12 July 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT seeks urgent clarification from rail minister on "offer" in Southern guards dispute and calls for face to face meeting.
RAIL UNION RMT today wrote to rail minister Claire Perry seeking urgent clarification in writing on her “offer” over the jobs and role of guards on Southern Rail services and called for a face to face meeting.
Despite press comments and media interviews on her “offer” yesterday the union has yet to receive anything in writing from the rail minister, a situation that RMT has called “highly irregular” and which needs to be addressed immediately.
The union also says that the direct intervention by the minister proves that they are without question controlling the management contract held by Govia Thameslink and that means that direct talks with the Government in these unusual circumstances are wholly appropriate.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Despite talk of an “offer” over the future role of the guards in media interviews by Claire Perry yesterday it is highly irregular that we have yet to receive anything in writing. RMT does not conduct negotiations through the media and it is essential that we now receive the full set of proposals in a formal communication which would allow us to discuss it and formulate a proper response through the union’s democratic structures.
“The union would also need to arrange a formal face to face meeting with the minister to gain a full understanding of exactly what is being proposed.
“It is clear from the ministers intervention that the government are directing the GTR management contract from the top and that means direct contact and talks are now essential.”
Content of RMT letter.
Dear Claire Perry,
I refer to your press release yesterday regarding the GTR dispute and also your comments at the Select Committee yesterday evening.
I am afraid that your intervention raises more questions than answers and hope it was more than a smokescreen to detract from the decision of GTR to cancel 15 per cent of its services.
You have also said GTR have been poor in their handling of industrial relations but you have not said whether you would support GTR ending their proposals for
Driver Only Operation, or if you agree with their proposals or if they have a free hand to negotiate on this issue.
This is particularly important when we know the new rolling stock for the franchise is configured in a way that allows conductors to retain their safety role and for passengers to retain the guarantee of a conductor on every affected service.
As a union we are getting mixed and contradictory messages from GTR and the Government and now you have directly intervened I would be grateful if you could write and clarify your position and also agree to urgent and direct talks with me to clarify all the issues and discuss how we can resolve this dispute.