To All Guards, Commercial Guards and Drivers SWR
Our Ref: BR2/0146
13th June 2019
SADLY YET MORE STALLING AND PREVARICATION BY SWR
STRIKES TO GO AHEAD
Role of the Guard & Extension of DOO – South Western Railway
I wrote to you a couple of days ago informing you that your negotiating team had had enough of SWR stalling and prevaricating time and time again and that, basically, it was time to come to a concrete decision that met our aspirations.
I, along with your negotiators met with Andy Mellors and SWR management yesterday and it was really hoped that this impasse could be broken.
All along our fight has been to retain the role of the guard and ensure there was no extension of Driver Only Operation. The company point blank refused to rule out train dispatch involving the driver only opening and closing the doors or even guarantee that the Guard would carry out train dispatch. Your negotiators felt that without such clear statements the company were just biding time in order to introduce Driver Controlled Operation, which is the operation of the train without the need for a Guard or indeed a second person on the train.
When pressed on the HAZOP meetings the company admitted that they were evaluating ALL possible methods of operation (train despatch) including methods that will take cognisance of ‘performance and customer service’. So now their agreement is also dependant on them being able to increase profits. This dispute is, and always has been, about safety and this moving of the goal posts yet again is unacceptable.
We have reached agreement with other Train Operating Companies in a very straight forward way. SWR are yet again trying to muddy the waters, throwing in additional demands when our dispute and our issues are very very straightforward. A Guard on every train with full safety responsibilities and no extension of DOO.
The National Executive Committee has been very clear all the way through this dispute and so have you over numerous ballots. We do not support a position where the safety of the public and our members is potentially compromised to achieve improvements in other areas. If SWR want to discuss other working arrangements outside of this dispute then there are avenues to do so.
Therefore, the strike action called remains on and all members are instructed not to book on for any turns commencing between the hours of 00.01 Tuesday 18th June and 23.59 on Saturday 22nd June 2019.
There is still time to call the strikes off but management must stop this prevarication and reach a simple understandable agreement.