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GWR: Secondments terminated early

30 July 2020

TSSA has been made aware that in recent months members who have been on an agreed secondment or temporary post within the company for a predefined period of time have had these terminated early by GWR. This circular is to make members aware of their potential rights and to critically consider whether to accept what they have been advised by the company.

Secondments and temporary posts

Secondments are where a colleague fills a role for a temporary period which is not an established post i.e. for a project or for example one of the Digital Ambassador posts that were offered out recently.

Temporary posts are those of an established post(s) that are avaibale for a temporary period i.e. due to a maternity cover or to cover a colleague who has left their substantive role temporarily to fill a secondment. Quiet often people refer to both as secondments but there is a slight difference.

There is an existing GWR procedure in place that TSSA was consulted on that covers these posts called “ Arrangements for secondments and Temporary advertised posts”. We would advise anyone considering taking on a secodment or temporary advertised post to read this.

Logically, because both these types of posts will be for defined periods of time which are relatively short (normally between 3 and 12 months) there isn’t a need to have any reference in the procedure or contracts for them to be ended early. Indeed in the procedure it only makes reference to the individual being able to approach the company to end these early not the other way around.

Advice to members

Whilst we understand we are in unprecendeted times during the pandenmic we can understand why GWR may have wanted to end secondments and/or temporay posts early they have not sought to collectively negotiate or consult any changes with TSSA that we are aware of. Therefore individuals who have had one of these posts ended early should refer to the contract, that they should have signed on taking up the role and also the appointment letter and procedure to see if makes any reference to the company being able to end it early. From the information we have seen this is not the case and therefore in situations where individuals will loose additional pay as a result there may be a contractual breach and the potential for the GWR to be making unlawful decuditons from wages.

Therefore to protect individuals interests they should consider using their statutory right to raise a grievance for the loss of development and wages that may result in one of these posts being ended early.

We would recommend individuals speaking to their local rep, the TSSA helpdesk (click here for email address) or the relevant organiser Alan Valentine (click here for email address), to discuss the best way to proceed but it would be wise for affected individuals to act as soon as possible to protect their interests.

We have a varierty of reps vacancies over the whole company whether it be Industrial reps who represent members on individual and collective matters, health & safety reps who have been working tirelsyl over the pandemic and vbefore to ensure you and your colleagues are safe at work or union leanring reps who work with th eocmpnay to ensure you are supported with your development. If you are interested in one of these roles In GWR then please contact Alan Valentine on

I would also like to thank all of the TSSA reps in GWR for their efforts especially over the last few months and I hope that you will join me in expressing that thanks to them when you next see or speak to them, in a responsible and socially distanced manner.


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