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Guide to Collective Bargaining at Amey

6 July 2011

TSSA is seeking to extend collective bargaining rights to cover all our members at Amey. This simple guide explains what this means and how our members can support the claim.

 

What is Collective Bargaining?

Collective Bargaining, sometimes called “union recognition”, describes negotiations over terms and conditions of employment between a group of staff and their employer. This includes your basic pay, hours of work, holidays and other terms such as sick pay, additional paternity and maternity provisions and overtime rates.

Collective bargaining is distinguished by the fact that staff combine in a union to increase their bargaining / negotiating power rather than each individual seeking to negotiate in isolation.

Workers in many industries have sought to combine for protection and to achieve better terms and conditions of employment.

Employers also combine to increase their market share and profitability. Amey is a good example of a company who has merged with several others to take advantage of business synergies. Amey is now part of Ferrovial in order to share the benefits of being part of a larger organisation.

Some employers also affiliate to organisations such as the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Institute of Directors. These provide additional support to affiliate businesses and lobby government to promote their interests in a similar way to how unions and the TUC support workers.

How does Collective Bargaining work?

Collective bargaining works on the basis that no-one agrees to work for less than the collectively agreed minimum terms and conditions for that job or grade.

The appropriate levels of pay (and other benefits) are negotiated with the employer by your elected union representatives with support from paid officials. It is then up to union members to vote to decide if what has been negotiated is acceptable.

This approach has the advantage of being democratic, transparent and demonstrably fairer than having huge variation in pay between staff employed to do basically the same or similar work.

Perhaps more importantly, those who combine to negotiate their pay through a union, generally receive higher pay rises than those who do not.

What does Collective Bargaining mean at Amey?

The present situation at Amey is highly confused and disparate. Whether or not you receive the union negotiated increase or that imposed by the employer depends upon your contractual position. Many staff have transferred in from other employers; some with Collective Bargaining rights, some without, some where the situation is not clear.

You are all now employed by Amey, but you may be working next to someone who does a similar job to you but who is paid differently purely based upon who their previous employer was. Using the Examiners as an example, how can Amey justify giving two different pay rises to groups doing the exact same job, to the same level, and still maintain they adhere to their equality policy?

TSSA believes that a more sensible approach is to extend Collective Bargaining rights to all those working within the rail section of Amey’s business.

This would provide you with the benefits of effectively combining with your colleagues to achieve a fair pay rise and gives Amey a simple and straightforward method of dealing with pay.

Amey’s parent company, Ferrovial state that, “In every country where it operates, Ferrovial guarantees workers’ rights such as the right to strike, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining by appointed workers’ representatives and unions. Collective bargaining agreements currently govern the working conditions of 76% of employees.”

We believe that Amey should abide by this standard. Why ever would they not?

What if I am already covered by Collective Bargaining?

The extension of negotiating rights to the wider workforce has important advantages for all staff including those already benefiting from Collective Bargaining.

As long as some of those you work alongside are not allowed to be part of the collective voice, our negotiating position is weakened. With Collective Bargaining widened out staff can start talking with one voice and share equally in the outcome of negotiations.

If Amey ever decided to seek to harmonise contracts of employment, it would be a major disadvantage to staff if some contracts were subject to negotiation while some remained outside Collective Bargaining. It would make the task of preserving the best terms in all contracts extremely difficult as staff could be played off against each other.

Show your support for Collective Bargaining

If you feel that Collective Bargaining is the right thing for Amey staff, please show your support. The more people who demonstrate their support, the quicker we can persuade Amey to listen to your views.

By far the best way to show your support is to combine with your colleagues in your union – TSSA. Ask for a joining form from your local TSSA Rep, call our Recruitment Hotline on 0207 529 8018 or via the union website

“If you give me a percentage, I can feed my family for a day.....If I gain a voice, I can have a say in what percentage I get.”

Together in TSSA, we can achieve a fairer workplace.

  Guide to Collective Bargaining at Amey download as a pdf

 

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