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TSSA challenges Network Rail to protect jobs

12 November 2020

Over the past two days, our Union's National Management Council Representatives have been locked in talks with the Company to ensure that our members displaced through PPF and other reorganisations are allowed fair access to vacant positions.

 Network Rail’s imposition of a recruitment freeze restricts the redeployment of our members displaced through organisational change.

The business is failing to utilise the Redeployment Policy as it was designed – to allow displaced individuals to access suitable alternative roles across the company.

Instead, they have allowed Regions and Functions to create artificial boundaries between themselves whereby people displaced in one area are being denied the opportunity to use their skills in another part of the business.

The freeze or “pause” in recruitment is being used as the vehicle to obstruct the redeployment of our members – even when their skills and experience are desperately needed and their prospective line managers want to employ them.

We have also raised significant concerns over the unilateral extension of the time limits on secondments and the way in which some secondments are being used to further restrict redeployment opportunities.

Secondments can be a great way to gain experience and develop your career, when used appropriately. We do not accept that secondments should be used as a cheap alternative to permanently filling roles or to prevent displaced members from accessing suitable alternative employment.

The increased use of external agency and consultants to back-fill vacant positions is a major issue too. If displaced permanent employees are being denied redeployment opportunities, how can it be right that agency or contractors are being used in the self-same jobs?

Meanwhile, our Union’s Health, Safety & Welfare Reps are pressing the business to demonstrate that the freeze on jobs does not jeopardise the safe running of the railway. We have questioned whether a shortfall of some 5000 jobs is sustainable and consistent with an on-time and safe rail operation?

Network Rail’s actions are unlawful, immoral, and unsound from a business perspective. There are some very senior leaders within HR and the business that may need to take a long hard look at themselves.

However, thanks to the tenacity and skill of our Union’s Representatives, negotiations are making progress and we are confident that reason will prevail.

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