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Northern: Termination of Franchise Update

5 February 2020

On 29 January 2020, the government announced that the Arriva Rail North franchise (trading as "Northern") would be terminated, and the operation transferred to Northern Trains Ltd, a publicly owned company that is a subsidiary of DfT OLR Holdings Ltd. TSSA reps received a document setting out the details of the proposed transfer, and met with the current Northern management and representatives of the new operator on Monday 3 February 2020 in Leeds.

The meeting took the form of a presentation by Northern and the new operator detailing how the transfer of staff from the existing employer to the new employer will take place, and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Despite rumours, the DfT has confirmed that at this stage the company will not be split into two. However, the Williams Report due to be published shortly is likely to result in significant change across the industry, and Northern will inevitably see change as a result.

Key Points

• the transfer will take place on 1 March 2020 at 0200;
• the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) will apply
• all existing Northern employees will transfer to the new company;
• all employees will remain in the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS);
• there will be no changes to pay dates and arrangements;
• current uniforms will be retained for the immediate future;
• travel benefits with other Arriva operators will be withdrawn;
• Arriva Village benefits will be withdrawn;
• there will be a ‘100-Day Review’ once the new employer takes over, which will assess resource levels in critical operational areas and look at the leadership within the organisation;
• the new employer will be seeking a reciprocal travel arrangement for staff with LNER, also in public ownership;
• the service agreement between the new operator and the DfT will be different to that currently in place;
• recent retirees will continue to enjoy travel facilities as now until the originally proposed end date of the Northern franchise;
• the status of currently displaced managers will not change;
• annual pay negotiations will go ahead as normal.

The employer will publish a series of newsletters in order to keep staff appraised of developments. There will also be a number of management briefing sessions across the company.
Please be assured that TSSA will also keep members up to date with any developments.

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