The move suggested by the union is on the day when rail company employees involved in several disputes on Southern, Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway and Island Line herald the latest misery for commuters of industrial action over rail safety and the role of the guard.
RMT says the terms of reference for the summit - which could also be chaired by an independent chair - could consider how the principles of the agreements RMT have recently reached in Scotland and Wales, (keeping the guard on new modern trains) can be applied to the current disputes. At the same time meeting any concerns the Department for Transport and train operating companies may have about future train services.
RMT says it has welcomed support for the initiative from the TUC and Labour Party.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash comments:
“I last met Chris Grayling on 12th December 2017, where we were told the train companies were free to negotiate deals like we have reached in Scotland and Wales where the guard has been retained but I then subsequently received a letter from the Chris Grayling asking the union to accept the principle of driver only trains.
"In light of this lack of clarity, and the contradictory messages emanating from the government, I have been seeking further talks with the Secretary State but unfortunately have not had a positive response to that request.
"I have therefore written today to Chris Grayling proposing a summit which could also be presided over by an agreed independent chair and which would consider how the principles of the agreements RMT have recently reached in Scotland and Wales, which will keep the guard on new modern trains, can be applied to the current disputes whilst at the same time meeting any concerns the Department for Transport and train companies have about future train services."
"I have told the Secretary of State that agreements have been reached in Scotland and Wales for safe, secure and accessible modern services and that with good will on all sides we can reach an agreement in England as well.”
The full text of the letter to Chris Grayling:
8th January 2018
The Rt Hon. Chris Grayling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 4DR
Driver Only Operation Disputes
With reference to our meeting on 12th December 2017 and my subsequent letter to you on the same date, I am disappointed that you have still not responded positively to my request for further talks with you.
My union has bent over backwards this week to resolve these disputes with the train companies. We have held negotiations with Northern and South Western who have been completely inflexible while Southern have refused to even meet this week. Greater Anglia have also showed no flexibility in their position since we last met them.
When we previously met you said that the companies were free to negotiate with the RMT but it is clear from our discussions with the companies this week that they are negotiating within a framework set by the government.
Therefore, in a fresh attempt to break the deadlock I am proposing an urgent summit with yourself, the RMT and the four train operators we are in dispute with which come under the auspices of your department.
I also propose that the terms of reference for the summit are to discuss how we can apply the principles of the agreements the RMT have recently reached in Scotland and Wales which will keep the guard on new modern trains whilst at the same time meeting any concerns the Department for Transport and train companies have about future train services.
I would of course be happy to consider any terms of reference you may wish to put forward along these lines and also consider an agreed independent chair for the summit.
Agreements have been reached in Scotland and Wales for safe, secure and accessible modern services and I believe with good will on all sides we can reach an agreement in England as well.
https://parkfarmneighbourhoodwatch.blogspot.com E&OE Julian Bray Editor Tel:+44 (0)1733 345581 .