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Volker Rail: Pay 2011 Update

8 July 2011

Your TSSA representatives met again with your employer to discuss a number of items, not least the outstanding pay claim for 2011.

First of all I would like to take the opportunity to thank those members that returned the recent referendum on pay. We had a good response and it was quite clear that you were not willing, at this stage, to accept the company's position that there would be no pay rise again this year.

The findings of the referendum were made clear to your employer. 100% of returned votes were to reject. This gave your representatives a clear message that our members at Volker Rail wanted to continue to try and negotiate a pay rise for 2011.

Despite pointing out to Volker Rail that our members were not willing to go another year without a pay rise, your employer was adamant that there would still be no pay increase. Again they acknowledged that this would be an issue and would be something that would need to be addressed at next year's talks. Picking up on this we asked if we could at least be given a guarantee of what the minimum % increase would be for 2012. Your employer was not prepared to give any figures for 2012.

We then explored a number of alternative options, such as a reduction to your working week. Again the company were not willing to move on this, unless it came with a reduction in salary. Clearly this would be unacceptable to our members. Despite every effort of your reps to negotiate a deal, the company have refused to move one inch.

Where are we now?

So, where does that leave us now? First of all a few facts:

  • This will be the second year you have not received a cost of living increase. - With the ever increasing cost of living, increases to Income Tax and National Insurance etc, the lack of pay increase actually decreases the net worth of your salary.
  • Despite the company winning new work and seeing an improvement to their profit margins, they still tell us that times are difficult and that they are balancing on a knife edge.
  • The company say they acknowledge that pay will need to be addressed next year - All we can say is that if the lack of a pay increase in 2010 and 2011 is to be addressed in 2012, it would have to be a substantial increase to compensate for the shortfall of previous years
  • Our sister unions the RMT, and the GMB have both accepted a zero% pay rise, with the only improvements gained been an increase to the loyalty bonus of £100 and £150, respectively.

As you can see from the above, this leaves us in a difficult situation. Do we sit back and accept the company’s stance that there will be no pay rise this year? Is it enough to say that it will be dealt with next year? Or is enough, enough?

This is about your pay and your standard of living. It’s time to make your voices heard. We are asking all members to let us know how strongly they feel about this issue. The form that has been circulated is asking if you wish to be balloted for industrial action over your pay. It is not, at this stage, asking what action - if any - you are willing to take, just if you would want to be balloted should the need arise. Please complete the form and return to us using the Freepost facility no later than last post on Monday 25th of July 2011.

It is important that all TSSA members take part in this ballot. Please ask your colleagues if they are members and make sure they have received a copy of this circular – if they haven’t they must contact either their rep or the TSSA Helpdesk (0800 328 2673) to update their details as soon as possible.

Workplace contacts

We are also looking for TSSA members to act as workplace contacts throughout the company. As a workplace contact you will be assisting the full time officials and the elected reps in communicating with all members, making us aware of any issues in your workplace and helping us to more effectively represent our members and making sure that every voice is heard.

If you are interested in becoming a workplace contact please fill in your details using the form that has been circulated.

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