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First Great Western: Spoiling for a fight!

3 July 2014

Pay 2014 pay referendum demonstrates overwhelming response to both reject this yearÂ’s offer and to take action if required.

Pay 2014

In order to speed previous protracted pay discussions TSSA conducted their initial pay survey and submitted the associated pay claim in record time. The Company on the other hand has done everything in their power to frustrate this process convening three separate meetings over a period of months where they repeated the same inadequate offer of 2.7%. Your reps provided feedback at each meeting that this offer was below your needs. At the last meeting the Company added insult to injury and attempted to “sell” some of your hard won terms and conditions in exchange for a pathetic 0.15%! We are disgusted that such a profitable and ruthless Company thinks that it is appropriate to try and sell your long held and hard fought for terms and conditions in exchange for an inferior pay rise!

We believe that the recent pay referendum shows that unlike the Company we have a finger on the collective pulse. Of those who voted 93% of you reject this year’s pay offer and 83% support industrial action. We provided the Company with these results on 19 June 2014 and requested an urgent meeting to discuss this which they have refused!

Threat to Terms and Conditions

We have been alarmed by other recent examples where the Company has sought to trample over important negotiated procedures which could have real and deep consequences for all of you. In an ongoing management reorganisation consultation in the Sales and Marketing department the Company decided to unilaterally remove the People Process- which has been in force since 2006! After a long battle the Company tabled a proposal for that reorganisation only which doesn’t even seek to protect the interests of the staff at heart. For example the Company won’t rule out compulsory redundancies and have blatantly made no attempts to mitigate this eventuality!

Another worrying development is the threat to the existing and established Head Office building in Swindon. The crux of the changes to the department is a wholesale relocation of those who are based in Swindon to Paddington. We acknowledge that since 2006 a number of you have incurred significant upheaval to your working locations and roles and think that this latest relocation is both unnecessary and unjustified. The Company has yet again demonstrated their total disregard for its staff and think that it is reasonable that the majority of them will have extended commutes to work seemingly unconcerned for the risks that this poses to their health, family and well-being! In addition the Company has decided to remove key revenue and in some instances award winning roles from the organisation which is completely nonsensical to us!

Threat to your reps

We have reported to you time and time again the disregard that the Company is currently displaying to your union seeking to do everything in its power to frustrate and delay our ability to collectively bargain on your behalf. In addition to the examples cited above we have attended a number of Avoidance of Disputes meetings where the Company has steadfastly refused to negotiate with us to resolve our differences. The Company exploits every chance to attempt to drive a wedge between TSSA and its members which in turn shows total disrespect for you! In this endeavour the Company will not hesitate to use any tactics at their disposal and have even tried to “encourage” some of our members to submit formal Bullying and Harassment claims against their local reps. We think that this is ironic to the extreme in that your reps were instrumental in shaping this policy based on your feedback!

Your reps have also been questioned on how representative that they are which we categorically refute as they spend a lot of time and effort to canvass you on a whole range of issues unlike the Company who seem to prefer hiding from their staff when their decisions negatively impact them!

What can you do?

Your union and your reps really need you now, you have categorically demonstrated your unity across the piece by refusing this year’s pay offer and we may need to call on your show of solidarity in real terms soon as the Company continues to ignore you! Please make every effort to speak to all of your colleagues about the current state of affairs and encourage them to join TSSA if they aren’t already a member (http://www.tssa.org.uk/join). Your reps will be canvassing you shortly on your views and we urge you to be honest with them about what you are prepared to do.

In the meantime please also consider what you can do to help increase the existing strength of the union and contact us if you are prepared to play a more active role for instance filling a vacant rep’s role.

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