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Managers working hours: First Great Western refuses to share survey results!

26 January 2015

TSSA runs its own alternative survey.

First Great Western (FGW) is refusing to share the outcomes and data from a joint working hours survey conducted supposedly as a joint exercise with TSSA.

The survey was eventually agreed to by FGW following months of discussion with TSSA management reps after TSSA management members expressed concerns to those reps about excessive hours and workload, and the resultant stress.

Unsurprisingly, there is a suspicion that the survey has uncovered issues that the company does not want to have to address!

TSSA believes that most managers honestly engaged with this survey, were expecting to see the results, and were then expecting FGW and TSSA to jointly take steps to address those issues highlighted by the survey.

After months of trying to get FGW to share the survey results and engage with TSSA reps, the union now considers that it has no alternative but to conduct its own on-line survey in order to find out what FGW is trying to hide.

To take part in this survey go to:

TSSA management staff members are therefore asked to take part in this survey, and to urge manager colleagues not in TSSA to do likewise so that the union can get an accurate picture of the situation regarding workload and working hours issues.

TSSA management reps want to use the results to inform a discussion at the next meeting with company representatives on 5 February, so this means the survey will close on Wednesday 4 February 2015 at noon.

Why a survey?

TSSA reps are aware that a significant number of FGW managers regularly work in excess of their nominal contractual 37 hour week with very little or no additional recompense. They are also aware that this is clearly having an adverse impact on the wellbeing of managers, and is promoting an unhealthy culture within the workplace. So the reps were pleased that after much debate at Management Divisional Council, FGW acknowledged that there were issues and agreed to do a joint survey to establish the extent of the problems.

This initiative has been well received by managers. Our members were clearly very eager to complete and return the surveys as soon as possible. In order to ensure that the results would be treated confidentially it was agreed by TSSA and FGW that an independent body would be employed for the collation process and took it on trust (as agreed) that the results would be shared and discussed at the next appropriate Management Divisional Council on 9 October 2014.

Uncovering the facts about excessive hours and workload

Three months later FGW is still refusing to share the results, citing a string of excuses for not doing so. The company now says that it is not willing to share the results until it has had the time to ‘digest’ the responses and formulate an action plan. TSSA believes that if this was genuinely a joint survey, an action plan should be jointly formulated.

TSSA believes that once again, FGW is demonstrating that it is the company, not the union, that is frustrating the industrial relations process. TSSA has always sought to work collaboratively with employers with regard to health and safety, and the fact that the company is refusing to do so in respect of this matter speaks volumes about their attitude to health and safety, and occupational health in particular.

TSSA will now conduct its own survey in order to uncover the facts about excessive workload and hours. The survey is substantially the same as the so-called ‘joint’ survey.

TSSA appreciates that this means FGW managers having to spend time doing the survey all over again! However, unless this happens, the union will not have the ammunition necessary to tackle the problems that we all know are out there.

What can I do?

Don’t delay – take part in the survey today! Or failing that, make sure you do so by noon on Wednesday 4 February.

Do all you can to ensure that as many manager colleagues as possible complete the survey – regardless of whether or not they are TSSA members!

Keep yourself and colleagues up to date with current issues by circulating TSSA communications, and printing them and displaying on noticeboards. Check out the twitter account @TSSAunion and the Facebook page

Talk to your colleagues about the importance of being a member of TSSA if they are not not already - they can join at

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