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Colas Rail Plain Line Depot Reorganisation

29 October 2015

TSSA recently met with Colas Rail for a consultation meeting to discuss their proposal to close the Ashford, Ipswich, Three Bridges and Tonbridge depots and open one central depot at Rainham in Essex.


As part of the proposal it is also the intention to reorganise employees, the result being that all employees have become displaced and are being asked to apply for the new positions at the Rainham Depot.

The TSSA representatives put forward their concerns on how the new organisation was going to work i.e. the logistics of it, number of proposed employees and individual travelling time to depot and site, but management were of the view that this organisation would be a more efficient way of working.

During the consultation TSSA became aware that Colas Rail was using the reorganisation to restructure staffs’ terms and conditions. TSSA objected to this and told the employer in no uncertain terms that any changes to terms and conditions must be negotiated with the trade unions. In response, Colas Rail stated that the vast majority of employees were on personal contracts. We informed the company that TSSA certainly had collective bargaining for the Supervisors. They agreed that this was the case but stated that they intended the new jobs to be on personal contracts - which was strongly objected to by TSSA.

TSSA is also concerned that when individuals have their ‘one-to-one’ discussions that they are provided with information on the new terms and conditions and any redundancy terms. Colas accepted this and stated that they would issue an explanation on their proposed terms and conditions. They also stated that if employees had shown an interest in the new organisation but later found that the salary and terms & conditions were not to an individual’s liking, they could still request redundancy. In addition, that redundancy and notice periods would be as per the individual’s contract of employment.

The selection for positions will be by interview and that would include questions based on technical knowledge and behavioural questions.

A request was made in regard to the Training department and whether Stratford would be an option for a location for them and Colas said they would investigate this issue.

There are still many issues outstanding such as what Colas consider as reasonable travelling time to a new workplace, would travelling time be included and extra costs paid?

TSSA would advise all members to take advice if they were considering turning down what the employer might regard as a suitable alternative. Normally such categories defining a suitable alternative would be location, status of new position, salary and terms and conditions.

TSSA are meeting Colas in November and you will, of course, be kept advised of any further developments. Any members who have a problem should contact their representatives dealing with this consultation, namely Jason Shenow and Mark Margerison or Iain Anderson at

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