24 May 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT slams continuing management dirty tricks as ballot opens on Scotrail over Driver Only Operation.
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed continued management dirty tricks as a ballot of guards across Scotrail for industrial action over the extension of Driver Only Operation and Driver Controlled operation gets underway.
The ballot opens today - Tuesday 24th May 2016 - with a closing date of Tuesday 7th June 2016.
In the run up to the ballot Abellio/Scotrail – a Dutch company whose UK operations are based in London – has stepped up their barrage of lies and dirty tricks targeted directly at the 560 guards through direct mail and social media:
• Claiming the company door remains open when in fact Abellio/Scotrail are refusing to talk and are conducting all their communications through social media and junk mail.
• Claiming that the over-riding priority is “running Scotland’s trains” when in fact services out of Fort William were cancelled on Saturday due to blatant mismanagement of staffing requirements –a problem that persists on Scotrail routes.
• Claiming that a misleading letter to staff that misrepresented the RMT had been rescinded when in fact it hasn’t.
• Claiming that all existing agreements will be honoured when its crystal clear in fact that they won’t.
RMT’s policy is for no extension of DOO on any route or service and for the guard to be in full operational control of the power operated doors. Furthermore, RMT has made it clear that the union is totally opposed to any proposals for extending DOO, reducing or abolishing the safety role of the Conductor and reducing or abolishing the role of the Conductor in operation of the doors.
Scotrail were informed of RMT’s position and they claimed that they accepted the importance of these issues. Additionally, the company were written to in order to seek the necessary assurance that no extension of DOO or DCO would be put in place during the lifetime of the Abellio Scotrail franchise. Those assurances have not been forthcoming and it is that refusal that has provoked this dispute.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“As the Abellio/Scotrail ballot gets underway the Dutch owned company, with orders issued from the London HQ, have resorted to a campaign of provocation, lies and dirty tricks that are a mirror of the strategy being followed by the French-operators of the Southern franchise who are also attacking their guards. It stinks, and RMT refuses to believe that there isn’t collusion and the union is crystal clear that this co-ordinated assault on the guards grade is being directed by the Government through the DFT.
"Any extension of DOO or DCO is a clear attack on our members hard earned terms and conditions. RMT members should not have to face the risk of their role and responsibilities being reduced and undermined.
"There is also a very real threat to passengers of watering down and wiping out the safety critical role of the guard on these Scotrail services. That is a lethal gamble with basic rail safety.
"The recent shocking incident at East Dumbarton, which resulted in a seriously injured passenger falling onto the tracks, is just the latest in a catalogue of shocking episodes that expose the dangers of DOO.
"RMT is in no doubt that our members will stand together and demonstrate the strength of feeling across the Scotrail network during this dispute. The union remains available for further talks."