us no option other than to inform the company we will be taking this matter further.

Therefore, the NEC is conducting a ballot of you and your colleagues for strike action and action short of strike to oppose DOO and defend the safety critical role of the guard. Ballot papers will be sent to members’ home address and will be sent out on Friday 17th February 2017. I ask that you check your details online or contact the RMT Helpline on 0800 376 3706 to ensure our membership records are accurate. All papers will need to be returned by no later than First Post, Tuesday 28th February 2017.

I will keep you fully updated as new information arises.

Yours sincerely   Mick Cash General Secretary