What happened to Andy Mellors Promise?

To all RMT South Western Railway & Island Line Guards

What happened to Andy Mellors Promise?

Dear Colleague,

Role of the Guard and Extension of DOO

You will by now have received a letter from Andy Mellors dated 21st November which omits more than it says and is full of, if I’m being polite, inaccuracies!

Andy Mellors is sorry that you took strike action in defence of the role of the Guard so early in the franchise. Well we are sorry that the company has tried to alter your terms and conditions and extend DOO ‘so early in the franchise’. The previous owners, South West Trains, acknowledged your expertise and gave concrete guarantees to retain a Guard on all services.

Of course Andy Mellors doesn’t appear to be sorry that he has gone back on his promise to ‘fully respect the democratic process of the ballot and the outcome whatever that may be’. He is also using figures that don’t add up to try and suggest the ballot wasn’t a huge success. It was a massive success and a total embarrassment to SWR. A 77% turn out, with 617 members voting ‘yes’ and only 113 voting ‘no’ should have left them in no doubt as to your strength of feeling and determination to fight to retain your safety critical role.

Andy Mellors talks about ‘delivering improvements for our customers’ well customers have made it quite clear, they want a Guard on their train. ‘Our new metro trains programme still has the capacity for our Guards to be involved in shaping the plans’ as if this is a good thing – what is he hoping you will assist him in getting rid of your job! It may be getting near to the 25th December but Turkeys’ voting for Christmas certainly comes to mind here.

And it’s a bit rich stating there is ‘perceived’ bullying and harassment of strike breakers when management has been making unwarranted accusations in relation to picket lines. In one case the same manager went to two different depots and made the exact same accusations which were out and out lies. It’s a disgrace that management are attacking working men and women trying to defend their jobs yet praise the strike breakers and encourage them to make complaints.

Furthermore, we find it more than coincidental that it was leaked to the BBC that there was some so called bullying and harassment at one depot which had led to two long standing employees being suspended. This smacks of dirty tricks and is leading to trial by media, a despicable tactic by SWR.

Of course this dispute can be over in an instant. All Andy Mellors has to do is honour his commitment and abide by the previously franchise owners to retain a Guard on every train.

The strike action was hugely successful and you should be rightly proud of the stance you have taken in defending the Role of the Guard. Don’t listen to management’s lies and disinformation.

I will keep you advised of developments.

Yours sincerely,


Mick Cash
General Secretary