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First Great Western: Company treat managers as second class citizens!

29 April 2014

Update on an on-going and significant reorganisation in the Sales and Marketing function which could have profound implications for all managers in the future and a request for your assistance.


On 9 April 2014 the Secretary of the Management Divisional Council was summoned to a meeting in Paddington and informed that he and a number of his colleagues were displaced as a result of a management re-organisation in the Sales and Marketing function. At this meeting the Company provided the consultation paper which confirmed that the long-standing People Process which your union fought so hard to achieve was being scrapped and that instead those affected would be “dealt with in accordance with the terms and conditions applicable to their grade”. Sadly this follows on the heels of another reorganisation where those clerical staff affected were treated in a similar manner.

TSSA’s priority is you-unlike the Company

We made it repeatedly clear to the Company in writing and in person that we were not happy with their latest strategy and sought urgent dialogue with them to both understand their rationale and seek to agree a common displacement process. We confirmed to them that their actions were breaking the law and that they were leaving themselves at risk of potential legal action.

Initially the Company denied our request and refused to clarify why they felt that their approach was appropriate. We believe that our members deserve more respect and support in these difficult situations which we ourselves endeavour to provide at all times. At a recent staff meeting one member reported that they appreciated TSSA more than ever and that without us they would feel completely isolated and unsupported.

So far the Company hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to show their care and concern for their staff quite the opposite in fact! TheDirectorof theDepartment Diane Burke forwarded the consultation paper saying that if anyone had questions or concerns they could ask her. She then disappeared to Mumbai leaving her staff completely in the lurch!

We think that this behaviour is unacceptable and very ironic for a Company which outwardly claims to value the respect and dignity of their staff and which places a lot of importance in their “Investors in People” award. The members that we speak to on an ongoing basis feel anything but! This latest threat is yet another example of the way the Company insists on treating their management staff as second class citizens!

At the ninth hour we finally received written confirmation from the Company that they had they had taken our feedback on board and intend to table a revised People Process.


Whilst we are very happy that the Company has finally seen sense we are understandably nervous about the forthcoming proposal and will be keen to ensure that what is agreed is fit for purpose and protects our members interests. We are conscious of the time that has been taken to seek a possible resolution to this issue so will fight to implement a permanent process going forwards.

In the meantime however we would like to request that all TSSA members take a couple of minutes to email the Head of Employee Relations Claire White at (copying me in at and ask her to agree with TSSA a permanent People Process. Even if your current role is not affected by this latest reorganisation you may be at risk in the future.

We do not feel that what our members are asking for is unreasonable, without a fair and transparent process the affected staff will find it very hard to make informed decisions about their careers especially if their role is relocated and they do not know how that will work in practice. The company runs the danger of this latest reorganisation deteriorating into chaos as the consultation will be bogged down by contractual discussions instead of negotiating the functional changes themselves.

This job will be made all the harder in light of the fact that the Company has failed to harmonise the management grade which has resulted in varying terms and conditions which could also lead to a number of individual employment tribunal claims.

We will of course continue to update you on any significant developments. In the meantime if you have an opinion or any concerns by the issues outlined in this circular please speak to your reps who will endeavour to advise you accordingly. Together we are stronger so if you are aware of any colleagues who are not in TSSA please show them this circular and encourage them to join online today at:

We have a number of reps vacancies so please also consider getting involved in the union by contacting the TSSA regional office. We will provide full training and support to get you up and running.

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