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First Great Western attacks TSSA, giving notice of derecognition for managers

13 November 2014

TSSA last week received a letter from First Great Western’s Managing Director Mark Hopwood, giving notice of the company’s intention to terminate the agreement with the union that provides for collective bargaining for First Great Western (FGW) managers.

TSSA Assistant General Secretary Steve Coe met with Mark Hopwood and Sharon Johnston, HR Director, on Monday to discuss the letter. Steve Coe urged Mark Hopwood to reconsider the company’s decision, but unsurprisingly he refused to do so.

A letter has been sent by Steve Coe to Mark Hopwood today, a copy of which is appended to this circular. Members employed by FGW are asked to forward it and this circular to their colleagues who are not TSSA members, and to print both and display on workplace noticeboards.

In view of TSSA’s experience of similar situations in the past, FGW members are requested, if they have not done so already, to provide TSSA with a personal email address. Reliance on the company’s email systems for TSSA communications is very unwise in the circumstances!

Members are also asked to register for ‘My TSSA’ on the TSSA’s website at: Logging in to ‘My TSSA’ will unlock a range of website content personalised for each member including communications about developments in FGW and updates from their branch. It will also allow members to join special interest groups (a FGW managers’ group will shortly be created!). Members can also update their personal details on TSSA’s membership database through ‘My TSSA’ to ensure they do not miss out on key communications from the union.

FGW management staff members are also urged to talk to colleagues about this development, and do all they can to improve the TSSA’s ability to influence events going forward by urging those not in membership of TSSA to join – they can do so on-line at

TSSA believes that First Great Western has stooped to using ‘union-busting’ consultants and advisors. The company’s communications to staff have already resorted to ‘spin’ and misrepresentation of TSSA’s position. We expect FGW to peddle all sorts of distortions, half truths and downright lies over the coming months, and FGW members should be prepared for that.

Discussions will now be had with TSSA reps and members to plan our response to this attack on trade unionism. We want to hear from members about their views on this unwelcome development – email Steve Coe at

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