Our Ref: BR2/4/12
6th August 2018
SUSPENSION FROM DUTY, N. HUTCHINGS – SOUTHEASTERN
I have received a resolution from our Dover District General Grades Branch with regards to the above matter, which is as follows:
“For far too long our members working on Southeastern have been subjected to a policy in relation to anti-social behaviour that forces us into a position whereby certain members of the public feel they have carte blanche to behave towards us in any way that they chose. This can include anything from spitting and swearing to threats and intimidation, and on occasion, verbal or physical assault. This can often impact on the operational running of the service and frighten and upset the public.
This has been the case with our member Norman Hutchings; a supervisor at Dover Priory and a member for over thirty five years. After receiving reports of aggressive and anti-social behaviour from two different conductors and being called to the booking hall because of the same person, and as another train was due in, he took the decision to escort the gentleman from the station. Despite no formal complaint, the company has decided to suspend our member pending gross misconduct charges. Having debated the matter at the branch with both station and train crew reps present, we reached the following resolution.
That this branch request that you place the matter before the NEC and prepare a ballot of our members at Dover priory and its hub stations within the train crew and station grades in order to take strike action as soon as possible in defence of our member in order to effect this reinstatement.”
The matter has been subject to recent consideration by the union’s National Executive Committee who notes the resolution from our Dover District General Grades Branch and the sentiments contained within.
The Executive Committee also notes that Brother Hutchings Hearing is due to take place on Wednesday 8th August 2018. Following conclusion of the Hearing, an update report will be placed back before the Executive Committee for further consideration. In the event of our member being dismissed from the company, the RMT will go into dispute with Southeastern and I will ballot our affected members for industrial action.
Therefore, I am currently preparing a ballot matrix of all our Southeastern members located at Dover Priory and I would be most grateful if you could contact the RMT Helpline on 0800 376 3706 to ensure your membership records are up-to-date.
In the meantime, I am pursuing an urgent meeting with the company to discuss the concerns of our members relating to staff assaults and I will, of course, keep you fully advised on any further developments.