To answer the question ” should we be concerned by the on going talks between ASLEF and GTR ” we need to separate the question into two parts.
We should be concerned by GTR’s refusal to recognise the RMT’s right to be involved in these talks. This would appear to be an attempt by GTR to ratchet up the tension between themselves and our Union and to create a rift between ASLEF and the RMT.
We should be less concerned by the prospect of ASLEF reaching an agreement with GTR that would be in conflict with our own position. The RMT and ASLEF hold the same position of being totally opposed to any extension of DOO.
The following quotes from Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary confirm this fact:
ASLEF statement regarding possible expansion of DOO made September 24 2015
Update ASLEF Statement:
“So there is no dubiety it is the policy of my organisation that there will be no agreement to extend DOO anywhere and even if DCO is agreed by other trade unions we will not be agreeing this method of operation either.”
– Mick Whelan, ASLE&F general secretary, 24 September 2015.
In November 2015 the following joint statement was released.
“We are completely opposed to Driver Only Operation and its forms, including Driver Controlled Operation (DCO) / Drive Door Operation (DDO), throughout the network.
We firmly believe this method of operation is less safe for passengers and the workforce and our unions will not agree to the extension of DOO or DCO /DDO under any circumstances.
This includes recent proposals for DOO by Great Western in respect of the new IEP trains and the Governments proposals for DCO for the next Northern Rail franchise.
The responsibility of the driver of the train is to drive, which requires 100% focus. It is less safe for both the driver and passengers if the driver is distracted by additional duties such as protecting the platform train interface. The Guard / Conductor should retain responsibility for door operation.
We are particularly concerned for example that there have been a number of incidents in the last year across all sectors where even more pressure has been placed on drivers rather than questioning the safety of DOO.
We are also opposed to DOO and DCO/DDO because its introduction would remove the current guarantee that passengers will always have a safety critical safety second person on the train who can not only deal with emergencies but can also provide general reassurance and assistance to passengers.
It is also essential for the safety of both the driver and passengers to have the guarantee of a Guard / Conductor on the train to protect the train driver and passengers in the event of driver incapacity. This was demonstrated by a recent incident at Sutton Weaver where a driver received a severe electrical shock and was assisted by the Guard who was able to call for the emergency services and accompany a doctor who was travelling on the train to provide emergency first aid.
With record passengers numbers we now need more rail staff, not less. Services for passengers should be improved by investment in modern railway infrastructure and rolling stock – not by dismissing and deskilling Guards and placing event more responsibility on the driver.
We will campaign in unity to oppose any extension of DOO and DCO/DDO and to seek to explore ways of reversing it where it has been introduced. This will include making our views clear to the employers, government and other politicians.”
ASLEF General Secretary
RMT General Secretary
Mick Whelan made the following statements in the Guardian on the 14th of January 2017:
It is clear from these statements from Mick Whelan that ASLEF and the RMT are in full agreement regarding any solution for trains which were operating with a second Safety Critical person prior to April 2016 and that is:A SECOND SAFETY CRITICAL PERSON ON EVERY TRAIN BEFORE IT CAN RUN IN PASSENGER SERVICE, NO EXCEPTIONS.
Providing ASLEF have the courage to stand by their policy with it’s commitment to a Safe, Accessible and Secure rail network then we should have nothing to fear from the on going talks at the TUC.