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From redundancies to recognition - TSSA stand up for Amey Rail staff

1 November 2011

News of the massive turnaround in fortunes for staff at Amey Rail

Amey loco

RE-ORGANISATION AND REDUNDANCIES last year sowed the seeds for a remarkable fight back by TSSA members at Amey Rail. One year on and we are on the verge of signing a new recognition agreement that will mean over 500 workers regaining the right to negotiate their terms and conditions via the Union.

“The key to our success was bringing together reps from across Amey, identifying our weaknesses and developing a plan to build our strength”, says Senior Regional Organiser, Alan Valentine. “Without the hard work of our Reps, nothing would have changed.”

The first steps were providing bespoke training for reps in how to organise our members to resist Amey’s cuts. The TSSA’s Learning and Organising teams were able to support Reps to build genuine power in the workplace.

“We needed to improve communications between the reps and with members”, says Rep Colin Savage. “We used online surveys to ask our members and other staff what they wanted TSSA to achieve, then reported back on progress through regular emails, text messaging and started to issue a newsletter.”

When Amey stalled on pay talks, then imposed a lower rise on those who were not in collective bargaining, the anger was palpable. People were asking, “What is TSSA doing about it?”

As negotiations broke down, Amey made it clear that they did not believe we had the support for a fight back. They were wrong. TSSA members voted for and took industrial action to achieve a decent pay rise and collective bargaining for all – creating a level playing field.

After weeks of action and ACAS negotiations, Amey members have achieved what no-one but they thought was possible. The Company increased their pay offer, settled long-standing issues and agreed a mechanism to widen out collective bargaining, including union access to workers and a neutrality clause.

Our membership at Amey is growing every day. Confidence is increasing amongst staff and we now have several new reps including the first ever Union Learning Rep at Amey. “It just goes to show that it is still possible to make progress, even in this age of cuts. It’s all about bringing people together to gain a voice”, says Senior Organsier Luke Chester. “When I think where we were only 12 months ago, it is credit to all our reps and members to see how far we have come.”

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