RMT union to hold referendum ballot

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Following a meeting of rail union RMT’S executive today, the union is recommending members accept a deal that protects guards and their safety critical role on Scotrail.

The RMT has described it as “a major breakthrough in the battle against Driver Only Operation, which the union will now use as a benchmark in talks with other companies where Guards are under threat including Southern Rail.”

The agreement will be going out to a referendum ballot of members with a strong recommendation from RMT’s executive to accept it.

In a letter to members, Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “This agreement has been reached as a result of your determination to fight to protect your hard won terms and conditions and just as importantly your role within the industry. This is more than just a victory for Scotrail it is a victory for the defence of the Role of the Guard and a step forward in our continuing campaign against Driver Only Operation. This agreement will be welcomed by passengers and members alike.

“This principal agreement applies to ScotRail EMU services that will operate on the following newly electrified routes: Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk High; Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts; Edinburgh to Dunblane; Glasgow to Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa and Glasgow to Edinburgh Waverley via Falkirk Grahamston.

“This proposal will also apply to existing EMU services that are conductor operated and part of the North Berwick – Carstairs – Glasgow routes. It is the intention to put longer formations on this line of route.

“All of the above specified EMU services will operate as conventionally staffed with a competent conductor on board.

“This agreement retains conventional staffing of the electric trains on the above routes. Hitachi has been instructed to fit door control panels to Class 385 rolling stock.

“This agreement guarantees a Guard on every new electrified train and that the conductor will retain their full competency (rules, track safety, evacuation). In addition Scotrail confirm that trains operating these services will not run without a competent conductor on board.”