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Virgin values versus TSSA values: Respect Our Rights!

25 June 2012

Our concerns regarding the victimisation of TSSA Rep Martin Hodges. Pledge your support.

TSSA paid organisers met with Virgin Trains last Thursday in an ‘avoidance of disputes’ meeting to discuss the victimisation of TSSA Rep Martin Hodges, and to outline our concerns regarding the use of summary dismissals and the alarming increase in dismissals relating to minor conduct issues. TSSA believes that these actions are contrary to Virgin’s publicly vaunted ‘values’.

Virgin’s management made it clear that they did not view there to be a problem with Virgin’s use of summary dismissals. They also refused to provide any assurances to adhere to their own procedures in the future and refused to reinstate Martin Hodges to his job. Given their intransigence, TSSA has formally notified the company of our intention to ballot for industrial action in order to defend our rep, and to defend all of our reps and members against any future summary dismissal.

Why are we balloting for industrial action?

In January 2012 TSSA Company Council rep Martin Hodges was summarily dismissed by Virgin Trains with no notice or any substantial reason. Martin was refused either a Union Rep or colleague to be present and was just sent home. This falls outside of Virgin’s own procedures, their professed ‘values’, and the most basic understanding of employment law.

TSSA demanded that Martin be reinstated, but having done so, Virgin Trains immediately suspended him pending an investigation that they should have carried out in the first place.

Six months later Martin is still on suspension and no allegations have been forthcoming. Staff should not have to work in fear that they will be sacked at any minute without reason or notice. We are simply asking Virgin Trains to abide by the law.

TSSA believe the Martins case is only the tip of the iceberg. It is now common practice for this sort of behaviour within Virgin Trains, practices which contradict their own procedures and their professed ‘values’.

Respect Our Rights

TSSA has not taken lightly the decision to ballot for industrial action. However give the actions of the company, we cannot stand by and allow Virgin to trample over our reps’ and members’ rights, and ignore their own agreed procedures.

If the union and its members stand by and allow Virgin’s behaviour to continue then who is next in the firing line? Will other employers follow suit? An injury to one is an injury to all. We must fight back now!

Ballots will be sent out on Friday by Electoral Reform Services and should arrive on your doorstep soon after. I would encourage you to return your ballot paper as quickly as possible. Please also encourage your colleagues to do the same. By voting YES to industrial action you will be sending a strong message to the company that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.


Public Meeting

A public meeting to discuss the dispute will be taking place on:

Friday 29 June 2012 at 19:00
The Island Bar, 14 – 16 Suffolk St, Birmingham, B1 1LT

Speakers include TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes.
Please make every effort to attend the meeting and show your support for this action.

Pledge your support

The whole of TSSA is mobilising in support of the union’s campaign for justice at Virgin. Pledge your support: email:

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