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It's Not About The Doors!

Exposing DfT/Govia Lies

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February 2017

WHY THE VOTE ON THE ASLEF/GTR AGREEMENT MUST BE NO!

We reproduce below two accounts of a meeting at GTR’s Go-Ahead House yesterday between Mick Whelan, Aslef General Secretary, Graham Morris, full time officer, Marz Colombini, Executive Committee Member, and the Drivers Functional Council and Local Depot Council reps. It does not make for pleasant reading. With the Joint Branches meeting at Three Bridges this evening we want to help inform drivers as much as possible of what has been done in their name. First there is an impassioned plea to drivers to reject the Aslef/GTR deal and VOTE NO.


WHY OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN ASLEF MUST REJECT THIS IMPOSITION

THIS IS NOT A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT THIS IS AN IMPOSITION BY GTR


This imposition of DOO must be rejected by the Drivers. There can be no defence of the Terms of Surrender put before them. This is a one sided deal that benefits GTR and humiliates ASLEF.

The Talks only happened once ASLEF had suspended all industrial action. That was not enough for GTR SO they chose to humiliate the ASLEF negotiating team, and the members they represent, by continuing to extend DOO even as they sat at the negotiating table.


ASLEF, to preserve some dignity, needed to walk away from the negotiating table when it became clear that GTR were extending DOO during the talks. Regrettably they choose to remain and suffered the predictable consequence of  being bullied into total submission. 

GTR have taken everything they want and given nothing in return. The never ending  list of exceptional circumstances when the trains can operate without a second person  gives them the right to run their services DOO at will. This impacts on Safety and Accessibility with the implications that has for both individual Drivers being held accountable in a Court and the right of the disabled to travel without pre booking.
Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary, said recently;

  •   “I haven’t seen one company director in the past 20 years who has got a fiduciary responsibility hauled in to the dock, had their job taken away or go to prison for it – but I have seen it happen to guards, platform staff and drivers.”
  •   “I believe Southern are suggesting that disabled people in England ring up 24 hours in advance of when they want to travel. The whole basis of the industry is ‘step on and go’. The idea that sectors of our community should have to book in advance when others don’t is anathema to me. Everybody should have the same access and rights to get on and off a train.”

 IT IS TIME FOR MICK WHELAN AND THE ASLEF NEGOTIATING TEAM  TO REMEMBER THOSE WORDS AND                       STAND UP AND DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF  DRIVERS AND THE DISABLED

There has been much talk in the depots regarding the imagined split between Drivers in Coastal Depots and those in the Metro. The belief is that whereas the Coastal depots are opposed to the extension of DOO, the Metro depots are only concerned about the correct consultations taking place before the introduction of DOO.

That may or may not be an accurate scenario but what is absolutely clear is that this ‘PEACE DOCUMENT’ has not come about through meaningful discussions with Drivers representatives rather it is the product of one side enforcing their will on the other. That makes it an imposition not an agreement.

If this is accepted by the  Driving grade then it is the end of them having an effective voice in the workplace NO MATTER WHERE THEY WORK. If they are unable to stand up for their right to have a meaningful voice at the negotiating table then they will be unable to stand up and defend their Terms and Conditions.

The prize of having a subservient Driving grade has been long sought after by the industry and the Drivers capitulation now  would be accepted with relish.

If this deal is accepted it means the end of a Drivers Union that can defend its members.

A Drivers Union that has accepted that it cannot fight can no longer stop the Company managing out of the industry all Drivers who are deemed not to conform to “Company Standards”.

Our Sisters and Brothers in the driving grade who have helped sustain our fight over the past ten months, both by financial help and by boosting morale, have earned our respect and gratitude. We must ensure that they know they have our full support as they face up to rejecting this imposition and all it entails.

IT IS TIME FOR DRIVERS TO MAKE THEIR VOICE HEARD

                                                                  DEMAND RESPECT
                                                                         

                                                      VOTE TO REJECT THIS IMPOSITION
     DEFEND A SAFE ACCESSIBLE AND SECURE RAIL NETWORK 


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WHY THE GTR DOO DEAL IS BAD NEWS FOR TRAINCREW AND PASSENGERS

 

“We have secured a deal that protects our modernisation programme for the extension of DOO and the new OBS role which we’ve now implemented and is retained going forward as part of this agreement.” – Charles Horton, GTR Boss, 2 February 2017.

The GTR deal is bad news for Traincrew and passengers.

  • You have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on your train. Drivers will be on their own and exposed and vulnerable. We already know that GTR have been running many trains without OBS and the exemptions in Appendix A of the deal will make this even more frequent and represent the thin end of the wedge leading to the de-staffing of our trains.
  • OBSs will not be safety critical, despite what was said at the conclusion of the talks.   They will only be trained to “undertake the relevant specific degraded safety critical task.” So the OBSs –even if one is on a train – will not be trained and passed out in the safety critical responsibilities that a guard/conductor has including  track safety – they are not PTS trained;  protection; and  route.
  • There cannot be and will be no legal indemnity from prosecution for drivers if a passenger is injured or killed in a PTI incident and the driver is responsible for closing the doors. Remember that the driver of the train involved in PTI incident at Hayes and Harlington is now being prosecuted.  And GTR has only committed to “explore” an indemnity scheme.
  • And we need to remember the ORR report on Southern DOO of January 5th 2017 which says: GTR-Southern has carried out some research and trials into leaving the in-cab monitors on until the low speed relay operates at approx. 4mph. This is the accepted practice on London Overground 378 units since approximately 2014.” Is this one of the technology improvements that GTR wants to introduce under Appendix D? Rail unions have rightly opposed this until now, for the obvious reason that this will distract the driver from observing the signal ahead, particularly with a 10 or 12-car train that stops on the platform close to or right up to the starting signal. Leaving the monitors on as the train is moving increases the risk of a SPAD if the starting signal reverts to red while the train is at the station, or if starting from a platform on a single yellow.
  • With no guarantee of a second member of staff the deal is a disaster for disabled passengers and will see even more disabled passengers left behind on platforms.
  • The deal allows for the extension of DOO to nearly all Southern Lines.

Protect yourself. No More DOO on Southern

 

THE SO-CALLED DEAL BETWEEN ASLEF AND GTR

Comment by train crew rep on the ASLEF/GTR agreement. The agreement itself is reproduced underneath:

The speedy condemnation of this disgraceful agreement between ASLEF and GTR does credit to the RMT.

I believe the swift and total condemnation issued by the RMT of this TUC organised surrender can act as a rallying call to our members as the fight to achieve a Safe, Accessible and Secure rail network continues. There is undoubtedly a difficult road for us to travel but we will be successful in our struggle provided we maintain our solidarity.

This proposal drawn up by GTR and ASLEF may not ask turkeys to vote for Christmas but it does recommend drivers voting for Prison Sentences. It also supports the work of the Tory Government in its attacks on the disabled by removing the “step and go” rights from those who require assistance to board rail services.


We need to remind Drivers that ASLEF is their Union and that it is their right to decide how to cast their vote .The Drivers should read the statements made by their General Secretary prior to ASLEF incurring many thousands of pounds in court costs (costs which GTR had previously offered to cover). Drivers must ask themselves why they are being asked to vote for a settlement which contradicts everything their General Secretary had to say in the last few months. 

Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary, has made the following statements in the last 6 months:

  • “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.”
  • “I haven’t seen one company director in the past 20 years who has got a fiduciary responsibility hauled in to the dock, had their job taken away or go to prison for it – but I have seen it happen to guards, platform staff and drivers.”
  • “We threatened a judicial review in Scotland about disabled access because the law in Scotland on transport access was far stronger than down here, and that helped us win. I believe Southern are suggesting that disabled people in England ring up 24 hours in advance of when they want to travel. The whole basis of the industry is ‘step on and go’. The idea that sectors of our community should have to book in advance when others don’t is anathema to me. Everybody should have the same access and rights to get on and off a train.’”
It is imperative that the traincrew unity which has been so evident since April 2016 continues. Drivers have been a source of support for conductors over these many months and we must ensure that we can now  give them the confidence necessary to vote to reject this agreement which is an insult to the driving grade and everything they have stood for over the years.


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