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Southern: Future GTR Franchise for HQ and Support Employees Integration

13 February 2015

TSSA has met Southern Railway and Govia Thameslink Railway, where they communicated the principles behind the mergers of management and admin support grades.

As this is also linked to a TUPE transfer the companies are legally obliged to and have requested employees to volunteer to represent the management and admin employees through the consultation process.

This group compromise of six lead reps and over forty local representatives nominated from those grades. Those nominated to engage in this process are from a wide range of the various departments in the two companies.

The merger of the two headquarters will not occur until after the TUPE transfer, however the company estimate there will be an elimination of an estimated 150 jobs from the two existing organisations. As you can imagine the TSSA has great concerns over this, however the employers emphasised that they hope to achieve this reduction through voluntary redundancy which they believe will be achievable.

The TSSA sought assurance that when the local consultations occur on specific departments that the consultations will be meaningful. Also we sought assurance that if the representatives identify a shortage of people to encompass the work that a serious consideration will be given to increasing the proposed establishment levels. At present no detail was available of the proposed local consultations and thus the effect of the changes. The local consultations will not occur until March.

At this meeting TSSA discussed the principles of the consultations. Whilst the employers accepted that this proposal is going to cause great concern to the members in these grades, they assured the meeting that they will look to identify individuals into the new organisation and where applicable if there is no change to a section they will place that section and all its employees into the new organisation (referred to as shift and lift).

Another concern for the TSSA is that those appointed to the new roles will be asked to sign a new GTR contract. The TSSA also raised concerns over the selection procedures and requested that we discuss this matter further, emphasising that there needs to be consistency throughout the process.

The voluntary redundancy scheme for those who have statutory redundancy in their contracts of employment will be the statutory redundancy calculator but using a person’s gross weekly wage, those with a more favourable contractual redundancy terms in their contract of employment would get their contractual redundancy (for example Red Book).

Requests for interest in voluntary redundancy will go out in the next two weeks. Please note any show of interest is not a firm commitment from either party, and does not obligate either party.

There will be concerns for employees over new locations of various departments in the new organisation, and although there is no intent to move employees for the sake of it, there are some locations where there will be a substantial change. This will be discussed as part of the local consultations. TSSA reminded GTR management that we believe that there are travelling time parameters that we expect them to within the boundaries of reasonableness. TSSA also reminded GTR of the existing parameters the industry has used over the years. Each individual will have their own specific time factors and this should be calculated on the difference of them leaving their front door at home and arriving at the existing work location compared to leaving their front door at home and arriving at the new work location.

TSSA recognise that this time will be of great concern and worry to individuals and TSSA assures our members that we are here to support our members and the nominated reps as a part of this reorganisation

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