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Virgin Trains: Pay Discussions and Uniforms Update

22 July 2013

A number of meetings have taken place recently in relation to pay negotiations for 2013 and the introduction of the new staff uniform. Below is a summary of where we are up to with both of these issues.

 

Pay Settlement

 

Following protracted discussions and a number of revised offers from Virgin Trains, the company has set out its final offer as follows:

1. 3.3% pay increase or a minimum of £700 whichever is the greater.

2. The 3.3% pay increase would be implemented earlier than the anniversary dates creating additional back pay for all emloyees. (For Drivers this would be 29th March 2013 and other grades it would be 31st January 2013)

3. The Company would introduce a carer’s travel pass for those employees who are registered disabled. This would enable the carer to travel with them on our services.

4. There would be a joint working party established to review policies for staff entitlement to food and drink when travelling on Virgin Trains services and for family and friends ticketing. These would be concluded by 31st October 2013. The Company is committed to reaching an agreement that would address both these issues. There have been a number of suggestions made by employees and the purpose of the working party will be to review these options and recommend policies.

5. There would be a reduction in the qualifying criteria for 1st Class travel from 10 to 5 years. This means that employees with over 5 years service would qualify for 1st travel under the crew card scheme. This would not affect the existing arrangement whereby those with standard travel entitlement are able to travel in 1st class at weekends.

6. Acceptance of this offer would conclude the issue of the provision of weekly net payslips. Our payroll provider is unable to provide weekly net pay and comply with HM Revenue & Customs requirements on real time information. A gross pay statement will continue to be produced for weeks 1 to 3 and a 4 weekly payslip on a week 4 of each pay period.

Taking into consideration factors such as wider economic conditions, comparable pay settlements within the rail industry and franchise restrictions your TSSA representatives believe that this is the best possible settlement which can be negotiated at this time. For this reason we recommend acceptance of the offer.

If you do not support acceptance of the offer please email me on: walshv@tssa.org.uk by 09 August 2013. If I do not receive many responses I will take this as support of the offer by the membership and indicate this to Virgin management.

Uniforms

 

Following the trial period of the newly introduced uniform, your TSSA representatives met with the company to discuss feedback and the next steps. At this meeting we were provided with comprehensive data on the responses received from the trial wearers. Although this included lots of competing information, it consistently identified that overall over one third of wearers were unhappy with the design or fit of the uniform. The data regarding the shirts and blouses was consistently worse than this with often more than half the trialists dissatisfied with it.

As a result of this trial and feedback the company has committed to approach their board with a view to changing the uniform. A further meeting with the trade unions will be held in September after this approach has happened. During this period the status quo will remain in terms of the uniform staff are currently wearing.

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