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"More reasonable than reasonable"

27 March 2015

Network Rail are working hard to orchestrate an industrial dispute and force TSSA members into taking strike action over this yearÂ’s pay negotiations.

 See our latest newsletter online at http://bit.ly/morereasonable

After extensive talks with members, your reps unanimously agreed that we have to reject the company’s offer and seek further talks. For more information see http://bit.ly/0315NRreject. While your bosses have been spoiling for a fight, our General Secretary and reps are committed to being “more reasonable than reasonable” in seeking every opportunity to negotiate with the company while remaining committed to your right to decent pay and conditions.

Our 13 March letter seeking further talks is online at http://bit.ly/150313payletter. Our sister unions have accepted our invitation to work jointly: http://bit.ly/MCRMTUnite.

Major delays!

We first met management back in October, to present our members’ pay claims for Ops and Maintenance Bands 5-8 and equivalent. We sought assurances to address your job security, unpaid overtime and excessive hours and unfair restrictions on travel assistance. After committing to respond to your claims, the company took over two months before we met again in December. Management failed to respond to four out of five items of our claim. After telling us that you’ve contributed to a £1.035 billion profit, management threatened a pay freeze unless we agreed to cut your terms and conditions in exchange for between nothing and a miserly 2%. The “offer” was tied to accepting CPI for 2016-19. This would end your input into pay negotiations until CP6 with salary levels reducing by over 1% year on year compared to RPI (Office of Budgetary Responsibility). Once your reps explained that you couldn’t accept these cuts, management quickly took them off the table, andmade a “final offer” of freezing your pay at 2014 levels this year and capping it at RPI until 2019.

 

The truth about your bosses

New head of Network Operations, Phil Hufton, sent a letter to staff describing the cuts as “the best deal we can offer”, urging you to accept the freeze. Many members found this hard to accept from an employee who earns £47,000 more than his predecessor. Network Rail compares your salaries to public sector workers who faced pay freezes under a Tory austerity government, yet even David Cameron says workers should get decent pay rises this year! See http://bit.ly/0315NRposter for a translation of the letter.

Willing to talk, ready to fight!

We remain hopeful that Network Rail will come back to the negotiating table and see the sense of making you an improved offer. However, our strength as a union lies in being able to take industrial action if talks fail to result in improvements.

  • To ensure that we can win if the company insist on forcing us to take action rather than resolving this dispute through words, your colleagues need everyone to join a union and play a part. Visit www.tssa.org.uk/join to become a member
  • If you’re already a TSSA member, don’t forget you need to register and update your details at www.tssa.org.uk/mytssa. If we need to run a ballot or referendum we need accurate personal and work details to ensure anti-union laws can’t restrict your right to take action on your pay
  • Please share this newsletter with colleagues.

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