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First Great Western: Management Divisional Council referendum ballot

10 April 2014

It is time for you to have your say on the Company’s continued refusal to improve your terms and conditions.

Background

The Management Divisional Council reps work very hard to listen to your issues and aspirations. Unfortunately recently the Company confirmed that there were several issues that they were not prepared to work with us to resolve. The reps decided to take positive action and confirmed that we considered ourselves to be in dispute. What followed was an avoidance of disputes meeting where the Company confirmed that they still refused to negotiate on these items which is why we are now seeking your views.

Issues

Bank Holiday Enhanced Payments

We think that it is unfair that managers who work Bank Holidays only receive a day off in lieu and argued that you should also get a pay uplift of 125% per hour for New Year’s Day. We discussed a counter-proposal whereby managers who work in functions where the grades reporting to them receive such an enhanced pay arrangement could achieve parity. However the Company refuses to entertain this proposal as they believe that “managers are not worse off”! However their own statistics demonstrate that every other grade receives enhanced pay!

Deputising Arrangements

We were very alarmed to learn that there are no arrangements in place to decide who and how some of you act as deputies for the management level above you. We also think that it is unfair that those of you who undertake this extra workload receive no additional remuneration! We regret to inform you that the Company has only agreed to formulate guidance on this matter and refuses to discuss the latter.

Customer Ambassadors

Despite your reps very strong feelings on this matter the Company contravened the Collective Bargaining machinery and unilaterally withdrew these posts from the clerical stations function and introduced them into the management grade. This decision displays a total lack of respect to both unions concerned and seriously affects our employee relations. The Company’s justification is “due to the level of responsibility and decision making empowerment associated with these roles”. We however can identify a number of other reasons and strongly believe that this decision will be to the detriment to both grades.

Since TSSA secured sole collective bargaining rights for the management grade we have argued tirelessly to review a number of unfair terms and conditions. This work has been slowed by the Company through their refusal to harmonise the grade. We clearly explained this position and confirmed that we were uncomfortable agreeing the “package” for these posts which included terms and conditions such as the flexibility allowance which we want to overhaul!

Our counter-proposal was to retain these roles in the station function as we firmly believe that these roles do not belong in the management grade. The influx of roles into the management grade has only served to water down its terms and conditions which has also resulted in a lack of incentive for all of our members to seek career progression.

A sign of things to come…

We were shocked to find out that the Company introduced a new Performance Management process without any form of consultation and we are very concerned that this may replace the annual living increase for our management members.

Of even more concern during a recent consultation meeting the Company threatened to renege on the agreed Peoples Process by stating that they wouldn’t rule out compulsory redundancies in the future.

Next steps

Enough is enough we have now exhausted the collective bargaining machinery and in light of the Company’s actions we now need your input. 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 18 April 2014. 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 4 April 2014 please contact the Helpdesk before the week ending 11 April 2014.

Your reps would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you in more detail so please feel free to contact them. Please note that in order to have your say we would urge all management colleagues to join TSSA and consider taking up a rep’s position. Please contact your existing reps and/or the TSSA regional office for more information.

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