Our Ref: BR2/14/2

27th April 2020

Dear Colleague,


Following my previous correspondence, you will recall that I received concerning reports from our Lead Officer that South Western Railway has suspended our Representatives Mark Gamble and Brian Perren from employment using unscrupulous charges. Without question and from the very start of this dispute, the company has acted in a callous and reckless manner. The alleged incident took place outside of work at an informal social event and should have had no implications on their employment. Our Lead Officer met with management to try and resolve this situation amicably and to get the company to reinstate our representatives immediately. However, the company were not interested in resolving this issue and were instead insistent on suspended our members.

I have now received further information that astonishingly the company are pursing disciplinary charges against our representatives. Given the current global situation I find it bewildering that SWR would pursue disciplinary action for a minor out of work incident. I understand that this has caused a number of you great distress, as this can only be seen as a clear example of how SWR are attacking our elected representatives.

You will be aware that The National Executive Committee considered this matter and instructed me to Ballot our Maintenance Band and Fuel Point Shunter members. However, the NEC has reviewed their decision and in light of recent developments has extended the ballot to also include our Cleaning Band 1, all of our Maintenance Band and our Shunter grade members. We cannot allow the company to think they are free to attack our representatives and should SWR not fully reinstate our members, then the NEC has instructed me to ballot all of our South Western Railway members.

It goes without saying that our representatives are only as strong as the members they represent and it is now more then ever that we must support our representatives. This union has a proud history of fighting against injustice and this is no exception. We have and will always stand up for those who put themselves on the front line to represent our members.

I have written to the company today to advise them of this union’s position and they have been left in no doubt that we will not allow them to pursue outrageous charges against our democratically elected representatives.

Therefore, to ensure a swift ballot, membership checks are currently underway. I urge you all to ensure your details are correct in preparation for the ballot. If your job title, address or workplace has recently changed, then please contact the RMT Freephone Helpline number on 0800 376 3706, the RMT switchboard on 0207 387 4771 or e-mail Additionally, if you are aware of a colleague who has recently moved, changed their contact details, changed their job role or moved workplaces then ask them to contact the union using one of the above contact methods.

In the meantime, I hope that you, your family and all of your colleagues are keeping safe and well during this difficult time.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary