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Translink: Letter to members re clerical grades' negotations

28 February 2012

Your clerical negotiation team and clerical representatives met in Belfast 21/02/2012 to consider the Translink wage proposals for 2011-2013, and associated terms and conditions.

After due consideration, diligence and debate, the outcome and recommendation was that members accept the 2011 pay component pay rise of 1.75%, and reengage in wage negotiations for 2012 and if viable 2013.

Please note we will also be requesting the company to pay to those members who fall under the criteria for a once off payment of £250:00 as mandated by the Minister, this must be paid immediately.

As part of the company proposals the company wanted changes in relation to Uniform, Sickness, Bank Holidays and Technology Developments & Flexibility. After close scrutiny of the proposals it was clear that what the company was proposing would have a detrimental effect for members. In light of this TSSA could therefore not recommend this part of the proposal from the company.

Please find below an explanation on the effect for members if proposals at present were accepted, also attached are the full proposals from the company and a spreadsheet explaining the financial implications under the proposed clauses.

Uniform

Your representatives have investigated the consequences of the removal of uniform allowances and other allowances in connection with this proposal. (Spreadsheet attachment) You will notice that there is a lost of money under this proposal, as to date there is no official dress policy in place or agreed with TSSA for a dress code and the personal cost of providing casual/business casual dress. Also you should note that there is also a knock on effect in the area of pensions in the region of £200:00 because of tax liabilities and tax exemptions annually.

Sickness group Plan

Your representatives considered the proposal to move from the present policy and current agreement is at best a flawed and inconsistent with current policy. If this proposal were to be agreed, it would have a profound and detrimental effect on members that may be unfortunate to fall ill for three (3) incidents/periods within a twelve-(12) month time span. Currently the statutory sick pay is £81.60 rising to £85.85 in April, with mortgages and other house expenses it would be unbelievably difficult to survive on this amount. It must also be pointed out that there is a current (Attendance Management policy) your representatives feel if this policy was adhered to and implemented correctly as per policy, there would be no need for such a proposal.

TSSA could not to agree to this proposal, as TSSA view attendance is an individual and personal matter. It was also stated that local management would have a final input into whether a illness was to be counted towards the quarterly average, this leaves the group plan open to a wide interpretation in all local departments and worksites.

Bank Holidays

Your representatives could not see the logic or a reason for the company forwarding this proposal. The clerical staff have always given total flexibility around Public and Bank holidays where required, given the reduction of staffing levels with many staff being uploaded with additional work, without seeking any form of compensation for this workload. TSSA are writing and seeking clarification on this proposal.

Technology Developments & Flexibility

  • Translink also recognises the demise of telephone communication as the primary means of contact with the Company
  • Therefore we require staff to embrace future developments in technology for Translink products and take on the relevant work associated with this. Such products will include the delivery of information and processing of ‘out of hours’ Cross Channel and Tours products, on line bookings, credit card transactions and the development of social media products and services across all Translink business areas.

In relation to the above your representatives cannot fathom these statements. It must be pointed out again the contact centre staff do embrace new technology on a daily basis and they like all other staff members are giving full flexibility within their workplace. Your representatives would urge you to look at the wording of this proposal, it leaves little, if any imagination, to see the direction of this proposal.

Finally the situation in the Northwest is still ongoing, TSSA, an array of interest and community groups including politicians from all political parties are mounting pressure to have the present proposals rolled back.
Questions are now been tabled by politicians on “where are the next cuts in staff and opening hours of local stations, will take place”.

TSSA request members to stand back and look at the overall situation. TSSA asked the company whether these cut backs in the Northwest are “Cost cutting exercise” the company replied in the negative and responded by stating “this is a restructure program”, which in essence means that this so called “restructure program” will also be rolled out to other areas.

TSSA will now write to the company outlining our response to the company proposals, and it will be quite clear that we prepared to reengage in wage negotiations for 2012, and if viable 2013, it is at this time members should look at the long term effect on agreeing to proposals that will have detrimental effect on long term job and pension security.
 

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