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Virgin Trains West Coast: 2016 Pay Update

29 June 2016

Discussions have been taking place with VTWC on the 2016 pay claim, but progress to date has been very slow. The Company responded to comprehensive pay and conditions claims submitted by all unions with a simple "no strings" opening offer of 1.4%, just 0.1% above the rate of inflation. They also stated they did not wish to consider anything other than basic pay in the course of the discussions. This offer was roundly rejected by all unions, and the Company agreed to consider their position and arrange a further meeting. This meeting took place last week, and although some progress has been made, the offer still falls short of our expectations.

The Company began the meeting by making a revised offer of either a single year settlement of a 1.6% increase, or a two-year settlement of a 1.8% increase in year one and a RPI increase in year two. This was again rejected by all unions, and we took the opportunity to list many other offers and settlements elsewhere in the industry which were above this. After a 20 minute adjournment, the Company made a further revised offer of either a single year settlement of a 1.8% increase, or a two-year settlement of a 2% increase in year one and a RPI increase in year two. This offer was again rejected by all unions as it falls below other comparable offers in the industry, is woefully inadequate in respect of the second year being RPI only, and that the Company’s refusal to consider other pay-related improvements such as increasing annual leave or reducing the working week removes any flexibility from our discussions. After a further 15 minute adjournment the Company agreed to consider these points and arrange the next meeting for the end of July.

It’s difficult to explain why the Company is taking this approach, other than assuming they are being very careful in the run up to the re-franchising exercise. A number of other employers have been keen to resolve pay as quickly as possible this year, with at least one making an opening offer of 2% in the first meeting! Virgin’s approach couldn’t be more different, and it’s high time they recognised the significant contribution of their staff by making a fair offer so we can all move on and deal with the many challenges ahead. We will of course keep you updated of any developments.

If you require any further information on the contents of this article, please contact your staff reps in the first instance. Please also discuss the contents of this article with your colleagues, and encourage any non-members to join. The more members we have, the stronger we are. Membership application forms can be obtained from your TSSA reps or you can join on-line here.

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