Bridgeway members urged to vote "Yes" in our referendum!
Look out for your email invitation
Our referendum on industrial action at Bridgeway Consulting is now open. Invitations have been sent to members who TUPE transferred from Amey to Bridgeway by email.
Eligible members are invited by email to complete our referendum survey to support action and to share information any concerns at work and effective tactics. Please have your say to ensure that Bridgeway don’t succeed in dividing members and cutting your pay and conditions.
We also need to understand members’ concerns and experiences. Anecdotal reports have described a safety culture that raises cause for alarm and requires urgent intervention. Elected union reps have statutory rights to keep staff and the public safe. If Bridgeway refuse to engage, we may have no alternative to seeking enforcement from ORR, Network Rail and other agencies as appropriate.
Please check and make sure that your email address and other details are up to date by logging in to www.tssa.org.uk/mytssa.
Members can also update their details via the Members’ Helpdesk.
Please vote "YES" to a ballot for industrial action consisting of a strike and "YES" to a ballot consisting of action short of a strike.*
*This is a referendum ballot only and does not constitute a ballot for industrial action
This will ensure that all options are on the table to ensure that the company see sense and recognise your collective right to negotiate a deal to protect your pay and conditions now and in future.
Please share this message with your colleagues and encourage them to vote in support of action.
This dispute is about those who transferred under collective bargaining but our union is here for all Bridgeway staff who want to join together and all staff are welcome to join via www.tssa.org.uk/join.
Parallels with P&O?
The limitations of UK employment law to protect workers from unscrupulous bosses have been publicly underlined again by the P&O Ferries scandal. The Transport Secretary and Prime Minister called for P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite to resign after “brazen law breaking” in deciding to sack 800 unionised staff without statutory collective consultation or notice to be replaced with agency staff on poverty wages. The tragic saga has proved that UK employment law gives limited protection from unscrupulous employers who understand the law and knowingly break it. Employers can factor in the risk of being forced to pay compensation by Employment Judges and spend their way out of their legal and moral obligations to staff.
Bridgeway members who TUPE transferred from Amey will recognise the parallels between employers who violate union members’ rights, break employment law on statutory consultation and refuse to honour collective agreements.
Our recent article explained that Bridgeway won’t face justice in the Employment Tribunal until this winter over their alleged breaches of the TUPE regulations in failing to consult staff on measures to derecognise our union and change terms and conditions. The company have consistently rejected our offers to engage with ACAS to negotiate a solution or to deal with ongoing problems and must now engage with us or face the consequences.
Why do we need to vote?
As reported last week, Bridgeway rejected our members’ claim for improvements to pay and conditions and have delivered their latest insult to members covered by collective bargaining rights when inflation is at a thirty-year high.
Bridgeway’s HR Director responded to our claim for a cost of living pay rise with a refusal to accept that your union recognition transferred with you under TUPE rules and, even if it did, the company are now ripping up your collective bargaining agreement.
The company have rejected every opportunity to avoid an industrial dispute since the TUPE transfer last year, members now have no choice but to stand together and make clear that you are prepared to be balloted for industrial action.
All CEFA staff are overdue a cost of living pay rise from 1 March this year, when RPI was at 7.8% and rising.
Bridgeway continue to refuse to accept that your union recognition agreement transferred with you from Amey under TUPE regulations and refuse to discuss pay with your reps.
While Amey and Xeiad management are sitting down to negotiate with members on pay and conditions, your employer has chosen to leave you with no choice but to move towards industrial action as the only means left to persuade the company to act decently.
It is crucial that every member who transferred from Amey to Bridgeway has a say and the right to collective bargaining. You have a voice that grows stronger with every member who demands that Bridgeway agree to negotiate your pay and conditions on a collective basis. Other CEFA employers have respected TSSA members’ right to put together a claim for improvements and to negotiate with elected representatives.
Company communications suggest that the company are preparing to further undermine our established agreements by bringing staff to meetings promising to talk about pay while rejecting your right to collective negotiations on the pay claim submitted by your elected reps.
Spotlight on CIRAS, Confidential Incident Reporting & Analysis Service
“Why speak up about health and safety at work?
Because when you come across something that looks or feels unsafe, you have a choice. Do something – or do nothing.
It's up to you to decide. But speaking up doesn't have to be daunting – you can talk to us in complete confidence today.
You can be the one that makes a difference.” - CIRAS UK
What does union-busting mean for health and safety at work?
Since members in Amey Consulting gained recognition in 2012, CEFA managers have worked collaboratively with safety reps and safety committees to assess occupational hazards and to control risks for staff involved in structures examinations and other safety critical roles.
Progressive employers recognise the value of union reps who can raise issues on behalf of members and work together to find solutions.
While the relationship with Amey management has not always been smooth, we have successfully engaged to agree safe systems of work and personal protective equipment. For example, members and safety reps persuaded Amey that staff working in tunnels must be protected from diesel emissions after a successful campaign supported by the TUC. When new handheld devices were introduced, reps helped to ensure they weren’t used in hazardous environments by working with management to produce an agreed handbook and work instructions. Amey management worked with safety reps to understand the risks associated with carrying open blades, especially when working alone in the infrastructure, and agreed that it is not appropriate for them to be issued or used except by trained and competent specialists, such as Off-Track staff.
Since the transfer to Bridgeway, members have reported a range of safety concerns, including being issued with machetes to carry around, without any consultation, risk assessment, training or additional safety equipment, before being sent to work alone in remote areas and in urban centres with high levels of recorded violent crime.
Members have the right to ask elected safety reps with statutory rights to raise concerns on their behalf and to work with safety professionals to take actions to keep you safe at work. Bridgeway have chosen to ignore those rights. By voting to support a ballot for action in our referendum, you can help to hold the company to account and enable managers to work collaboratively with union representatives to keep staff safe at work.
Together, we can force the company to honour our agreements and statutory rights to work with recognised health, safety and welfare representatives to keep your colleagues safe at work.
All staff working on the railway have the right to stop work if there is no safe system of work in place. Speak to your rep or the Members’ Helpdesk if in doubt.
Rail workers can always contact CIRAS in confidence to raise health and safety concerns.
TUPE Members may be due thousands in unlawful deductions from annual salary.
During TUPE consultation, Bridgeway insisted on moving staff from monthly pay to four-weekly. We opposed this as staff manage income and outgoings on a monthly basis.
The company argued that this was necessary because of limitations of their payroll system but promised that no member would be out of pocket and that short term loans or salary advances were available to support the initial transition. Loans were offered to lessen the impact on changes in pay date relative to fixed commitments such as direct debit payments.
At the end of the financial year, members are now discovering that their contractual salary, which must be paid within the year, is likely to be short by thousands of pounds.
Our union is taking legal advice and preparing to support members who may otherwise have to wait years before receiving their full salary entitlement. Initial guidance suggests that affected members may need to provide their details in a collective grievance process which we will commence soon.
Please check your pay slips to see whether you will receive your full year’s salary when you add the basic pay from Amey and Bridgeway.
Bridgeway seem to presume that members will be happy to let the company hold on to your wages almost indefinitely. You have a legal right to receive your annual salary annually.
Look out for more information on how we can support members with a potential unlawful deduction from wages claim if Bridgeway refuse to resolve this amicably.