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TSSA Ballots DB Cargo After Industrial Relations Breakdown

27 March 2019

TSSA is to ballot all its members at major freight train outfit DB Cargo UK after a complete breakdown in industrial relations and concerns about the actions of German parent company - the State-owned Deutsche Bahn Cargo (DBC).

The union has won support from the SPD, part of the governing coalition in Germany, after TSSA’s paid organiser was banned from visiting our members across UK depots and locations.

TSSA has been fighting to secure union rights and recognition for DB Cargo employees who are in scope to be transferred to a new joint venture with Maritime Transport Limited (Maritime).

Sixteen jobs at Trafford Park and Wakefield Terminals are due to be transferred to Maritime from DBC on April 1st. Maritime is currently refusing to recognise our members’ rights to retain their union status.

TSSA has made it clear it’s preparing to take its case all the way to the German Federal Parliament - the Bundestag - and does so with support from the SPD.

Ralf Stegner, Deputy Chairman of the SPD, said of the dispute: “I am strictly opposed to workers in the UK being treated in this way by a publicly owned German company. As such, Deutsche Bahn bears a special responsibility towards the protection of labour rights.”

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “We will not stand idly by and let our members rights be stripped away by a union-busting company like Maritime.
“DB Cargo is acting in bad faith over this and we will not allow our members to be shoved around. I have written to chief executive, Hans-Georg Werner, explaining that we will now be balloting for industrial action.

“It’s really appalling to see our organiser banned from simply doing her job. This just shows DB Cargo know they are in the wrong and have lost the plot when they could and should have secured union recognition for all sixteen staff when entering into a partnership agreement with Maritime

“No one wants to see Britain’s freight network grind to a halt, especially in these uncertain times dominated by Brexit. However, this dispute raises just such a spectre.

“We are preparing to take our protest all the way to the Bundestag, working through our international affiliations to get support from German unions and MPs for our members. I am absolutely delighted that as a union affiliated to our Labour Party, our comrades in our German sister party, the SPD, are telling DB to do the right thing and allow our members their right to a collective union voice.

“Our members deserve to transfer with all their rights protected including the security of their union recognition, and DB Cargo should be striving to protect their staff, not just throw them to the wolves.

“We simply cannot open the door to operators like Maritime haulage, with its long history of anti-union practices. That would only represent a race to the bottom.”

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