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TSSA pursuing ‘serious concerns’

19 June 2017

With just over a week to go before the company intends to implement new working arrangements for many of its staff, TSSA reps still have serious concerns about the many unresolved issues relating to the new groundstaff roles, but also regarding company proposals for changing the terms and conditions of employment for all staff. There has also been no movement in resolving pay and other issues relating to terminal staff.

TSSA paid officials will be meeting with the company on Thursday 22 June in crisis talks to try to resolve the union’s concerns.

New contracts of employment, and new terms and conditions

TSSA is particularly concerned that the company is reportedly sending out new contracts to groundstaff and TS grades that have not been agreed with the union.
Individuals appointed to new groundstaff roles will clearly need to have contractual new terms and conditions. The proposals put to TSSA include changes that are unacceptable, and there seems to be a reluctance on the part of the company to negotiate on their proposals.

The company has also tabled proposals for changes to contractual terms for ALL staff, covering redundancy arrangements, sick pay entitlements, relocation arrangements and London Allowances. TSSA persuaded the company to drop its proposals to reduce redundancy entitlements, and is happy to accept its proposals for London Allowances. However, there are still major concerns about proposals to reduce sick pay entitlements.

Don’t sign new contracts!

TSSA has received reports that some managers have threatened members by stating that unless they sign new contracts of employment, they won’t be able to take up the new groundstaff positions that they have been appointed to. There are now justifiable concerns that the company is seeking to ‘go around’ the union and try to persuade individuals to sign new contracts of employment.
It is most important that groundstaff, TS and RO/RTS members covered by collective bargaining DO NOT SIGN A NEW CONTRACT. To do so will seriously undermine TSSA’s ability to negotiate an acceptable contract as well as undermining that individual’s personal contractual position.

If groundstaff members stick together and refuse to sign new contracts, the company will not be able to turn any threat of job loss into reality.

Advice to managers

Managers are not covered by collective bargaining. That means that the company must in essence negotiate any contractual changes with each individual. TSSA has already had to point out to the company that reps elected to represent managers as part of the redundancy consultations may not lawfully enter into agreements to collectively change contracts on behalf of managers as a body, a point the company has accepted.
Should any manager be presented with proposals for changes to their contracts of employment, they are advised that, before signing or agreeing to a new contract, they should seek guidance from the TSSA Helpdesk – email, or phone free on 0800 328 2673.

Groundstaff issues

Several very serious issues have been identified. The most serious is the fact that in one area a manager has apparently decided to completely ignore the agreed process for the allocation of groundstaff jobs, and has instead made appointments based upon his own personal views! Worse, his son has been appointed to a Operations Supervisor post despite the fact that the person concerned is not entitled to apply for the job!

This sort of what can only be described as corrupt malpractice is not acceptable to TSSA, it is unlawful, and failure to resolve this matter to the union’s satisfaction will result in a dispute.
Managers are in many cases also seeking to implement rosters which do not comply with the agreements reached about rostering. TSSA is issuing detailed guidance to groundstaff members regarding rostering, and is demanding that the agreements are strictly adhered to.

TSSA believes that the principal reason for the rosters being proposed by management is the fact that there will not be sufficient staff to cover the work. TSSA is willing to work with the company to overcome any staffing difficulties as it is not in the interests of our members for the new organisation to fail, but that will mean suitable financial rewards for staff agreeing to vary the agreed rostering principles.

Failure to reach agreement over rosters is also likely to result in a dispute.

There continues to be a lack of clarity about the definition of the new Hubs, and the staffing levels in each Hub.

The penny seems to have finally dropped that there will not be enough groundstaff! So now (with just days to go before implementation!) the company is proposing more ‘roving’ groundstaff posts. TSSA welcomes this, but wants to see these new posts properly consulted on with suitable terms and conditions to reflect the greater flexibility of these roles, and a fair selection process for appointments.
TSSA has also objected to groundstaff being forced to undertake terminal duties as this is outside of the agreed groundstaff duties.

It is now clear that there is little prospect of these issues being resolved before the proposed implementation date of the new working arrangements on 1 July, and TSSA is therefore continues to seek a commitment from the company to postpone the changes until these matters are resolved.

Securing the future of the business – but only by agreement!

TSSA also has serious concerns about the viability of the business going forward. Large numbers of staff, particularly managers and drivers, seem to be voting with their feet and resigning joining the many staff that are leaving under voluntary severance arrangements.

Urgent action will be necessary by the company to ensure that the business can actually function going forward. TSSA is adamant that this should not mean going outside of agreements already reached with the union about new working arrangements.

The union is prepared to work collaboratively with the company to take steps to secure the future, but those steps must be agreed, not unilaterally imposed.



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