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CEFA Contract changes: protecting jobs and the public

9 September 2020

Ongoing discussions are taking place between TSSA, Network Rail and Amey relating to the transfer of staff when the CEFA, OPI and Earthworks contracts come to an end next spring.

Download a pdf circular here   CEFA Contract changes: protecting jobs and the public or view online via

As the only recognised union for these staff, TSSA is working to protect members’ jobs and terms and conditions, as well as the safety of the public, while Network Rail seem willing to stop at nothing to break Amey’s monopoly and Amey are competing to win the most lucrative contracts. Our reps are continuing to meet with Amey and Network Rail to challenge fragmentation proposals and protect jobs.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), or TUPE, regulations, are designed to protect workers in the event of a business transfer, or a service provision change, when contracts are awarded from one employer to another. If the regulations are breached, representatives of a recognised union can bring claims to the Employment Tribunal so that a Judge can determine whether the regulations apply, whether they were not adhered to, and whether affected staff are entitled to compensation. However, some transfers of undertakings between employers can take place in such a way that the TUPE regulations are not applicable. In these cases, despite all the will in the world, a Tribunal Judge will have no jurisdiction to protect members’ terms and conditions as if the regulations did apply.

During Control Period 5 (CP5), Amey and Network Rail negotiated to extend the CEFA, OPI and Earthworks contract by one year in Wales, and two years in all other regions. Network Rail decided to split the Wales CEFA contract into multiple asset-specific contracts earlier this year, frustrating the TUPE regulations and threatening members’ livelihoods. TSSA were successful in persuading Amey to retain at-risk staff in Wales, rather than transfer them to new employers with the risk that they would not have any protections under TUPE and face dismissal or cuts to pay and conditions.

Wishful thinking does not protect jobs. Recognised unions do!

Following meetings between TSSA Organising Director and the Network Rail Commercial Directors, Network Rail’s Sourcing Director has written to our General Secretary to set out their aspirations for a new world where the contracts are fragmented in multiple variations but the TUPE regulations would somehow apply consistently to all affected staff. We will ensure that our reps and members are consulted on how the new contracts would operate and on processes to ensure that where possible, staff can follow their work and benefit from the TUPE protections. This is not possible without clarity on how the work will be allocated.

See the Network Rail letter here:

A diagram of the strategy for awarding contracts in each region is available here:

Our members protect the public, the infrastructure and all who work on it!

Highly trained structures examiners and surveyors regularly examine and report on the condition of structures and earthworks so that decisions can be made about the maintenance required to keep the travelling public and those who work on the infrastructure safe. Members will be concerned that further fragmentation risks losing competent staff and increases the likelihood of catastrophe if deteriorating structures are not properly examined.

The Rail Regulator’s annual report, published in July, sets out the importance of effective monitoring and risk management:

“Network Rail’s management of its civil engineering assets (“Civils”) portfolio is a priority for us because of the number and age of the assets, and their significance as precursors to catastrophic risk should they fail…These assets, particularly earthworks, are susceptible to failure in extreme weather.”


Protecting staff by all means necessary!

As the recognised union, TUPE gives our reps the legal right to be properly consulted by Amey and potential employers before any transfer takes place. We will take all steps necessary to ensure that members have a voice in this process. We will use our legal and industrial resources as necessary to protect our members rights, including asking members to participate in industrial action as a last resort if reasonable steps are not taken by your employer to maximise job security and protection of pay and conditions.

What can I do?

Now is the time for Amey Consulting staff to join TSSA, the only recognised union for Consulting staff in Bands A-C. While we are working to prevent a disastrous worse-case scenario, if the transfers do take place we need to ensure that those who are directly impacted continue to be represented under the new employers, and that those left behind still have a strong union




For information on Amey TSSA Reps and news, visit

Get involved!

We have vacancies for TSSA Reps at all levels. If you are interested in playing a more active role to give practical support to your colleagues, contact to find out about nominations, training and support for our Union Representatives.

In these testing times, please look out for your colleagues’ wellbeing. Help remind your teammates that they can join our union and benefit from guidance and support.

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