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Balfour Beatty Rail Employees TUPE transfer to Colas Rail Further Consultations

22 July 2014

There have been two more meetings with Balfour Beatty and Colas Rail but there still remain some outstanding issues requiring clarification.

 

. We used the opportunity to raise some further questions with the incoming employer – set out below are the responses:

1) The transfers will still take place at 00.01 on 29th July 2014 apart from East Kent Re-signalling that will take place at 23.59 on the 21st August 2014.

2) Some employees staying with Balfour Beatty will be asked if they would consider moving to Colas Rail on a secondment for twelve weeks after the date of transfer. This would be on a purely voluntary basis and their employment status would remain with Balfour Beatty.

3) There remains a major issue in respect of non protected and no indefeasible right (pension) status employees who will not be allowed to join the Colas Rail Section of the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS). TSSA is obtaining legal advice on this because we do not believe providing a defined contribution (DC) scheme is equivalent to the current defined benefit (DB) scheme arrangements. Colas confirmed they would continue with BRASS matching contributions for those that currently contribute and at the levels of current matching.

4) Those currently in the Balfour Beatty Defined Contribution scheme will be auto enrolled into the Colas Defined Contribution Scheme on the 29th July and individuals will be able to withdraw from the scheme if they wish.

5) Balfour Beatty and Colas Rail are still currently discussing the logistics of the changeover of vehicles. There is potential, where the depot is not big enough to house both the Balfour Beatty and Colas vans, to hire a location for the exchange. In regard to fuel cards Colas stated that they would issue fuel cards, for those who currently have a company car, if it is in the individual’s contract of employment. However, in the future they may wish to negotiate on this matter with the holder. All employees transferring who have company mobile phones will be issued new phones, but it has now been agreed that they will retain their existing numbers.

6) Colas Rail is still discussing with Network Rail and Balfour Beatty regarding work locations. Brentwood Depot will be relocated to Romford and at Tonbridge there has been a commercial agreement to remain for six months after the transfer. Ipswich Depot will be as is now but there is only an agreement to remain for three months after the date of transfer and Network Rail is monitoring the situation. Three Bridges will be rented from Balfour Beatty and it is hoped to rent half the Ashford depot from its owner at the time of transfer. Staff employed at Redhill will on the whole move to Purley.

7) Colas are still looking at the future of training departments and have had one to one discussions with Balfour Beatty trainers about their current work locations and areas covered.

8) Balfour Beatty advised us what will happen regarding current employees transferring who participate in the share save scheme. Those in the SIP scheme transferring out of Balfour Beatty will get two options: either sell the shares or transfer them into a share certificate. Those in the SAYE scheme transferring from Balfour Beatty can continue to save for up to six months, save to maturity (this will need to be done by direct debit) or close the scheme and have their savings back with interest.

9) Balfour Beatty said they are still trying to resolve all vacancies’ issues before the date of the transfer, especially where this involves long standing Higher Grade Pay cover and arrears of pay. However, Network Rail has not responded with their authorisation to fill positions. Balfour Beatty is pursuing this with NR. Please note those who have not had their issue resolved should put in a grievance.

10) The plan is still to sell the Small Plant organisation to Torrent Trackside before the transfer of the RT24 contract.

11) All employees transferring who have a Senital Card will not require a med screening for the purpose of this transfer.

12) There are discussions with Network Rail over the loading team at Hoo Junction and whether they intend to bring it back in house. All parties do not want this group of employees TUPE transferred to Colas followed by a further transfer to Network Rail shortly afterwards.

13) With the possible new pay cycles Colas will offer interest free loans. Balfour Beatty’s next pay anniversary date is 1st January 2015 whereas for Colas Rail it is 1st April 2015, TSSA intends dealing with this by submitting a pay claim after the transfer.

14) During the last meeting there was raised an issue which was of serious concern to TSSA. Colas stated that they believed that there were too many track grades transferring to the plain line and not enough on the S&C contract. TSSA asked why this was a problem as Colas Rail had both contracts. Colas Rail stated that the plain line and S&C contracts were two completely different commercial contracts and they would be keeping them separate. This I believe emphasises the ridiculous situation of having two completely different contracts for renewal work as although in most cases renewals workers have done both types of work and supplemented specific engineering jobs as necessary regardless of whether it was ‘plain line’ or’ S&C’. Colas Rail stated they did not mention this earlier because they had not received the TUPE lists at the last meeting. TSSA emphasised that we did not want to see employees transferring only to be told they were at risk of redundancy. TSSA will be seeking further clarification on this matter at our next TUPE consultation with Balfour Beatty and Colas Rail.

15) It was confirmed that of those employed in the ETE Department at Three Bridges six employees had been identified as transferring to Babcock Rail at Eastleigh.

16) It was also confirmed that two S&T employees who come under Ashford for supervision and management will transfer to Babcock Rail at Eastleigh.

TSSA members with queries should contact the TSSA Helpdesk or their TSSA representative. TSSA will keep you updated of developments following further consultation meetings that are due to take place.

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