The Trade Unions met with Directors of GWR On Thursday 22 June 2023 for the first Company Council meeting in some time, as the previous 2 meetings had been cancelled by the business. This meant there were outstanding items from previous meetings. TSSA has representatives from various grades who attend Company Council, Namely Revenue Protection, Stations, HQ Clerical, Management (From within the Train Service delivery and Rosters and Resources departments). Below is an overview of some key topics discussed.
General Grades pay – the company confirmed that they weren’t in a position to pay this as a result of the ongoing disputes of sister unions. TSSA did ask when the company was able to pay it would it be paid to anyone who has worked within the relevant anniversary dates but leaves the company before it is paid. The company advised this would depend on the mandate they received from the Dft, we asked for them to push for this to include any staff who have been in post, waiting to receive the pay rise even if they leave before it is paid.
Management grades pay – TSSA asked for clarity on whether the 2023 anniversary dates would be honoured despite the fact the company hadn’t invited the unions to discuss workforce change and to consult on an implementation plan. They advised that Managers receive the 2023 pay award (4%) as per the relevant anniversary date, for the majority this will be 1 July and for some on Ex-Wessex contracts this will be backdated to 1 April 2023. We have been advised this will be paid in the July pay packet although for those on the 1 July anniversary date, any uplift will reflect the relevant number of weeks within that pay period. We are aware that the company sent a Fastline out to affected managers the day after company council, for the avoidance of doubt this wasn’t shared with TSSA in advance of it being sent.
Additional annual leave for Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) – A request has been made for MHFA’s to receive the same additional annual leave days that First aiders do – the company is looking into whether it can do this.
Request to receive template Contracts – Following concerns that Contracts are being amended without negotiation with the unions, TSSA asked for copies of the template contract within the groups that we have collective bargaining rights for. In this way we can ensure that changes aren’t being made without the company following the correct process of negotiating changes. A recent example of this was within Revenue Protection where the full-time officer became aware of 3 different wordings in the contracts which impacted on Trainee Revenue Protection Inspectors and the transition from trainee rate to full rate of pay. Whilst TSSA was successful in getting staff backdated pay that was owed, the fundamental issue of contracts being amended without agreement is of concern. This item is still open, but the company doesn’t appear to be willing to be transparent on the matter as they are saying contracts are a matter between the individual and the company. We are asking for the base contracts so that we can ensure they reflect what we believe to be agreed and we have examples of times where the company has previously been willing to share these with us, so we don’t see any rationale for denying us access.
Training – TSSA raised concerns around the training provision for the company particularly for some training for instance GDPR training that if not followed could lead to Individuals being dismissed. We have concerns that there should be a more blended approach to training to enable face to face training to not only cater for different learning styles, but also for those who maybe neurodiverse or have hidden disabilities. They took this item away.
Cost of living – We highlighted concerns that staff were facing on the cost of living and asked what arrangements the company has in place to provide support to those struggling. The company have advised that they no longer offer the ability to for individuals to request advances on pay but that there is support provided through the Employee Assistance program. We have asked the company to share this information with staff and your reps.
Disabilities and Reasonable adjustment passport – TSSA has requested that for those with Disabilities within the company that they be given a Reasonable adjustments passport that can highlight the adjustments that they have in place should they move within different roles within the organisation. The Company advised that they are looking at formulating Reasonable adjustment guidance and will approach the trades unions once they have progressed this further.
Equality Representatives agreement – TSSA chased the company on the progress of us negotiating an agreement over the arrangements for Equality representatives – An Inclusion and Diversity meeting has been set up on 9th August in Newton Abbott to further negotiate on this.
Recruitment – The company is currently reviewing it’s Recruitment processes to make them more inclusive, once they have proposals they will come back to the trade unions to consult on them.
Payroll contact – A concern had been raised that members can’t call payroll to discuss issues with pay they have to contact them via an email address. Management confirmed that this is the case but sometimes calls are made to discuss cases. We asked if members can request to be contacted by phone/teams to discuss issues (as sometimes easier to have 2 way conversation) and Management confirmed that individuals could make such requests.
If members have any questions about the points raised above or wish to contact one of the Company Council representatives, they can find who their company Council representatives are through our website or contact the full time officer Alan Valentine on firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us help you!
We know these are tough times for members, but it has never been more important to encourage your colleagues to be part of something bigger than themselves and join TSSA to help us both defend what you have and be able to achieve improvements in the workplace. Where we have a strong number of members within sections of the workforce with good motivated representatives we can achieve much, so please consider encouraging colleagues to join TSSA online and consider to stand as a Health and safety representative, Union Learning Representative or Staff Representative yourself. We want a diverse group of representatives to stand so that we can ensure we are reflective of, our membership.
We also have a current process running to fill out vacant Equality representative seats which you can find on our website.
So, please get involved and if you want to find out more about how you can do your bit then please contact Alan Valentine on email@example.com