Deal agreed between RMT and SWR regarding future role of guards

jonnyfan

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Will this new deal mean that the guards will lose dispatching competency? Or will it be like how it now works on Greater Anglia where the guard can still dispatch if there is a fault with the DOO equipment?
 
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pompeyfan

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Will this new deal mean that the guards will lose dispatching competency? Or will it be like how it now works on Greater Anglia where the guard can still dispatch if there is a fault with the DOO equipment?

The answer is in the above linked document hosted on the RMT website, but to paraphrase, no guards will hold dispatch competency for 701 stock. There will be guards that are likely to sign both Desiro and 701 stock so will retain dispatch for legacy units.

Where rolling stock modification can deliver a Driver Open/Guards Close method of operation, that is what will operate once trains are appropriately modified and this method of operation has been safety validated. For Guards, this method of operation is supported by the same competency profile as the traditional method of operation.
On initial agreement of these proposals, Guards will continue to be required to work trains to the traditional method of operation (Guard open Guard close). At any given time during future rolling stock cascades, a Guard in either grade will have any one of the following levels of operational competence of:
A - Traditional operation only (noting that the level of competency applicable to Guard open Guard close is identical to that required for Driver Open Guard Close)
B - DCO operation only
C - Traditional operation and DCO operation
The competence level held by each Guard will reflect the method of operation requirements in connection with the rolling stock being worked on a depot by depot, link by link basis. Guards may phase between competence levels in line with business needs.
For Guards in both grades, there will be a future point in time when the operational competence required is limited solely to that required to work DCO rolling stock. The exact point in time when the competence to work trains in traditional methods of operation ends, will be decided at SWRs discretion based on the depot and link of the Guard. At this point in time SWR will write to the Guard to confirm that their JD has been amended to become DCO specific.
For Metro Guards that will be in connection with Class 701 introduction and for Commercial Guards that will be in line with any future rolling stock which SWR may procure.
Both Commercial Guards and Metro Guards may work a mixture of method of operations within a s
 

jonnyfan

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The answer is in the above linked document hosted on the RMT website, but to paraphrase, no guards will hold dispatch competency for 701 stock. There will be guards that are likely to sign both Desiro and 701 stock so will retain dispatch for legacy units.
Thank you
 

Goldfish62

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True, they will have to check tickets which they did not previously have to do. However, that is not a safety critical role, and so they aren't potentially putting their career at risk at every station, as is the case with dispatch.

If you have dispatch responsibilities, these are obviously compulsory at each stop, whereas even with targets and monitoring, I am sure there will be times that metro guards won't be doing ticket checks - sometimes even whole journeys.
So Metro guards will be carrying out revenue duties? They don't at the moment.
 

Ashley Hill

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Do they lose any other responsibilities in this deal such as faulting,route knowledge and emergency protection? If yes,then have they become similar to an OBS just with a different name?
 

the sniper

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That is an unbelievably generous deal.

I'm guessing you're not familiar with train crew T&Cs? It looks like a poor deal to me. Even if DCO weren't included, fundamentally undermining their position going forwards, it wouldn't be an 'unbelievable generous deal', given what else they've had taken off them.

Ah well, they shan't be going anywhere in the short term at least. Well, nobody can go anywhere for three months...

Aside from that, do the Metro Guards know what they're in for with this shambolic checking tickets, but can't sell tickets? Surely anyone who's done revenue knows what a mess that's going to be.

Do they lose any other responsibilities in this deal such as faulting,route knowledge and emergency protection? If yes,then have they become similar to an OBS just with a different name?

Going by the document, Guards only doing DCO work will "have a reduced level of operational involvement and a reduced level of route knowledge". Going by the agreement, SWR will seemingly let them know what this means at some point! In time when Guards become DCO only, the company will be good enough to write to them to let them know that their job description has changed and they're no longer competent...
 
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pompeyfan

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I would assume the reduction in route knowledge isn’t so much a case of they’re out there blind, they’ll still need to know relevant signal boxes, line names and key locations like tunnels and level crossings, they’ll just not know starting signals and off indicators. That is all speculation though.
 

Goldfish62

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I'm guessing you're not familiar with train crew T&Cs? It looks like a poor deal to me. Even if DCO weren't included, fundamentally undermining their position going forwards, it wouldn't be an 'unbelievable generous deal', given what else they've had taken off them.
Looking at it objectively, having fewer duties and a reduced working week, but no reduction in pay is extraordinarily good by any normal measure, but obviously I understand the unique issues of the railway industry.
 

Bletchleyite

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Do they lose any other responsibilities in this deal such as faulting,route knowledge and emergency protection? If yes,then have they become similar to an OBS just with a different name?

Though the key difference from an OBS is that the train isn't allowed to run without them.

Given the level of fare dodging and personal safety concerns alleviated by having a guard in the train rather than the back cab, could this be a deal that would work for Merseyrail, perhaps?
 

pompeyfan

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Looking at it objectively, having fewer duties and a reduced working week, but no reduction in pay is extraordinarily good by any normal measure, but obviously I understand the unique issues of the railway industry.

the changes in spare duties, holiday cover and the way Christmas is paid is a concern though.
 

GB

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As someone who does not work for a TOC, what is the logic in giving door control to the driver instead of keeping it with the guard?
 

dingdinger

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As someone who does not work for a TOC, what is the logic in giving door control to the driver instead of keeping it with the guard?
Supposedly saves time, but can't see this being the case if the guard is keying on at every station.
 

Watershed

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So Metro guards will be carrying out revenue duties? They don't at the moment.
They will be checking tickets but not selling them.

I'm guessing you're not familiar with train crew T&Cs?
I'm quite familiar with them.

It looks like a poor deal to me. Even if DCO weren't included, fundamentally undermining their position going forwards, it wouldn't be an 'unbelievable generous deal', given what else they've had taken off them.
There are a few ancillary changes in favour of the company, true, as well as the thorny issue of losing dispatch responsibility.

But you have to look at the bigger picture. Considering the likely range of 'best case scenario' to 'worst case scenario' outcomes, what's been agreed here is definitely at the former end of the scale. You only have to look at what happened on the Overground after TfL took it over, to see that the worst case scenario would not have been implausible.

Indeed, the guards are in many ways now in a stronger position than before - DOO was previously in drivers' contracts but has now been curtailed to DCO with a guaranteed guard.

Ultimately it was always an anachronism (somewhat akin to having a secondman) to have a stopping suburban service operated with guards who, by nature of the frequency of the stops, can do little other than dispatch. It's hardly surprising that things are now changing. It's been the direction of travel for the last 40 years! Of course change is painful but this is a lot less bad than it could have turned out, particularly in the circumstances of current ridership levels.

Aside from that, do the Metro Guards know what they're in for with this shambolic checking tickets, but can't sell tickets? Surely anyone who's done revenue knows what a mess that's going to be.
I imagine a significant proportion of passengers on services operated with Metro Guards hold Oyster or other smart tickets. It's not exactly going to help things if you then try to sell a paper ticket to someone who hasn't validated their Oyster card.

In depth revenue checks and Penalty Fares etc. will of course remain the responsibility of RPIs but this will certainly help in tackling ticketless travel. I'm sure there are plenty who have hitherto cottoned onto the fact that guards on their line are non-commercial; even just seeing regular ticket checks will dissuade them from trying it on.

As someone who does not work for a TOC, what is the logic in giving door control to the driver instead of keeping it with the guard?
In this case, the overriding consideration is dwell times. Overall capacity is limited by dwell times at stations like Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. You simply can't expect consistent 30 second dwells if you have guard dispatch, there are no two ways about it.
 

Robertj21a

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Seems a lot of fuss about very little. The Southern OBS role is perfectly acceptable - and has proven to be so.
 

Bletchleyite

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Seems a lot of fuss about very little. The Southern OBS role is perfectly acceptable - and has proven to be so.

The OBS role is an interesting one - I had expected it to be quietly dropped after a year or two, or a recruitment freeze so it just quietly went away over time. But that hasn't happened, and it does seem to be providing benefits. It might indeed be difficult to remove it, as with it a wheelchair user can board any train without pre-booking, so it would be unreasonable to take that away.
 

DorkingMain

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In this case, the overriding consideration is dwell times. Overall capacity is limited by dwell times at stations like Clapham Junction and Vauxhall. You simply can't expect consistent 30 second dwells if you have guard dispatch, there are no two ways about it.
I'm sceptical that any significant time saving can be achieved with driver dispatch vs guard dispatch. The limit at stations like those is the speed of passenger loading and unloading, rather than how quickly the guard can close the doors and give the RA.

I think pretty much every observer can see the situation is politically motivated, probably because the DfT wants to wind up the railway unions and reduce their grip. The idea it's about dispatch timings and such seems like a fig leaf.
 

Watershed

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I'm sceptical that any significant time saving can be achieved with driver dispatch vs guard dispatch. The limit at stations like those is the speed of passenger loading and unloading, rather than how quickly the guard can close the doors and give the RA.

I think pretty much every observer can see the situation is politically motivated, probably because the DfT wants to wind up the railway unions and reduce their grip. The idea it's about dispatch timings and such seems like a fig leaf.
Even if it were just 5 seconds per stop (it will undoubtedly be more, particularly with ABDO on the 701s), that adds up to 100 seconds on a Weybridge-Waterloo stopper calling at 20 intermediate stations - nothing to be sniffed at, and a great aid to improving service resilience and recovery.

If this were truly about winding up railway unions then why would the DfT have signed off on a deal that includes entrenching the position of the guard on every SWR service, under all circumstances? The DOO clause was already in the drivers' contracts after all...
 

Robertj21a

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I'm sceptical that any significant time saving can be achieved with driver dispatch vs guard dispatch. The limit at stations like those is the speed of passenger loading and unloading, rather than how quickly the guard can close the doors and give the RA.

I think pretty much every observer can see the situation is politically motivated, probably because the DfT wants to wind up the railway unions and reduce their grip. The idea it's about dispatch timings and such seems like a fig leaf.
I'm sure we did all this subject to death a couple of years ago, complete with people suggesting timings, problems and benefits. I doubt there's any need to go over it all yet again !
 

dingdinger

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Even if it were just 5 seconds per stop (it will undoubtedly be more, particularly with ABDO on the 701s), that adds up to 100 seconds on a Weybridge-Waterloo stopper calling at 20 intermediate stations - nothing to be sniffed at, and a great aid to improving service resilience and recovery.

If this were truly about winding up railway unions then why would the DfT have signed off on a deal that includes entrenching the position of the guard on every SWR service, under all circumstances? The DOO clause was already in the drivers' contracts after all...
If the guard is keying on at each stop I don't see how it will save much time. Also a driver won't have a whistle to hurry passengers on and you could say it will take longer to watch the platform via some cameras as opposed to first hand view. The only time saved is the time it takes the guard to check if the train is accommodated which is very little with an experienced guard (however driver open does make sense to me). I don't know if you have seen but at London Road Guildford there are markers to let the guard instantly know the train is accommodated to save time.

With these seconds saved do you expect them to change the scheduling and timings?
 

DorkingMain

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Even if it were just 5 seconds per stop (it will undoubtedly be more, particularly with ABDO on the 701s), that adds up to 100 seconds on a Weybridge-Waterloo stopper calling at 20 intermediate stations - nothing to be sniffed at, and a great aid to improving service resilience and recovery.

If this were truly about winding up railway unions then why would the DfT have signed off on a deal that includes entrenching the position of the guard on every SWR service, under all circumstances? The DOO clause was already in the drivers' contracts after all...
Because the core of the dispute was guards retaining dispatch competency.
 

Train jaune

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True, they will have to check tickets which they did not previously have to do. However, that is not a safety critical role, and so they aren't potentially putting their career at risk at every station, as is the case with dispatch.

If you have dispatch responsibilities, these are obviously compulsory at each stop, whereas even with targets and monitoring, I am sure there will be times that metro guards won't be doing ticket checks - sometimes even whole journeys.
True, they will have to check tickets which they did not previously have to do. However, that is not a safety critical role, and so they aren't potentially putting their career at risk at every station, as is the case with dispatch.

If you have dispatch responsibilities, these are obviously compulsory at each stop, whereas even with targets and monitoring, I am sure there will be times that metro guards won't be doing ticket checks - sometimes even whole journeys.

Wasn't opposition to DOO all about critical safety issues. Presumably a cut in working hours and pay rise has resolved all those problems.
 

dingdinger

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Wasn't opposition to DOO all about critical safety issues. Presumably a cut in working hours and pay rise has resolved all those problems.
Different people would argue different things. In my opinion DCO is not safer, but after the drivers agreed to it there isn't a great deal of choice for the guards. This deal is as good as they will get and guarantees a safety critical guard on every train who will be trained to deal with emergency situations.

Not entirely sure what the benefits are from all this. Surely the company will be spending more with the drivers pay deal and having guards on a shorter working week. Will the passengers benefit?

If the guard is keying on at each stop I don't see how it will save much time. Also a driver won't have a whistle to hurry passengers on and you could say it will take longer to watch the platform via some cameras as opposed to first hand view. The only time saved is the time it takes the guard to check if the train is accommodated which is very little with an experienced guard (however driver open does make sense to me). I don't know if you have seen but at London Road Guildford there are markers to let the guard instantly know the train is accommodated to save time.

With these seconds saved do you expect them to change the scheduling and timings?
If anything newer trains with better acceleration and faster doors will be the biggest time saving.
 
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Taunton

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If anything newer trains with better acceleration and faster doors will be the biggest time saving.
Why, in 2021, do we need new trains (again) to get faster doors. I remember from long ago the old 1938 Wirral electrics, their doors opened and closed in a flash, none of this ludicrous delay we now have for them to do so.
 

Robertj21a

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Different people would argue different things. In my opinion DCO is not safer, but after the drivers agreed to it there isn't a great deal of choice for the guards. This deal is as good as they will get and guarantees a safety critical guard on every train who will be trained to deal with emergency situations.

Not entirely sure what the benefits are from all this. Surely the company will be spending more with the drivers pay deal and having guards on a shorter working week. Will the passengers benefit?


If anything newer trains with better acceleration and faster doors will be the biggest time saving.
Do they ever?
 

greyman42

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Not really knowing the history of all this; is the driver doing the door duties simply to allow the train to run DOO if the guard is not there? Otherwise, what is the advantage of the driver doing the door duties?
 

Bletchleyite

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Not really knowing the history of all this; is the driver doing the door duties simply to allow the train to run DOO if the guard is not there? Otherwise, what is the advantage of the driver doing the door duties?

It speeds up operation by about 20 seconds (about 5 for release and about 15 for dispatch) per station, which on the shorter distance stopping services makes a considerable difference, for one. It also frees up the guard to spend more time on revenue (give or take a quick glance out of the door at each station to see if there's a wheelchair user waiting for assistance).
 

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