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Amey: Dispute response to Q & A

15 July 2011

Response in red to the Amey's latest Q & A

Your Questions answered 15.07.11

Q: The issue TSSA seem to be pushing us to industrial action over is collective bargaining, is that correct?

A: The TSSA have intimated to us that whilst pay is important, the biggest issue for them is the expansion of the collectively bargained population.

TSSA have said that if the company was willing to move on collective bargaining that it may be a sweetener for members to swallow the bitter pill which is the current pay offer. Whether the pay offer is acceptable would only become apparent when members have an opportunity to vote on this in a referendum ballot.

Q: Why won’t Amey agree to the expansion of the collectively bargained population?

A: At present union membership is less than 25% of the rail population. We also know from feedback we receive that many employees do not wish to be part of a collectively bargained population. We believe it would be wrong to force the majority of our Rail employees into a collectively bargained situation against their will.

TSSA is sceptical of the companies position that there are many people who would prefer receiving 0-1.5% as compared with 2.5% in their pay which we have so far managed to negotiate. Consistently those within collective bargaining have received more then their colleagues not covered and this is precisely why TSSA a re pursuing coverage of collective bargaining across the piece. It is clear that unless individuals are prepared to join with TSSA and take industrial action at 2pm that the company will continue to erode the collective bargaining group.

Q: The information about the pay deal on the TSSA website, i.e. ‘derisory 1% pay offer’ seems to conflict with the information on the pay deal sent out by Jenifer Richmond on 13th July. Which is correct?

A: The current pay offer detailed in the email from Jenifer Richmond is correct, however as detailed in that communication, elements of the pay deal will be withdrawn if industrial action goes ahead.

In 2009 the majority of staff within Amey consulting but not all received 2% increase if covered by collective bargaining. TSSA has in it’s possession proof that at least one senior director in Amey Consulting received a 16% pay increase in that year consisting of £20,000 (from £125,000 to £145,000).

In 2010 Rob Offord Business Director for Amey Interuban (who has recently left the company) told us that senior managers received a 20% bonus in that year. Yet staff received 1% imposed despite agreements to alter Pension rights within that year also.

Q: The TSSA have stated that most Senior managers got a 20% bonus, is this true?

A: This is not true. Senior managers pay typically consists of an element of ‘guaranteed pay’ and ‘at risk’ pay, the ‘at risk’ element being the bonus. This means that in any year a senior manager is not guaranteed to earn their full pay package as part of it is dependant on their personal performance and the performance of the company. It is in everyone’s interest for managers to be incentivised in this way as it supports the achievement of strong business results which secures future employment.

At all of the pay meetings when the 20% bonus was referred to it was never disputed except once when Sean Roberts stated that the bonuses were up to 20%!

Q: Why can’t Amey undertake a ballot to find out if people will accept the pay deal?

A: Under a collective bargaining arrangement, it is the Union who need to ballot their members to gain acceptance to the pay offer. Amey believe that the TSSA should undertake a ballot; however the company cannot force the TSSA to undertake this ballot.

Only a handful of people (less than 3%) of members have emailed Alan Valentine asking for a referendum ballot. Whilst we are prepared to hold one if we get concessions on collective bargaining it would be foolish to give away the mandate for strike action at this stage.

Q: I am part of the collectively bargained population, but not a union member, can I accept the pay deal that is currently on offer?

A: Unfortunately not, as detailed above, the union need to ballot their members to gain acceptance to the pay deal.

This is why you need to join TSSA and have a real voice. We listen to our members, which is why when 70% of those people who responded to our pay survey said that they wanted collective bargaining we listened! Some staff have emailed Amey’s HR asking for a ballot on collective bargaining but have been ignored, who is more democratic!

Q: If I take part in the industrial action, what impact will it have on my pay?

A: Any hours on strike will be deducted from pay in the next payroll run, in addition call out pay/allowance will cease from 15th July until the dispute is settled and the opportunity to earn overtime will be lost until the dispute is settled.

This is now more than about pay it is about respect and dignity, Amey should have listened to your views much sooner than this and held meaningful talks they have refused to budge today and as a result it looks like strike action will happen!

Q: Why are Amey threatening to remove elements of the pay deal if industrial action goes ahead when employees have not had the option to accept it?

A: Amey does not want to have to remove elements of the pay deal, however industrial action, if it goes ahead, will cause disruption and will cost the company money. The reason why elements of the pay deal will need to be withdrawn is to cover these costs.

Amey thinks that by threatening you that you will capitulate. Please show them that you are made of sterner stuff and will not be fooled into standing down, they have caused this situation by their intransigence and unless they back down before 2pm then they will have to feel the impact. Remember over 16 months of talks have gone into trying to broker a deal and Amey are throwing it away at the last stage.

Q: If only a very small minority chose to take part in the industrial action, will the additional element of the pay deal still be withdrawn?

A: It is Amey’s preference not to have any industrial action whatever, however, if it does go ahead and only a very small number take part, then Amey will reconsider its position on the withdrawal of the additional elements of the pay deal based on affordability.

The action needs to be consistent strong and a message needs to go to Amey Senior management that the fat cats cannot reap all of the rewards there needs to be fairness and parity for all not excess and privilege for the chosen few.



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