Engineering Grades Conference Decisions

September 24, 2014

Circular No: IR/248/14

Our Ref: BR4/28/1


24 September 2014



To: Branches, Regional Councils & Regional Offices



Dear colleague




The resolutions which were passed at this year’s National Conference of Engineering Grades have now been considered by the General Grades Committee. Below are the resolutions, along with the GGC decision on each one:



“This branch calls on the general grades committee to take up as a matter of urgency the situation of members taking a B&P holiday as part of their allocation under their terms and conditions when working a night shift cycle which they are required to take when on night shift resulting in the member suffering from fatigue when taking up his next turn of duty where the member could well be awake for 21 hours after doing so.

Members who work a dayshift and backshift cycle receive a stand-alone day and this resolution calls for our members who work nights should receive the same.

The branch further believes the secretary needs to raise the matter with network rail to come up with a solution to help resolve the matter.”


GGC Decision

“After speaking to the delegate from Edinburgh & Portobello branch who explained the issue as: staff working night turns not being required for duty on a Bank Holiday after working a night turn on the previous shift and then working nights on the turn following the Bank Holiday. Clearly this has an impact on members’ sleeping patterns which could ultimately lead to an accident or injury to themselves or others.

We therefore instruct the General Secretary to write to branches seeking further information on where this is happening and further raise the matter with Network Rail to ensure that our members’ health is not unduly put at risk through sleep deprivation.”



“The rest period between any shifts in the Network Rail roster principles is 12 hours, however for those who are ‘On Call’ there are a number anomalies.

For example

5.3.5 The maximum hours in any week are 48 hours.

5.3.6 The maximum hours in a day are 12hours.

5.3.8 No more than five turns will be roistered in any week.

5.3.10 Rest days, once published can only be altered by agreement with the individual concerned.

5.3.12 the maximum rest interval between any rostered turn of duty will be 12 hours.

However these principles are ridden rough shod over if you are ‘On Call’ and the above list is not exhaustive.

For example

  • If you do work a rostered 12 hour shift and are called out after that shift has finished then you cannot have a 12 hour rest period.
  • You can exceed the maximum 12 hour shift and any extended by call out.
  • If you work a normal 7 x 5 shift from 07.30 to 15.00 and called out for example, from 20.00hrs to 24.00hrs you cannot get a 12 hour rest period in before your next shift at 07.30.
  • If called out you will exceed the maximum of five turns a week.
  • At present a rostered shift cannot be less than 6 hours, however most call outs are an average of 4 hours, which does not constitute a shift and therefore under the roster principles doesn’t seem to need a rest period. We believe this has to change.
  • May also exceed the maximum of 10 consecutive shifts.
  • Rest days may be interrupted.
  • Are ‘call out’ hours included in the 48hrs maximum for a week?
  • Is the ORR aware of the hours outside of the roster principles being worked ‘On Call’ and if so what records do they have to monitor those hours?
  • We need to quantify what defines a shift or a turn of duty, we believe that anything worked over and above the rostered shift ( on call and called out) should count as another shift or turn of duty in respect of qualifying for the 12 hour rest period.?
  • We are calling for a proper rest period between any shift working hours. It cannot be right that the minimum rest period between shifts is 12 hours yet if called out after our shift, we could work another 4 to 6 hours and be expected to report for work the following morning at the appropriate start time.
  • There is no doubt that being ‘On Call’ can lead to our members working differing shifts, sometimes of a split shift nature which induces fatigue, which is a direct threat to our member health and wellbeing.
  • Therefore this engineering conference requests the Council of Executives to put an end to these anomalies and meet with Network Rail as soon as possible within the next 6 months to discuss these principles and highlight the amount of hours being worked by our members to keep our industry running.
  • The union should also organise a campaign around ‘On Call’ raising the awareness of the medical problems that arise from working long hours and nights and explaining the correct rest periods. The union should also investigate the amount of hours worked ‘On Call’ that are outside those hours that are rostered, to ascertain just how many extra hours are being worked in the industry.
  • The union should also organise a campaign around ‘On Call’ raising the awareness of the medical problems that arise from working long hours and nights and explaining the correct rest periods. The union should also investigate the amount of hours worked ‘On Call’ that are outside those hours that are rostered, to ascertain just how many extra hours are being worked in the industry.

The union also needs to challenge Network Rail to produce records of how ‘On Call’ is being monitored and what registered records are kept to ascertain the amount of hours worked ‘On Call’ also, how and what ‘On Call’ it is being used for and if it is being misused or misinterpreted by the various IFC’s prior to the transfer to Network Rail, and ascertain if there is a national position for how ‘On Call is operated?

For those ‘on call’ we therefore believe we need to cap the number of call outs in any one week to a maximum.  For example, two call outs in any five shifts.

We need to re-think what constitutes a call out? i.e.  Is it after your ordinary shift finishes, or a continuation of your shift? If on nights can you be called out through the day? If so surely our members need a proper rest period.

Conference believes that if you are ‘On Call’ the correct rest periods should be built into the roster for the following day or night and you should have the 12 hour rest before you continue your next shift. For example if called out and your call out period encroaches on the start of the next shift then the 12 hour rest period should come into force and members should not start their next shift until they have completed the 12 hour rest period.

It is ridiculous that hours worked on call outs are not counted as part of the overall hours worked. It makes a mockery of the roster principles.”


GGC Decision

“The GGC believes that all on call should be subject to agreement in respect of payments, rest periods and the total number of hours worked in line with both the Working Time Directive and the Hidden Report. We therefore instruct the General Secretary to raise the matter at the National Maintenance Council. All developments to be placed back in front of the GGC.”



“This conference calls on the general secretary to formulate and develop a structure and training course for the new elected equality reps who have been recently elected this should not be driven by Network rail which has been happening lately.

The union needs to hold a discussion and explain what involvement in the working party it has and what basis of it which has never been explained to the reps that came forward.”


GGC Decision

“Whilst we note the resolution from our National Conference of Engineering Grades, we must point out that Equality Reps also represent Operations staff, therefore it is not germane to the Engineering Grades Conference only, in accordance with Rule 12 Clause 3.”



“Conference is alarmed at the length of time it takes to address resolutions debated and agreed at conferences.

Each year delegates send two (2) resolutions to the governing body of our union which some come policy of our union. Conference demands that the executive take the business of the engineering conference more seriously and ask for a more robust reporting back system are adopted by the general grades committee and officers who have responsibilities to our conference.”


GGC Decision

“That we note the resolution from our National Conference of Engineering Grades and the sentiments within it. In noting the resolution the GGC wishes to point out that all resolutions from all Grade Conferences are treated with the best of endeavours.”



“An unfair situation exists within the Network Rail maintenance organisation. Under former Jarvis T/Cs, the track (P Way) staff grades were Track Charge man, Leading Track man and Track man. Within those grades there are a further three tiers of grades Basic, Cat 1 and Cat 2. These all have three different rates of pay. Then just prior to Phase 2b/c all grades nationally were changed to Team Leader, Technician and operative and those grades had competencies associated with them (competency matrix).

This branch believes it is unfair that staff within the same grade can be expected to hold the same competencies and the same responsibilities on the same Terms & Conditions but on different rates of pay. This branch requests that this Union approaches Network Rail in regard to getting one rate of pay for the current grades and it too based on the former Cat 2 rate of pay. The higher rate of pay out of the three.”


GGC Decision

“We instruct the General Secretary to raise this issue with Network Rail with a view to achieving one rate of pay for our former Jarvis members.”



“Not knowing what all the new pay codes are is causing confusion as well as the issue of when overtime payments are made.

North Wales Coast branch resolution requires Network rail supply the full list of codes used on payslips, pay and deductions to enable members to have a clearer understanding of the new payslips and less need to query their pay.

We therefore request the General Grades Committee to raise this matter with network rail.”


GGC Decision

“We instruct the General Secretary to take this matter up with Network Rail in line with the conference decision.”



“That this Branch is greatly concerned at repeated attempts by Network Rail to force through the “back door” cross-discipline and multi-skilled working for our infrastructure grades members.

Further, this Branch notes that apart from where it currently existed (e.g. S&T Point Care Teams) the practice of cross-discipline working and multi-skilling was withdrawn from the Phase 2B/C document during consultation.

Accordingly, Doncaster Branch calls upon our 2014 Engineering Grades Conference to support the sentiments  in this resolution and request  that our General Grades Committee instruct the General Secretary to inform Network Rail that this union will resist all attempts to bring in cross-discipline or multi-skilled working for our Network Rail infrastructure members.

Doncaster Branch further calls upon our 2014 Engineering Grades Conference to send this resolution to our 2014 Annual General Meeting.”


GGC Decision

“That we note that this resolution was submitted to the 2014 Annual General Meeting.”



“That this Branch is greatly concerned at the rising use of labour only sub-contractors, in particular the use of zero-hours contractors within the railway infrastructure industry.

Doncaster Branch calls upon the support of our 2014 Engineering Grades Conference to adopt the following:

That this 2014 Engineering Grades Conference requests the General Grades Committee  instruct the General Secretary to write a personal letter to all of our Area/Company Council Representatives and our Full-Time Co-ordinators (where appropriate) within the infrastructure maintenance companies, to insist that they ensure that the use of labour only sub-contractors, in particular zero-hours contractors is placed as a standing agenda item at future area/company council meetings, until further advised.

Further, we call upon the General Grades Committee to instruct the General Secretary to request quarterly reports from all infrastructure maintenance area/company councils in order that this union can see the full extent of the problem.”


GGC Decision

“We instruct the General Secretary to take this matter up in line with the conference decision.”



“This branch calls upon the general grades committee in conjunction with the general secretary to put measurers in place to address the continued threat to the members covered by this conference by Network rail under the no compulsory agreement.

In Scotland we have seen the vacancy gap reach over 11% and since 2005 manpower has dropped 25% in the route.

Network rail in Scotland could not have a compulsory redundant situation as we are vastly under staffed.

This branch further believes Network rail are using it as a ploy to create uncertainty which establishes an unhealthy environment and will certainly be used as a bargaining point to bring in other changes to terms and conditions.

The measurers to be put in place should form the same length as the financial control period along with an immediate approach needs to be made to NWR much earlier than the previous 2 years. These measures are to be highlighted within the grades represented at conference.”


GGC Decision

“It should be noted that it is already union policy to oppose any compulsory redundancies irrespective of company. However we note the aims of the resolutions is to seek long term stability within Network Rail. We therefore instruct the General Secretary to pursue this matter with Network Rail.”



“Conference Perth No 1 branch members in the S&T department are disgusted at the way that the management are reducing maintenance and faulting teams down to two man teams. Although we have a “no redundancy agreement” with Network Rail the reality is that they are operating a stealth exercise of not filling vacancies and reducing the work force down to unsafe working team levels.

As maintenance and faulting department we are told that everything is risk assessed by the local manager, how can a manager risk assess anything from his bed when a team is out on a night shift no one knows what will come along so they cannot possible assess any job.

Phase 2b/c was agreed by this union and included three man S&T teams we ask that the G.G.C. go back to Network Rail and insists that they stick with the agreements made. As management said at the time it was a “robustly tested template organisation” we are now finding that they are trying to make job cuts by not staying with the spirit of the agreement, they are being devious and under handed in reducing staffing levels if a man retires, leaves, or transfers, they leave jobs vacant.

No doubt the financial cut backs in the budget are having an effect within the industry but this branch does not see why our members should be the ones to suffer due to cut backs, it is not safe to operate with two man teams. The management are covering up the facts by using their on-call managers to make up numbers and attend faults on their own .Which is another example of unsafe working.

We ask that this matter is taken up by our national leaders as soon as possible.”


GGC Decision

“That we note this resolution was submitted to the 2014 Annual General Meeting.”



“Great Northern Rail Branch calls upon the RMT General Grades Committee to initiate an immediate ballot for industrial Action, noting the recent announcement made by Northern Rail in respect of the ‘cascade’ of three 319 units that are currently maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Depot within the First Capital Connect franchise.

In addition to this the Department for Transport are complicit in this whole debacle, particularly noting their involvement in the re-franchising exercise currently being undertaken for the ‘new’ Thameslink Train Operating Company.

Our Engineering members employed at Bedford Cauldwell Depot were not made aware of these proposals by First Capital Connect, and only learned of these proposals through the recent Northern Rail/DFT press releases, as well as through Rail news.

Great Northern Rail branch fully supports the recent announcement by RMT, ASLEF and TSSA where they are seeking a Judicial Review into the re-franchising of Inter City East Coast and Thames link franchises, this following the recent debacle concerning the West Coast franchise, which was eventually scrapped.

We strongly condemn the Department for Transport for withholding any information that affects our First Capital Connect Engineering members, which ultimately will extend to our members employed at their Hornsey Depot, on the existing Great Northern route.

The ‘cascade’ of the three 319’s is being undertaken within the existing ‘extended’ franchise period, with no consultations/negotiations being entered into with our First Capital Connect Engineering representatives whatsoever.

The stress being placed upon our Engineering members and their families during this period of uncertainty concerning their futures is immeasurable, and recognising these facts. 

Great Northern Rail branch call upon delegates to the 2014 RMT National Conference of Engineering Grades to support this Emergency Resolution unanimously.”


GGC Decision

“We note that this matter has been considered by the GGC under Decision GWW, 15th May 2014. We therefore instruct the General Secretary to merge the files.”


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



Yours sincerely

Mick Cash

General Secretary

Leave a Reply

LU Engineering