Our Ref BR2/0146

23rd August 2019

Dear colleague


Please find below an update from Lead officer John Tilley in relation to this dispute.

"Dear Member

As you are aware, our NEC yesterday suspended the first three strike dates of the six dates planed, and have also suspended the RDW ban. This follows a four hour meeting on Wednesday with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Merseytravel leaders. This was a unanimous recommendation from your RMT negotiating team, consisting of your CC Reps, the General Secretary and myself.

The Authority have put forward a proposed “Agreement in Principle” which your union believes may have the potential to deliver a final agreement, and therefore we wish to examine the potential to do so.

The Authority advised us that, subject to legal confirmation, they will write into any tender process beyond 2028, the jobs and the role of the CSO. And that within 14 days of any agreement being reached, all temporary Guards will be offered full time permanent CSO contracts at £31k.

The also advised us that they have had four methods of operation evaluated, which involve the CSO in dispatch. Two in saloon, and two in cab. They say that all four produce a less safe outcome from the current proposal, which has now been signed off by the HM Railway Inspectorate arm of the ORR. Your union vigorously challenged the outcome of some of the proposals, and pointed out that there had been no involvement of any Trade Union Health & Safety reps. The outcome of this robust debate, is that the authority have proposed two methods of working involving the CSO.

On the underground stations and other designated stations (to be determined by safety assessment) The CSO will monitor the PTI from a cab via the cab display screens.

On all other non underground and non designated stations. The Authority will authorise modification to the train build, to fit a panel in each saloon. The Driver will open the doors and the CSO conduct PTI duties, when complete close the local in saloon door via  panel key ad give an audible bell/buzzer/button signal to the driver to close the remaining doors and take power.

RMT has as you would expect a whole raft of questions about these proposals. They are very much embryonic and will be subject to scrutiny and recommendation by the Trade Union safety reps. However, given that for the first time, it is being proposed to modify the train, and give some control of the dispatch to the CSO. Then it is your unions view that we should fully engage with the safety assessment process, and have detailed negotiations with all parties, in order to work up a potential solution.

I think you will agree that while in no way does this get us to a final agreement, and there is to be no movement on the productivity items in the ACAS final proposal. It does however represent a significant breakthrough on the key questions of job security and a role in dispatch. We will keep you all advised fully as we go along.

Yours in Solidarity

John Tilley Regional Organiser RMT Regions 2 & 3 combined."

Members will be kept fully informed of developments.

Yours sincerely   Mick Cash General Secretary