RMT Says We Can't Wait Until Driverless Trains Are Designed To Fight This Reckless Move

We note the correspondence from London Underground Ltd dated 29 October 2013.

We note that this letter does not give the assurance we requested that when LUL orders or commissions new train stock, these will include a driver’s cab, and instead states that the company ‘cannot rule anything in or out’.

We further note that the letter:

  • refers to ‘pressure to be more efficient’ and to ‘get the best value for money from everything we get’, indicating that LUL’s decisions on this matter will be driven by a desire to cut spending and save money;
  • states that ‘Any new train is likely to be operable in a number of modes’, indicating a move towards driverless operation;
  • reports that the company is ‘currently starting to plan the next generation of rolling stock’, showing that its plans are not a distant aspiration but a process that is already underway.

We further note that

  • a trial has recently started on the Central line of automatic obstruction detection equipment; this is a preparatory step towards driverless trains;
  • train-building company Siemens is running an exhibition in Docklands showing a model of a driverless Underground train.

We therefore conclude that we can not wait until driverless trains are designed and ordered before we fight this utterly reckless move. We need to actively oppose the preparations for driverless trains now, and to include this issue in our campaign to defend London Underground jobs.

We instruct the General Secretary to obtain from London Underground Ltd more details on the ‘major staff engagement exercise’ that it plans on this issue, and seek the views of our LU trains representatives as to our participation in this exercise.

We note the letter’s invitation to this union to ‘meet up’ to discuss this, and instruct the General Secretary to ensure that this meeting takes place within the Machinery of Negotiation and Consultation.

We instruct the General Secretary to seek an urgent meeting with ASLEF to seek a common approach to resisting driverless trains on London Underground, and to place a report of this meeting in front of us.

London Transport Regional Council, branches and all London Underground driver members are to be advised of this decision.

  • Attached below is the letter sent to the RMT from LUL.

What is a National Executive Committee decision?

This article is an 'executive decision' which has been written by the RMT National Executive Committee. The National Executive is the union's governing body in between AGMs. Its decisions set out what the union will do on a particular issue.

These decisions can often be brief, and may be one of several passed over a period of time. To get a better understanding or find out more information about what the RMT is doing, speak to your rep or attend your branch or Regional Council meeting.