ROLE OF THE GUARD & EXTENSION OF DOO – SOUTHERN (GTR)
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.