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First Great Western: the campaign for trade union rights begins!

24 November 2014

First Great Western (FGW) members will now be aware that the Managing Director and HR Director of FGW have advised TSSA that from next May, they intend to terminate the recognition agreement that is currently in place between the union and the company covering staff in the Management grade.

This and other recent developments have led TSSA and its FGW staff reps to believe that FGW has embarked upon a deliberate course of action designed to undermine the trade unions that represent the company’s staff, the bargaining agreements the employer has with those unions, and the ability of the staff through their elected reps to challenge and question the decisions of senior management.

The General Secretaries of both RMT and ASLEF have already pledged their support for TSSA. They have both written to Managing Director Mark Hopwood objecting to the company’s unwarranted attack on trade unionism.

TSSA and the FGW staff reps have agreed a campaign strategy to resist the company’s attempts to undermine the rights of FGW staff to have an independent trade union voice within First Great Western.

The campaign for trade union rights in FGW begins with a request to TSSA members, other employees of FGW, and supporters to send an email message to FGW’s Managing Director and also to HR Director Sharon Johnston protesting at this unwarranted decision, and asking that they reverse their decision to derecognise TSSA for managers.

A suggested form of words is shown below, which TSSA asks FGW staff to copy and paste into a fresh email message, and then send as soon as possible to both mark.hopwood@firstgroup.com and sharon.johnston@firstgroup.com. FGW members are asked to speak to colleagues in membership of other trade unions urging them to follow the lead of their unions' General Secretaries and do likewise.

FGW employees are strongly advised to send this email message using their personal email accounts so as to avoid any allegations by FGW about misusing the company email facilities.

It will be very much appreciated if any responses received to this email message are forwarded to TSSA Regional Organiser Natalie Feeley at feeleyn@tssa.org.uk.

The suggested email message is as follows:

Mark/Sharon

Trade union rights in First Great Western

I write to protest at your unwarranted decision to give notice to terminate the recognition agreement that is currently in place between TSSA and FGW covering staff in the Management grade.

I strongly believe that all staff including the managers should have the right to have an independent trade union voice within First Great Western.

I therefore ask that you reconsider and reverse your decision to derecognise TSSA for your managers."

Social media will be employed to support the campaign and keep everyone informed. A facebook page has been created at https://www.facebook.com/TSSAGreatWestern - members and supporters are urged to 'like' this page. Also, a twitter account has been created which has the username @TSSAFGW - members and supporters are asked to 'follow'.

Members are asked to do all they can to improve the TSSA’s ability to influence events going forward by urging those FGW managers not in membership of TSSA to join the union – they can do so on-line at http://www.tssa.org.uk/en/join-us/index.cfm

TSSA will be asking members and supporters to take further actions as the campaign unfolds.

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