February 16, 2010 02:00 ET

First Scotrail "bang to rights" Over Broken Promises on Driver Only Operation

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - RAIL UNION RMT today produced the text of a letter dating back to November 2004 which has caught First Scotrail bang to rights over their broken assurances to the union on the introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO).

The letter, from Mary Dickson the then Managing Director of Scotrail, says:

"….I do recognise your Trade Union's concern that Driver Only Operation would not be extended. I can give you an assurance firstly that First ScotRail will not, during the current franchise, be removing conductors from any of the services on which they are now present. Secondly, with regard to future potential services…..I will make it clear to those leading the developments….that your Trade Union strongly opposes the Driver Only mode of operation. I will also ask that the Trade Unions be involved in early consultations on such services so that any potential future difficulties can be identified and resolved at an early stage."

The key paragraph comes on top of legal opinion sought by RMT last week which confirmed that a 2001 agreement that commits Scotrail not to extend Driver Only Operation remains in force.

A series of strikes involving RMT Scotrail driver and conductor members and RMT Scotrail sleeper train managers will begin this weekend as the union fights to retain the safety-critical role of the Guard.

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary said today:

"It's about time that Scotrail stopped the posturing and the penny-pinching and admitted that they have given firm commitments to the retention of Guards which they should have the decency to honour.

"First Scotrail is attempting to rip up agreements with RMT which date back to 2001, and all for the sake of saving £300,000 which is the cost of keeping the Guards in place on the Airdrie-Bathgate line. It's a small amount to pay for passenger and staff safety and is a tiny fraction of the £18 million that First Group paid its shareholders in dividends last year."


A copy of the Scotrail letter, which clarifies the position in terms of the existing agreements on DOO, and specifically the situation in respect of Larkhall branch line, can be seen here : http://www.rmt.org.uk/files/132477/FileName/scotrail.pdf

  1. RMT Scotrail strike action:

All DRIVER AND CONDUCTOR members (NOT Sleeper Train Managers) are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:

  • 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 20th February 2010
  • 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Monday 1st March 2010
  • 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 13th March 2010

All SLEEPER TRAIN MANAGER members (NOT Driver and Conductor members) are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:

  • 20.01 hours on Sunday 21st February and 19.59 hours on Monday 22nd February 2010
  • 20.01 hours on Sunday 28th February and 19.59 hours on Monday 1st March 2010
  • 20.01 hours on Sunday 14th March and 19.59 hours on Monday 15th March 2010

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