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First Great Western - Further Advice for Management Grade Members re RMT Industrial Action

6 July 2015

Further to the advice posted to all TSSA members in FGW, TSSA is clarifying the advice to Management grade members.

Whilst we would not normally do this, we have been forced to take this step as a result of the threat of injunctive proceedings by First Great Western. Members will no doubt share our concern that First Great Western should seek to interfere with the communications between the union and its members with heavy handed threats of court action.

In our initial advice, we strongly urged members to carry out their normal duties and not to volunteer to work extended hours arising directly out of or in consequence of the dispute. We also told members not to act in breach of their contracts of employment and to carry out their normal duties.

For the avoidance of doubt, if your contract of employment says that you can be required to do additional duties as reasonably required of you by your manager with reference to your skills, qualifications and experience, then those are the normal duties which you should do. Members should check their contracts of employment on this point if they are unsure (either by reviewing their own copy or asking HR for a copy). We are told by First Great Western that there is a clause to this effect in the standard contract of employment between the company and management grades.

If your contract includes such a clause, however, you are required to do additional duties only if the request for you to do them is reasonable and in keeping with your skills, qualifications and experience. If you have any concerns about whether your manager’s request is a reasonable one, you should contact the TSSA Helpdesk on 0800 328 2673. This may include situations where you are concerned that the request for you to do additional duties will cause you fatigue so that you cannot work safely, or where you are concerned that you are not adequately trained or competent to do that additional work.

We reiterate that there is no obligation on you to volunteer to do any additional work during the period of the RMT industrial action because volunteering is something which you choose to do, not something which your manager can require you to do under your contract of employment.

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