ASLEF/RMT statement on DOO

27 November 2015

This is a joint ASLEF/RMT statement opposing Driver Only Operation and Driver Controlled Operation.

We are completely opposed to Driver Only Operation and its forms,including Driver Controlled Operation (DCO) and Driver Door Operation(DDO), throughout the network. We firmly believe this method of operation is less safe for passengers and the workforce and our unions will not agree to the extension of DOO or DCO /DDO under any circumstances. This includes recent proposals for DOO by Great Western in respect of the new IEP trains and the government's proposals for DCO for the next Northern Rail franchise.

The responsibility of the driver of the train is to drive, which requires100% focus. It is less safe for both the driver and passengers if the driver is distracted by additional duties such as protecting the platform train interface. The guard/conductor should retain responsibility for door operation.

We are particularly concerned,for example, that there have been a number of incidents in the last year across all sectors where even more pressure has been placed on drivers rather than questioning the safety of DOO.

We are also opposed to DOO and DCO/DDO because its introduction would remove the current guarantee that passengers will always have a safety critical safety second person on the train who can not only deal with emergencies but can also provide general reassurance and assistance to passengers.

It is essential for the safety of both the driver and passengers to have the guarantee of a guard/conductor on the train to protect the train driver and passengers in the event of driver incapacity. This was demonstrated by a recent incident at Sutton Weaver where a driver received a severe electrical shock and was assisted by the guard who was able to call for the emergency services and accompany a doctor who was travelling on the train to provide emergency first aid.

With record passengers numbers we now need more rail staff, not less.Services for passengers should be improved by investment in modern railway infrastructure and rolling stock - not by dismissing and deskilling guards and placing event more responsibility on the driver.

We will campaign in unity to oppose any extension of DOO and DCO/DDO and to seek to explore ways of reversing it where it has been introduced.This will include making our views clear to the employers, government and other politicians.

Mick Whelan, general secretary, ASLEF

Mick Cash, general secretary, RMT

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