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Industrial action & Berlin protest looms over dispute in UK rail freight sector

3 July 2017

TSSA officials will meet with bosses of rail freight company DB Cargo today (Monday) morning in a last bid to resolve a dispute over the company’s compulsory redundancy strategy and imposition of new, non-negotiated contracts on remaining staff.

TSSA is warning members not to sign any new contract of employment offered to them by DB from today, as they will be agreeing to downgrade their terms and conditions and help DB with it’s efforts to union-bust.

TSSA will escalate both legal and industrial action if the company does not now guarantee staff’s current rights to redundancy, sickness, absence and London weighting protections.

We will also demand that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel intervene to ensure British workers are afforded their rights and not treated less favourably by DB, the German government’s wholly-owned rail company, than their German counterparts.

Earlier this year, DB announced proposals to axe nearly 1,000 UK jobs - a third of which targeted TSSA members. TSSA has been working to minimise the devastating effects of such a huge programme of job losses.

Said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes,

”Negotiations with DB have been ongoing since the Spring when they first announced their drastic job loss programme. The negotiations have been made difficult because, frankly good, experienced managers with sound knowledge of the business have taken voluntary settlements and left the company.

“But there is also an ideological move afoot by DB’s senior bosses to try and bust the rail unions operating in their sector which has led to sneaky, bad faith negotiations with our reps fighting to protect our members and to maintain  the future of the rail freight sector in Britain itself.

“But our patience has run out. The company’s threat to impose new contracts on our members from today is the final straw. We are warning all staff - not just our members - not to sign any contract as you will be signing up to a contract that removes all your rights - including, we fear, your right to have our union representing your interests.

“The talks today are being held in Doncaster. If DB again fail to offer workers their basic rights, we have our lawyers ready to escalate the legal case against DB and we will ballot for industrial action, including strike action.

“And if we have to, we will take our protest to the Bundestag in Berlin and demand Angela Merkel's government allow British rail freight workers to retain the same rights as their German counterparts."

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