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FGW Potential Dispute

23 January 2013

Confirmation of recent discussions held at Station Staff Divisional Council which may result in a dispute situation.

Background

For some time now the clerical station reps have been tirelessly campaigning on a number of issues at their respective Divisional Council with little progress. The situation came to a head at the last joint meeting at the end of which there was a total of 7 items which the staff side had “failed to agree” on. The Company has demonstrated a complete lack of respect towards YOUR REPS and has done everything in its power to frustrate the resolution of issues or introduce important measures behind closed doors. The Company has made it very hard for YOUR REPS to advise you on these initiatives by keeping them in the dark and contravening time and time again their legal obligations to consult and negotiate items affecting your precious terms and conditions.

In order to try and rectify this situation and to avoid a dispute the TSSA Chair of this council along with myself met with the Company on 14 January 2013.

Issues

1. Harmonisation

It has been long been our aspiration to ensure that all staff working for First Great Western are paid the same rate of pay for undertaking the same role. To achieve anything less is grossly unfair and immoral.

Despite the initial early success of Station Staff Harmonisation Phase 1 secured in 2007 and many “meaningful discussions” with the Company since we have not been able to achieve our aim. To add insult to injury YOUR REPS were finally told that despite all of their commitments and promises to the contrary the Company is not willing to proceed with Harmonisation prior to the next franchise change. It appears that we have just been strung along for 5 years!

2. Cross cover

We informed the Company that we are very unhappy in light of the fact that there isn’t a cross cover agreement (across the 3 separate companies) that on occasion our members are asked to work on this basis.

3. Zero Hours Contracts

We are morally opposed to Zero Hours Contracts and told the Company that going forward this practice must come to an immediate stop.

4. Agency staff

We are very concerned about the Company’s excessive use of agency working which YOUR REPS have not agreed to.

5. Smart card-Truro-Falmouth

We were made aware that the Company are seeking to introduce a new Smart Card Scheme in Cornwall which again was not presented to YOUR REPS for their involvement.

6. Failure to consult

We have formed the opinion that the Company views YOUR REPS and in turn you with contempt. This has been typified by the numerous examples of changes which the Company has sought to introduce without agreement and a complete disregard of the agreed collective bargaining procedures in place.

7. Breakdown in industrial relations

As a direct consequence of the way YOUR REPS have been treated we now find ourselves in an untenable position. YOUR REPS have made our position quite clear in terms of our aspirations regarding the resolution of these issues and how we want to be treated going forward.

Next steps

We are hopeful that these issues will be resolved at the avoidance of dispute level however if they are not then we may have to ballot for industrial action.

Whilst these issues have arisen at this particular council we are aware that the other divisional councils have experienced similar treatment. In addition the Company overuses the threat of the franchise change hiding behind this “restriction” preventing YOUR UNION securing successful outcomes on a whole range of issues across all of the grades which we represent.

Let’s show the Company that we are not prepared to put up with their divide and conquer approach and show them that TSSA is a strong collective voice which listens to the interests of all of their members. Ensure that you approach YOUR REP and tell them what you think about this latest development. Talk also to your colleagues about the importance of being in TSSA and consider filling a vacant reps seat.

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