TSSA members who TUPE transferred to Bridgeway Consulting scored their first collective victory just in time for Christmas!
Bridgeway management have capitulated to your demand and dropped the threat to fine members for accidental damage to vehicles, IT equipment and other company property by docking wages.
Members acted collectively to support a collective grievance seeking to revoke the threat of fining staff, which they attempted to impose unilaterally, without collective consultation with recognised reps and we believe in breach of the TUPE Regulations. Your union wrote to Bridgeway HR on 25 November to formally submit the collective grievance on behalf of members, giving 14 days to respond in writing, as per the Bargaining Agreement. After Bridgeway failed to respond within a fortnight, we issued an ultimatum that they had a further week to agree to hold a Collective Grievance Hearing with our reps, or agree to ACAS mediation, or
TSSA ultimatum to Bridgeway HR:
"If I am not able to report any progress towards a satisfactory outcome by close of play on Thursday 16 December, I will have no choice but to advise members that, having exhausted the process set out in our Collective Bargaining Agreements, we will be in dispute with Bridgeway Consulting and will be forced to begin preparations for an industrial response." (sent Thursday 9 December)
Bridgeway responded on the evening of 16 December, just in time for our deadline, before fulfilling our members' demand to withdraw the policy. Compare the grievance wording with Bridgeway's letter to members:
Members' grievance wording:
"As the recognised trade union for collective bargaining purposes, any proposed changes to our terms and conditions of employment must be negotiated or consulted, as appropriate, on a collective basis with our elected representatives before our terms and can be varied. This includes the Bridgeway attempt to force individual employees to sign a variation to terms and conditions that seeks to give authority to Bridgeway to make deductions from wages in the event of accidental loss or damage to company equipment. We require Bridgeway to agree that any such individual agreements and variations to terms and conditions which have not been collectively consulted and agreed are void and that no consent is given for Bridgeway to deduct from members’ wages in the event of accidental loss or damage to company property.”
Confirmation letter from Bridgeway HR to staff:
"You may be aware, but a query was raised with us about the application of certain policies, in particular the Vehicle Policy, Examiner Issue Kit Procedure and the IT Policy. The query related to the reimbursement provisions within these policies in the event of damage, loss etc. of certain equipment... I can confirm that the recoupment provisions contained within these three policies will not apply to you. I can also confirm that the provisions have not been applied to date."
The struggle continues!
Members voiced two key demands in the collective grievance; that Bridgeway agree that the collective bargaining agreement, which recognises your union, transferred under TUPE, and that they withdraw the policy of fining staff for accidental damage to company property. While they conceded the second point without even holding a formal meeting, they continue to claim that they refuse to recognise your reps. Because our legal team built a case with good prospects that demonstrates that Bridgeway failed to fulfil their legal obligations, we have a date set in March for an Employment Tribunal hearing. Unless Bridgeway decide to make reasonable offer to compensate members and to recognise your union, a Judge will rule on Bridgeway's blatant attempts to break the TUPE regulations, with the power to award up to thirteen weeks' gross pay per member of staff for failing to consult on their plans during the collective discussions.
Please share details of this success with your colleagues and encourage them to join TSSA today. Our petition to demand that Bridgeway drop their anti-union campaign is still open via Surveymonkey. Please encourage your family, friends and colleagues to add their voice and persuade management to do the right thing before they end up in court and do even more damage to their reputation in the rail industry!