14 July 2017
RMT Press Office
RMT fails to secure assurances from First MTR over Guards on South West Trains
RAIL UNION RMT today expressed anger and frustration at the response received from First MTR, the company due to take over the South West Trains franchise in late August, where they have refused to honour a written commitment dating back to 1998 not to extend Driver Only Operation (DOO) or threaten the jobs and roles of the Guards.
The letter from the company says: “At this stage, we are not committed to any one way of operation… Regarding other roles, our plans involve increases in front line staffing in certain areas to improve our customers’ experiences. We will share the detail of these plans after 20th August when the new franchise commences.”
The response came after RMT General Secretary Mick Cash had initially written to First MTR saying;
" I am seeking assurances from you that, following the TUPE transfer, the following will apply for duration of your company holding the Franchise.
* There will be no extension of DOO on any route or service.
* The Guard will be in full operational control of the power operated doors.
* There will be no abolishing or reduction of the safety critical role of the Guard.
* There will be no abolishing or reduction of the role of the Guard in operation of the doors.
* That any new rolling stock will be configured and have the necessary equipment to enable the Guard to retain full operational control of the power operated doors.
I also seek your written assurance that the current levels for the retention of Ticket Offices, the hours of operation and staffing levels will remain as agreed with the current Franchisee.”
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“The company’s response is totally unacceptable and we can only assume that this is a blatant attempt at looking to roll out DOO/DCO on the new franchise at some point, whilst cutting staff.
“There is currently a longstanding agreement in place that there will be no extension of Driver Only Operation and no threat to guards jobs or roles and that agreement transfers with the undertaking to First MTR.
“The union is now seeking a meeting with the company to gain assurances on all the issues we have raised with them. If no assurances are forthcoming then our executive committee will consider the use of all other options at their disposal.”