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First Great Western: Managers being balloted for Industrial Action

20 July 2015

A ballot paper asking you to vote on industrial action has been sent to you. You are urged to vote, and vote YES!

TSSA has taken the step of balloting you for industrial action short of strike action as a last resort. FGW has failed to reverse its decision to terminate the collective bargaining agreement for managers, taking away the right of FGW managers to be collectively represented by a trade union.

And now it has stooped to threatening to use anti-trade union laws against TSSA, and has refused to give the union assurances that managers will not be forced to cover the duties of RMT members taking industrial action and other duties that they do not normally perform. TSSA is particularly concerned about those managers that have been put under intolerable pressure to force them to train for and undertake duties they don't normally perform.

Many managers are working well in excess of their contracted hours in order to carry out their normal duties, and are often working from home or checking email and phones in their own time. Some are not taking all of their leave entitlement, and many don't take proper rest breaks at work. Most managers are committed professionals and are happy to do so. However, there are clearly problems of managers suffering excessive stress.

But First Great Western now wants its managers to take on the jobs of other staff as well as their own, exacerbating these problems and further degrading the work/life balance of managers. Managers are surely entitled to a decent personal and home life!

Some managers object to the company forcing them to cover the duties of striking colleagues. They know the difficulties that they will have in rebuilding relationships with those colleagues after the RMT dispute is over, and that will just add to their stress.

The company seems intent on working its managers into the ground and having taken away the right of managers to be collectively represented by TSSA, there is no effective avenue for their issues to be discussed and dealt with.

Managers must say clearly that enough is enough. It is time to say NO to bullying, and NO to the abuse by the company of their goodwill and professionalism, and YES to industrial action!

By voting YES, managers will put themselves in a position where they can act together to refuse to undertake duties that they do not normally perform. It must be stressed that TSSA is not asking managers to take strike action, or indeed any other action.

If you have not received your ballot paper, please make contact with the TSSA Helpdesk by email at helpdesk@tssa.org.uk or telephone 0800 328 2673.

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