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Scottish government should order Abellio to extend union rights in all its Scottish workplaces

5 October 2018

TSSA is calling on rail operating company Abellio to open up all its Scottish contact centres to union membership. "If not, the Scottish government should order them to do so," says TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

Cortes says Abellio is guilty of breaching workers’ rights by failure to have standardised union recognition across its Scottish sites. And he is vexed by the company running a public service, taking huge public subsidy but not doing enough to comply with the SNP's own public edict that encourages employers to allow their workforce to join unions in the interests of best industrial relations practice.

This week Abellio and TSSA have signed a union recognition agreement at the company's contact centre in Fort William following a staff led initiative there in which 16 of the centre's 24 staff joined TSSA.

But staff at Abellio's contact centres in Robertson Street and Culzean House in Glasgow still have no access to union representatives at work. And local managers are yet to reply to TSSA's request to be able to publicise the benefits of membership of our union to them in their workplace.

Said Cortes, "I want to congratulate workers in Fort William for joining our TSSA family. It is only through their strength and determination to belong to a union that we have won this important breakthrough in industrial relations. When 16 out of 24 staff join our union in one month, you know staff are feeling vulnerable at work and in need of representation.

"Abellio know this too, which is why it's a disgrace they are still shutting us out of both their sites in Glasgow. I put management there on notice that they are morally obliged to grant us recognition rights. And if they can find their moral compass, we will use all means at our disposal to force them to do the right thing for its workers.

"But despite the worker led breakthrough in Fort William, it seems Scotland's biggest subsidy junkie, Abellio, doesn't get or is simply ignoring the First Minister's memo about the Scottish Government valuing the work which trade unions do and wanting employers to work with them.

"Abellio's ScotRail contract sees billions of Scottish taxpayers pounds going their way. Is it a lot to ask of Abellio to abide by the wishes of their Scottish paymaster in chief, Nicola Sturgeon by allowing their staff their right to be represented by a union at the Glasgow sites? Frankly, if they don't, the Scottish Government ought to order them to do so.
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