Strikes due to continue on West Midlands Trains (which operates as West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway) every Saturday throughout December have been suspended, and RMT is putting a new deal to a referendum of its members, with a recommendation from the NEC to accept.
The deal guarantees a second safety-critical member of staff on every train for the life of the franchise, and protects salary and annual leave entitlements. Although the driver will control an in-cab door release button when a train arrives in platform, guards retain a central role in dispatch, assessing the platform and controlling the closing of the doors prior to departure.
Although, as one activist put it, the degree of control given to the driver could be seen as "an inch down the road to DOO" - it is only an inch. Bosses who would prefer to see the role of the guard scrapped entirely have been forced into a significant concessions.
The solid strikes by guards on WMT, which began on 16 November, have been bolstered by several Aslef drivers refusing to cross picket lines, which has undoubtedly been significant in forcing this new proposed settlement from the employer. Prior to these WMT strikes, Merseyrail was the only TOC where Aslef drivers had respected RMT picket lines.
If the deal is accepted, which it is likely to be, it could put pressure on South Western Railway bosses to make similar concessions.