25 July 2017
RMT Press Office:
Rail union RMT confirmed today that it has written to train operators where there are current or potential disputes over the threat to the role of the guard, and to passenger safety and access to services, following a meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last Friday.
The current disputes are on Northern, Southern and Merseyrail. A dispute has been declared on Greater Anglia and ballot preparations are underway and the union has also set clear deadlines for assurances on the future role of the guard on South West Trains.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“Whilst the Secretary of State had suggested Friday’s meeting to discuss the dispute on Southern, the union also took the opportunity to raise the other DOO disputes or potential disputes such as on Northern, Greater Anglia, South West Trains and Merseyrail.
“We also took the opportunity to raise the urgent crisis and threat to jobs facing our members because of the scaling back of rail renewal work and the impact on such companies as Babcock Rail and Carillion. In this respect, the union forcibly expressed our view that these jobs must be saved to protect key engineering skills and the integrity and safety of the rail infrastructure and the Secretary of State has agreed further discussion and dialogue with him and the Department of Transport on these issues.
“Regarding the Driver Only Operation disputes we had a full and frank discussion on our concerns and the Secretary of State has now had an opportunity to get a clear understanding of RMT's position on Southern Rail and the broader issue of how the extension of DOO impacts nationally on other rail franchises.
“In respect of the specifics of the Southern dispute the Secretary of State has agreed to examine our proposals that we had previously put to Southern which I have sent over to him. He also agreed to meet again if necessary.
“Regarding DOO on other companies the Secretary of State claimed that he was not sitting on companies telling them what to do and we are therefore writing to all of the relevant companies seeking urgent discussions.”