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RMT sets deadline of Friday for Southern Trains to abide by agreements on the role of the Guard

RMT announced yesterday that they have given Southern Trains a deadline of this Friday (28th May) to confirm that they will not breach agreements on the extension of Driver Only Operation (DOO) and the safety-critical role of the Guard on their services or the union will register a dispute with the company.

The potential dispute is around planned changes to the company’s rolling stock on the heavily-used Victoria to Gatwick and Brighton services.

RMT says the company have now been found to have plans to extend DOO to the whole of the Brighton Express service in clear breach of the 2001 National Guards Agreement not to extend DOO on any route or services and in breach of a further agreement on the retention of Guards on services running the new 422 rolling stock being introduced on Southern.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“We will not tolerate a situation where Southern, or any other train operating company, attempts to rip up national agreements and bulldoze through Driver Only Operation plans that remove Guards from any of their services.

“Guards on our trains play a vital, safety-critical role and RMT will continue to fight to defend their retention in line with agreements dating back to 2001 and Southern are well aware of that after their earlier, mistaken attempts to smuggle in an extension of Driver Only Operation.

“We have given Southern until Friday to confirm that they will adhere to existing agreements and remove this threat to our Guards members. If they don’t then we will notify them that we are in dispute but we hope that they will recognise that they have made another mistake and bring the summer timetable services to Brighton via Gatwick back into line with existing agreements.”

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