Rising costs are affecting all of us, so we have pushed to reach a deal in good time.
Since our last newsletter, Amey responded positively and promptly to our 5 May demand for further negotiations. After a long delay, the company invited your reps to meet on 20 June. In the meantime, RPI inflation has continued to soar from 7.8% at the time of your 1 March pay anniversary, to 11.7%. In effect, this means that every pound going into your bank account since last year's wage increase is worth less than eighty nine pence today. TSSA members and reps are working together to reverse this devaluing of wages by securing a good deal through negotiation.
At the meeting, your reps set out our position, rejecting the 4.21% offer as a real terms pay cut, based on over 85% of members voting to reject the offer and 92% of those supporting a ballot for industrial action unless an improved offer is negotiated.
The company suggested that they will offer a no compulsory redundancies commitment until the 1 March 2023 pay anniversary, recognising our claim for job security, but failed to offer any improved offer on your salary and allowances. Your reps welcomed this element but explained that this would not constitute enough of an improvement for reps to recommend the deal to members. We referred to your referendum responses, which consistently identified the huge gap between economic inflation and the original offer as the primary reason members decided to reject the original offer. Members like you voted overwhelmingly to reject a 4.21% pay deal (with a minimum increase of £1,200 for those with a salary below £28,5030) and demonstrated that you are prepared take action if necessary to avoid a reduction in earnings and living standards in real terms.
The company have not yet made a revised offer in writing but agreed to adjourn talks while they consider our representations and their formal response, committing to a further meeting within weeks.
After keeping members waiting, management have given almost no ground on the pay element of their offer.
Although some other parts of the offer – such as no compulsory redundancies – are welcome, the below-inflation pay offer of 4.21% with a £1200 underpin has not changed yet. Management have outlined minor changes already implemented to policies and procedures since the 2021 pay deal.
We recognise that pay is the top priority for our members. This offer represents a substantial real terms pay cut – which is unacceptable.
At the moment we are again waiting for management to come back with a better offer. Company negotiators have failed to explain why the pay offer remains so low despite the reportedly good financial performance and sustainability of Amey Consulting and the wider Rail business.
We have written to the company advising that we must urgently reconvene talks to secure a decent offer which we can recommend to members to avoid the only reasonable alternative of moving towards a formal ballot for industrial action.
Reps still hope to reach a reasonable offer, which we can recommend to members, through negotiation. But if management don’t make a substantially better offer, or if they don’t return to the table in a timely manner, we will have little choice but to prepare a ballot for industrial action!
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Collective bargaining, pay, and TSSA membership
Some survey responses from Amey staff who weren't already members indicated a lack of clarity in company communications around union membership, pay and collective bargaining. This demonstrates that, although Amey have a responsibility to explain to new starters how collective bargaining and union recognition works, we cannot rely on the company and must work together to increase colleagues' understanding of the many benefits of TSSA membership.
All Amey Rail staff in Bands A-C are automatically covered by our collective bargaining agreements, with TSSA as the only recognised union in Amey Consulting (including CEFA, CAFA, OPI and Rail Design), and joint recognition in the wider Rail business. However, employees can only become members of TSSA or another trade union by deciding to join. Our reps are elected by fellow TSSA members to represent members on a collective basis
It is not possible for staff to become union members automatically. Our ability to negotiate a good deal on pay and conditions, protect jobs and to ensure that staff are involved in decisions and working practices depends on a high level of membership.
If you have colleagues who you think might not be members yet, please forward this email and encourage them to consider joining us online so that they have a say and to help ensure that we continue to grow as a democratic union to represent and support members at work.