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Enough is enough: Make First Great Western listen to you

28 May 2013

First Great Western continues to mock its staff by refusing to acknowledge legitimate issues raised on your behalf and repeatedly flouts the requirements of the agreed machinery.

Recently your reps decided that to progress some serious unresolved issues they would rightfully lodge such items as ones which both the union and the Company “have failed to agree on”. According to the agreed collective bargaining machinery these items should then trigger high level discussions between the union’s Regional Organiser and an appropriate Company representative.

For some unknown reason the Company has chosen to forget about these issues leaving them unresolved for both parties for prolonged periods of time. This is despite several reminders both in person and formally in writing.

It is now time for TSSA members in the station and management grades to say NO to being treated with contempt, and YES to taking industrial action!

TSSA reps now feel that the only way in which the company will deal with these issues seriously is to show that TSSA members are serious about winning a fair deal for all stations and management staff. TSSA is therefore canvassing the views of our station staff and management members for industrial action.

Vote YES, YES, YES on the enclosed referendum form and encourage your colleagues to do the same!

Enough is enough

This is the not the first time this year that we have written to you about the Company’s current games which is why they cannot be allowed to continue. As previously asserted industrial relations appear to be at an all-time low which may or may not be connected to the on-going franchise uncertainty.

The issues

We received a number of commitments from the Company during the Station Staff Harmonisation Phase 2 discussions that until agreed they would not extend the number of 0 hour contracts and the use of multi-skilled roles. In addition the Company also undertook to agree establishment calculators across the function.

It was therefore a source of great disappointment and frustration when we met with the Company in April that they confirmed that they proposed to offer the 2011 apprentices 0 hour contracts as well as extending the number of multi-skilled roles. In addition we sought to engage with the Company regarding a number of vacancies which appear to have been frozen at certain locations over varying periods of time. We had protracted discussions with the Company on these issues which we were unable to resolve and were classed as “Fail to Agree”.

We appreciate that we only recently sought the views of the Station Staff regarding taking action however we need you to reinforce the message in solidarity with the management grade that have not been balloted thus far. Please note that this ballot is in addition to the previous one and not a continuation of it.

Towards the end of last year the Management Divisional Council representatives also lodged two Fail to Agree items. The first was regarding the number of unpaid hours managers are regularly expected to work above their contractual obligations. The second was the imposition of the First Group expenses policy which unilaterally removed the sustenance allowance that managers were entitled to claim without consultation or negotiation.

It was not until the end of May that we were finally invited to talk to the Company about the Management issues and we are still awaiting a meeting date for the Station Staff matters.

Make the Company listen

It is has become clear to us that the Company continues to demonstrate such arrogance that we now need to show them that we mean business. The best way for us to do that is to seek your views and strength of feeling on the Company’s attitude to you and their refusal to both acknowledge and resolve your issues within a timely manner.

To that end we are issuing all affected members with a referendum ballot form which we would be grateful for you to complete and return as soon as possible by Friday 14 June 2013. Please note that this is not an industrial action ballot but seeks your views as to whether you would be willing to undertake such form of action at an appropriate juncture.

If you do not receive a ballot form by the week ending 31 May 2013 please contact the Helpdesk before the week ending 7 June 2013.

Please encourage your non-union colleagues to join TSSA so that they also can reinforce your collective message. The easiest and quickest way of joining is online:

There are also a number of vacant representative positions across the two grades which need filling as soon as possible. Please contact the Regional Office for more information.



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