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Industrial action called off after DB Cargo UK agree to TSSA proposals

6 July 2017

TSSA has stepped back from threatened industrial action at DB Cargo UK after the company withdrew unacceptable flexibility clauses in new contracts of employment for staff. The company also agreed to employ more staff, and guarantee existing sick pay and ill-health arrangements.

Talks which began on Monday have now adjourned. TSSA has given the company 12 weeks to introduce a new action plan to address serious staffing gaps and rostering problems created by the cull of nearly 1000 jobs earlier this year.

Around twenty new jobs will be created to help alleviate staffing pressures which will avoid some staff being forced into redundancy, and TSSA has also secured DB's agreement to protect staffs' current rights to redundancy, sickness absence, and ill health severance and retirement arrangements.

The company has also undertaken not to ask staff to sign new contracts.

Said TSSA Organising Director Steve Coe who has been leading negotiations,

"TSSA has secured guarantees from DB that will ensure all current and future employees maintain decent standards of employment protection rights going forward, and their right to belong to a union and have their rights to collective bargaining upheld.

"But we are far from satisfied. As we warned during the consultation talks the jobs cull at DB Cargo UK went too far and now there aren't enough staff to cover the workload, which is why the agreed principles of rostering staff will not work. We have been reasonable, and have given DB Cargo 12 weeks to sort the staffing and rosters out. If they don't, we may be back to a dispute situation.

"TSSA policy is to get freight onto rail. It takes lorries off our congested roads, and is therefore better for the environment and better for the economy. We are therefore keen to help keep Britain's rail freight open for business. But we have real concerns about the strategy being pursued by DB Cargo UK, a German government-owned company that it is operating its business in the UK to a tune being called by Angela Merkel in Berlin.

"We have given DB Cargo UK 12 weeks to find realistic and workable solutions to the problems their current strategy is bringing to the British arm of their business. But the best long-term solution would of course be for the British government to take back control of rail freight from the German government and run it under British public ownership so it could serve the needs of Britain, not Germany."

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