Category: Network Rail

[Bring Back British Rail] We need your support to take Chris Grayling to court!


We need your support to bring Chris Grayling to court over the East Coast rail franchise fiasco. We can’t do this without you.

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Pledge to help us make East Coast public

Enough is enough! Our East Coast mainline was a brilliant success in public-ownership and should never have been re-privatised in 2015. Now it has failed for the third time at the hands of private operators: GNER in 2007, National Express in 2009 and now Virgin Trains East Coast in 2018.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted that Virgin Trains East Coast “got its numbers wrong” and breached “a key financial covenant” in their franchise agreement. Yet, he is allowing its owners – Stagecoach and Virgin – to walk away and continue running and bidding for other rail franchises. We can’t let them get away with this.

We’re now working with public law experts Leigh Day to bring Chris Grayling to court to account for these decisions. We expect this to be a landmark Judicial Review case; exposing the farce of rail franchising for the shameful waste of public money that it is, and paving the way to a re-unified national rail network run in the public’s interest once again.

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Joke is on passengers says RMT

Joke is on passengers says RMT as 1st April marks two years of failure and broken promises on German owned Northern Rail Franchise


RMT members to hold week of protest at stations across the north over threats to safety, service and accessibility


1st April 2018 marks the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the Northern Rail franchise run by German State rail owned Arriva Rail North.


Instead of the much herald promises of improvement in services the franchise has been beset by problems. At the same time it’s German state rail owners stand to profit while passengers suffer.


RMT is warning passenger services, safety and accessibly are set to get even worse if Northern get away with their plans to introduce Driver Only Operation and remove guards from trains. RMT members are to hold a week of protest at stations across the north starting on 3rd April to highlight the dangers of driver only trains.


RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,


“It’s bad enough that Northern passengers have not seen any sign of the promised improvements but it is unforgivable that Northern are about to make matters worse by getting rid of guards who do so much to assist passenger service, safety and accessibility.


“What is unbelievable is that because Northern is owned by German State railways the German railway will profit and get better on the back of these cuts to northern services and jobs.  That’s no April fool, its true and the joke is well and truly on passengers.


“RMT members will be protesting at stations across the north this week to highlight our concerns about the attack on jobs and safety by the German state owned northern franchise and we will be calling on the Secretary of State for Transport to stop supporting these plans and reverse them.”




Notes to editors


RMT will be leafleting stations across the Northern Network from Tuesday 3rd April 2018 to Friday 6th April 2018.


TUESDAY – 3rd APRIL 2018


Outside Barrow in Furness Railway Station -05.15 to 07.15

Outside Carlisle Citadel Railway Station – 07.00 to 09.00

Outside Windermere Railway Station – 11.00 to 13.00

Outside Whitehaven Railway Station – 17.00 to 19.00


To be arranged – Workington and possibly Ulverston




Outside Buxton Railway Station -06.45 to 08.30

Outside Manchester Victoria Station – 07.30 to 09.30

Outside Wigan Wallgate Railway Station – 07.30 to 09.30

Outside Liverpool Lime Street Station – 16.00 to 18.30


To be arranged – Blackburn, Manchester Piccadilly (Blackpool North to be arranged later)






*Outside Leeds City Railway Station – 06.30 to 09.30

*Outside Wakefield Kirkgate Railway Station – 07.30 to 09.30

Outside Sheffield Railway Station – 16.00 to 18.00


To be arranged – Doncaster, York, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Skipton and Hull.


FRIDAY – 6th APRIL 2018


Outside Newcastle Central Station – 08.00 – 09.00

Outside Hexham Railway Station – 16.30 – 18.30


To be arranged – Middlesbrough




Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.


RMT welcomes Labour MP Dan Carden’s backing for Merseyrail guards

RMT welcomes Labour MP Dan Carden’s backing for Merseyrail guards in parliamentary debate


Rail union RMT has welcomed Labour MP Dan Cardens support for their fight to keep the guard on our trains. 

The Liverpool Walton Labour MPs has been a solid supporter of the guards and this week  Mr Carden secured a special parliamentary debate to press the case to keep a guard on every train.

The following is a extract from a wide-ranging speech from the MP.

“Despite several days of strike action, the public still overwhelmingly back the guards. The entire trade union movement and the north-west TUC support the guards, and the Labour party’s policy is clear: to oppose any extension of DOO. The Welsh Government have now guaranteed a guard on every train for future franchises, and Scotland has made similar long-term arrangements. The shadow Secretary of State wrote to train operators last week to tell them that a Labour Government would halt any plans to extend DOO. Merseytravel’s former chairman, Mark Dowd, remains fully opposed to removing the guards, saying that “common sense should prevail”.

As a result of issues raised in the debate the union has now written to the Metro Mayor seeking an urgent meeting. 

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said,

“Our members are absolutely delighted at the solidarity Labour MP Dan Carden has shown with their cause through securing this parliamentary debate.

At the same time his debate has also seen constructive proposals put forward to resolve the dispute which will benefit passenger service and safety”. 




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:

Dear Chris


GTR Dispute


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.


Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary


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.”




Further to my Circular No IR/252/16 dated the 24th August 2016 with regards to the above matter and where I informed you of the union’s national campaign to defend the role of the Guard and our fight against the further spread of Driver Only Operation. I can now advise you that I have received the following resolution from our Newcastle Rail & Catering Branch:


“This Branch commends all RMT members who have taken solid and determined industrial action in defence of the roles and responsibilities of the Guard. Their sacrifice has been for the safety of the travelling public and for ensuring the rail network is accessible to all especially the disabled and the vulnerable.


In the face of overwhelming opposition from a vicious Tory Government who are determined to implement the McNulty report and crush our union and propose to ban us from taking legitimate industrial action by refusing our right to withdraw our labour. They have been aided by the mainstream media who have trivialised and miss reported and out right lied over the facts of this dispute as well as the Train Operating Companies that have bullied, bribed and lied to our members. We stand head and shoulders about the entire British trade union movement in our resoluteness to fight attacks on all railway workers and must continue to do so.


However a victory for DOO at any train operating company poses a grave threat to the guard’s grade nationally. Unity with other rail unions can no longer be relied upon in the struggle against DOO the RMT must be prepared to fight this battle alone.


Therefore this branch calls on the RMT National Executive Committee to continue to fight industrially and politically against DOO. There should be no selling out our members or sweet heart deals done behind closed doors. The fight for the role and responsibilities of the guard and a safe and accessible railway for all must continue.”


The matter has been considered by the union’s National Executive Committee and their decision is as follows:


“This NEC welcomes and completely agrees with the resolution rom our Newcastle Rail & Catering Branch.



Our campaign to stop the introduction and extension of DOO is one of the most important in the history of our union.


We currently have separate industrial disputes with 5 TOCs on this issue.  These different disputes have their own dynamics, and we are dealing with them all separately.


We are, however, also following union policy decided by our 2013 AGM decision, which stated:


‘This Conference …condemns the McNulty report as an attack on all railway workers, especially on the role of the guard…. We therefore call on the General Secretary to consider coordinated strike action where McNulty threatens job losses within any train operating companies.’


We reaffirmed this in our decision 1309 of 9th August 2017, which said:


‘This National Executive Committee reiterates that all industrial action in defence of the role of the guard will continue to remain coordinated where practically possible, and this National Executive Committee remains committed to consulting the wider membership on strike dates whilst adopting the same strategy of coordinating action against train-operators intent on driving through the introduction and extension of DOO’


In order to make our campaign more effective, we instruct the General Secretary to:-


  • Seek donations from Regional Councils, branches, and members to our national dispute fund, to support our members taking strike action in these disputes.
  • Write to the wider Labour and Trade Union movement for support in our campaign, including financial support.
  • Report back to us with further proposals for raising funds for the national dispute fund, including the possibility of a levy on Regional Councils and branches.
  • Report back to us with proposals for a one-off solidarity payment in January to those who take strike action in these disputes.


We further instruct the General Secretary to arrange for the Lead Officers, and Guards Company Council Chairs and Secretaries of Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North, Greater Anglia, Southern, and South Western Railway to meet with himself, the Senior Assistant General Secretary,  and the NEC as soon as practicable.


We note that a new Train Crew newsletter is being produced, which will of course be about the campaign against DOO. We instruct the General Secretary to distribute this to Regional Councils, branches, and to all traincrew members.


All Regional Councils and branches to be advised. All traincrew members to be informed by email.”


Our position has always been that the Guard should be in full operational control of the doors and has a vital safety role for passengers and the railway in general. The union continues to gain public support through intense leafleting, holding successful public meetings and educating the general public and politicians about the safety role of the Guard and the importance of retaining these staff on passenger rail services.



Rail union RMT warned today of a co-ordinated Government plan to axe thousands of rail jobs including all drivers from Britain’s trains.

The Rail Capability Plan, just issued with Government and RSSB support, sets out proposals to further compromise and dilute the current safety regime and run ‘Autonomous’ trains on the cheap.

The plan states:

“Given the pace of development in Information and Communications Technology a completely new operational concept and train control and regulation capability can be developed over the short to medium term”.

The Department for Transport have launched a new innovation competition with up to £9 million to support UK businesses in developing technological solutions for the railway.

Inviting applications that “create high-value, low-cost railway innovations, which increase the value of rail services to passengers while driving down operational expense”  it goes on to say “Innovations in this theme need not be constrained by existing railway standards” but will “help deliver optimal staffing for a high-value, low-cost railway”.


One of the themes (No 8) is called Intelligent Trains and says “Intelligent trains will reduce the reliance on complex and expensive rail infrastructure and control systems and through automation transition the role of railway staff from direct control and operation to supervision”


It goes on to say “Intelligent trains will be aware of themselves and their surroundings, knowing where they need to be and when, and able to automatically adjust journeys to meet demand”


Four milestone’s including Driverless trains predict a bold future of Autonomous Trains capable of regulating their own passage through the network and is laid out clearly for everyone who works in the industry on page 27 of the plan:


Milestone A

Semi-automatic operation

Milestone B

Driverless operation

Milestone C

Unattended operations

Milestone D

Autonomous trains


Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said:


“The cat is well and truly out of the bag now. The Government are working hand in glove with the private train operators and the RSSB on a long-term plan for rail in this country that would axe thousands of jobs across the industry, hammer down on safety and run services on the cheap in the name of fatter profits – the majority of which will be shipped abroad by overseas state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic transport operations.


“The rail capability plan sounds innocuous enough but is, in fact, a blueprint for automation with the long-term objective of a faceless railway where passengers are left to fend for themselves without any human contact whatsoever. It is scandalous that this whole drive towards the faceless railway is being smuggled through without any serious scrutiny whatsoever.


“RMT is blowing the whistle on this disaster in the making and will continue to fight for a properly staffed and resourced railway where public safety comes before private profit.”

Southern make a mockery of dispute talk

General Secretary Mick Cash said;

“RMT entered today’s talks in good faith but it soon became clear that the only thing Southern were interested in was bulldozing through driver only operation further and faster with safety and access to services not even on their agenda. That pig-headed attitude has today wrecked the talks process.

“Not only have Southern refused point blank to give a guarantee on a second safety critical member of staff but the company have also made it clear that the deal set up by the TUC in the drivers’ dispute is even worse than we first expected and gives Southern a free run to kick the legs from under our members who have fought for nearly a year on the principles of safety and access.

“RMT’s negotiating team is furious at the way this union and its members have been treated. This is dire news not just for staff but for passengers who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.  I will now take a full report back to the unions exectutive. “



I write further to my Circular (IR/26/17) dated 20th January 2017 and to my Circular dated 4th February 2017, in which I informed you of the shocking and historical betrayal of our conductor members at the hands of the TUC, ASLE&F and Southern management.

Firstly, I would like to thank and congratulate our members for their continued determination in opposing DOO and defending the safety critical role of the guard. Additionally, I would like to express thanks to all those who took industrial action on the 23rd January 2017 and to all those who voiced their opinions and attended the meeting of representatives and members held at three bridges on Sunday 29th January 2017.

I can confirm that we have been in contact with Southern and once the deal with ASLE&F had been announced we requested a copy of the proposals from the company, who unacceptably did not reply or provide a copy of the document until Monday 6th February, three days later. Over the weekend it was proposed by Southern that talks should take place under the auspices of Acas and the union should meet with the company on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. However, I was deeply surprised and concerned to be told by Acas officials that Southern are not available for any talks until Next Monday (13th February). I was then informed yesterday, that they are unavailable for talks until Tuesday 14th February 2017.  Nevertheless, I have informed them that as always we are prepared to meet and will be doing so on Tuesday 14th February at Acas.

I am appalled at the company’s evasive behaviour and blatant attempts at stalling meaningful talks, particularly, at such an important and sensitive time. It is without doubt that Southern are more concerned with pushing through and ensuring a deal with the drivers is concluded before our union gets the opportunity to get round the table and focus on a deal for our members who have been at the centre of this dispute.

It has been publicly declared by certain parties to the deal which was tabled and agreed at the TUC talks that it secures a second safety critical member of staff on “every train” and “…guarantees a second person on Southern Trains”. Therefore, I have challenged the company to confirm that this is their full interpretation of the same agreement. Additionally, we have requested that our Reps be released to meet with the National Executive Committee and National Officers to discuss the dispute.

I would be most grateful if you could bring the contents of this Circular to the attention of your members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash

General Secretary




 I have today put out a Press statement condemning the agreement reached in the TUC led discussions by the TUC itself, ASLE&F and Southern management, an agreement that will allow the company to run trains under DOO mode. The statement is as follows:-

“This so-called agreement is a shocking and historical betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers, but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.

This abysmal document lists a whole host of areas where a train can leave without a second member of staff that will leave both the driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable and which also represents a thin end of the wedge that will lead to the de-staffing of trains.

Loyal and dedicated conductors, who have fought for safety for over a year have had the legs kicked from under them by those who are supposed to be on their side. Passengers and staff alike have been sold out by a stitch up cooked up in Congress House by the TUC and the bosses whilst Southern, one of the most anti-union and hated companies of recent times, is laughing all the way to the bank and have been given a free run to rip up the safety rule book in the name of profits.

This is not a deal it is a disgrace and the RMT dispute remains on and we will fight this shocking betrayal with every tool at our disposal.

We remain available for talks”

I will keep you advised of developments as they happen.

Mick Cash

General Secretary.

RMT on "‎rail fares overhaul"

RMT on “‎rail fares overhaul”

General Secretary Mick Cash said;

“This is an open admission by Britain’s private train companies and the Government that they have been ripping off the travelling public for over two decades.

“If we want a fair deal on fares then that means keeping ticket offices open, keeping staff on the stations and platforms and nationalising our railways into one publicly owned body with one pricing structure.

“The proposals from the train companies today are just pure window dressing from the same old racketeers who have been plundering our railways since privatisation.”

RMT hits back at Government-appointed ORR

General Secretary Mick Cash said.

“The Office of Road and Rail are claiming to be an independent safety body when in fact they are a department of the government made up of Tory appointees and funded by the transport industry.

“Despite their own reports highlighting over 20 serious safety failures they claim that, with remedial action, Driver Only Operation can be made safe .

“Any other industry that had over 20 serious safety failures would be put under special measures immediately but with the government itself pushing Driver Only Operation it is no surprise to us that this whitewash of a report has appeared on the eve of a strike.

“The ORR didn’t even have the decency to speak to the RMT when compiling their report  to get the workforce side of events and instead concentrated only on the opening of doors and not on the far wider guards role of evacuating a train during an accident, fire or terrorist incident and a suite of other safety competencies.

“The recent derailment at Watford, where the guard evacuated the train alone, has been completely ignored which shows what a servile shambles the ORR really is.‎ RMT will continue to fight for rail safety despite this coordinated attack from Government, their wholly-owned regulators and the rip-off train companies.”

Cash added;

“The ORR should also state that the orthodox train despatch with a conductor/guard is a safe method tried and tested and used in 70% of the railway network and Southern will continue to use it on their network with the authority of the ORR.”

“The  ORR, DfT and Southern want to confine this issue to doors and train despatch yet the role of the conductor/guard ensures a superior and safer method of working as it ensures a second safety critical person on-board to deal with a range of safety issues such as driver incapacity, evacuations, traction current isolations. Coordination of emergency services protection of the train and a whole range of issue including passenger assistance and accessibility.

“Any settlement of this dispute or consideration of the development of safe train operations must fully encompass this agenda and cannot be be based on the dilution of the safe operation of trains in the interest of company profits and the government’s anti-union agenda.”