27 October 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT slams Chris Grayling's "misleading, damaging and politically motivated" letter to MP's over rail safety disputes.
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed a letter sent to MP’s by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over the on-going guard’s safety disputes as “a wholly misleading work of fiction that damages the prospects of reaching a negotiated with the train companies for clearly politically motivated reasons.”
In a letter to Mr Grayling, in response to his MP’s letter, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says:
Further to your letter to MP’s on the 25th October to MP’s I am writing to you regarding your claims within that letter.
It is abundantly clear to passengers that it is your proposals under the strategic direction of your Department to remove the train guard from railway services on Southern, Northern, Greater Anglia, Merseyrail and South Western railways that is preventing the companies from reaching safe and effective agreements with the RMT.
I do not say this lightly and a number of train operating companies are privately indicating to me that that you are sabotaging the deals that in normal circumstances they would be able to make.
My concerns are reinforced by the fact that since you have become the Secretary of State similar offers made by other rail companies namely Transpennine Express, East Coast and Great Western were all agreed under your predecessor Patrick McLoughlin. Since you became Secretary of State you have prevented any such agreements.
I would also point out that my union has been able to reach agreement on new trains and keeping the Guard on Scottish rail services, assisted by the involvement of the Scottish Government and also on Welsh rail services assisted by the Welsh Government. The fact that we can reach agreements with the Scottish and Welsh governments but not your government only reinforces my concern that you are simply rejecting out of hand any deal and in doing so putting anti- union politics before passengers.
I would be grateful if we could meet to discuss these concerns at the earliest opportunity.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“This letter from Chris Grayling nails down once and for all the core fact that it’s the Government who are imposing Driver Only Operation on the train operators and who are directing the attack on Britain’s train guards from the centre. Instead of allowing normal industrial relations to run their course the train companies are boxed in by central diktat from Chris Grayling and the DfT.
“When it comes to the reasons for the current disputes Mr Grayling’s letter is a wholly misleading work of fiction that damages the prospects of reaching a negotiated with the train companies for clearly politically motivated reasons. The next phase of planned strike action is solely about the safety of the travelling public and the staff that they rely on and Mr Grayling knows that, he should give up his bogus claims and allow the talks process to get back underway”.
“This unprecedented political interference explains why RMT has been able to reach negotiated settlements over the guards and the method of train dispatch in Scotland and Wales, where responsibility is devolved, but have had the door slammed in our face in England when it comes to any meaningful talks.
“Chris Grayling’s letter to MP’s shows that the Government are driving the current rail disputes for their own politically-motivated reasons. That damaging and dangerous behaviour needs to stop right now and normal industrial relations should be reinstated.”