9 February 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT declares dispute on Arriva Rail North and confirms ballot for action over failed assurances on guards
RAIL UNION RMT has informed Arriva Rail North that the union is now in formal dispute and will begin immediate preparations for a ballot for industrial action. This comes after the company failed to provide any assurances around the future of the safety critical role of the guard during a recent meeting between the union and the company.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The union’s position on Driver Only Operation (DOO) is perfectly clear. We will not agree to any extensions of DOO and will fight to retain the safety critical role of the guard and to keep a guard on the train.
“We asked Arriva Rail North whether they were prepared to guarantee a second person on all passenger services operated by the company and whether that second person would retain full operational responsibility, for train despatch, Platform Train Interface and current rule book requirements for dealing with contingency arrangements, such as evacuation and protection of the train.
“The response from the Company was ‘we are not in a position to offer either of these guarantees at this present time’. This has been particularly disappointing as Arriva North have reneged on their previous position when they stated they ‘were prepared to offer guarantees around a second person on board trains in addition to the driver’.
“This dispute, and the ballot for industrial action, were entirely preventable if the company had listened to the unions deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously and had put passenger safety before profit.
“The union remains available for talks.”