GWR: TSSA Management Collective Bargaining

Group of office workers with hands on top of each other in the centre of the group.

On 9 August, it will be one year since we won and signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement in the Train Service Delivery Department (TSD) in GWR. This gave TSSA exclusive bargaining rights for management grades in the control centre and led to us winning a similar agreement for Managers in the Rosters and Resources Department. At this auspicious time, we look at which other groups of managers in GWR might be ready to win the right to have a collective voice for their function, by demonstrating that they support collective bargaining through us proving the majority are in TSSA membership.

Since winning Collective Bargaining in TSD we were able to ensure that TSSA members there had effective representation during a restructure. Meaning that members voices were heard regarding the structural changes which mean that counter proposals were received and accepted in relation to the nature of some of the new job roles. We also negotiated minimum pay rates for each of the jobs that will go up in line with future pay rises and standardised the flexibility payments so that they are and will be consistently applied going forward and ensured that restrictive working practices were abolished. Members were also able to have a vote on the restructuring, which initially was against the original proposals and led to us receiving an improved offer, something that would never have been possible without TSSA as an independent and democratic trade union being involved in the talks!

This is reminiscent of when we had Collective bargaining for ALL managers in GWR and achieved improvements in Terms and Conditions for all managers working over the festive period, and where through a collective grievance we achieved a permanent minimum pay differential between Driver Standards Managers and a leading Driver. On numerous occasions when we had collective bargaining, we successfully resisted the ridiculous clause in the management contract that sees new entrants to the management grade sometimes must wait 6 months or longer to receive their first pay rise, meaning if there start with a gap in pay with colleagues that they can never catch up! Something that will undoubtedly only exacerbate the Gender pay gap!

We only achieved these things with hard struggle, strong membership and workplace reps standing up for their colleagues to ensure that managers are not treated like second class citizens! Do you want to improve things for colleagues going forward? Do you want to protect and seek improvements to terms and conditions? Read on and we will tell you how!

Achieving Collective Bargaining

On the road to achieving Collective bargaining TSSA has used all the tools at its disposal to get recognition from GWR, but ultimately, we need ordinary members on the ground to support the idea of collective bargaining and want to achieve it. GWR will only entertain an agreement if we can demonstrate that the majority (50%+1) of people in a proposed ‘bargaining unit’ want collective bargaining. We prove this by demonstrating that we have more than half of the people within the proposed area/function/grouping/bargaining unit are in TSSA through an independent check, normally through a government body like ACAS. So, the employer doesn’t see who our members are.

Of course, we have learnt the bitter pill of the fact that GWR can seek to derecognise us and therefore it is important to ensure that we retain strong membership going forward.

So, in short, we need members who are willing to speak to their colleagues about joining TSSA to help us, help you, protect your rights, give you a voice and ensure that you don’t get walked over if the employer or government chooses to do things like:

  • Change you contract or job description or working practices without negotiation or consultation
  • Transfer you to another employer through TUPE without consultation
  • Reorganise, restructure, or propose Redundancies in your workplace without consultation
  • Continue restrictions on pay rises (as they are currently doing in TOC’s)
  • Change your pensions (as they are currently planning with TOC pensions)

Remember every person in the United Kingdom has a legal right to be a trade union member, don’t believe the rumours that managers can’t be trade union members and don’t allow anyone to persuade you to leave a union and if you feel like pressure or inducement is being applied then report this to TSSA as this could be illegal! If someone says something you think is inaccurate, ask them to put it in writing!

Please encourage your colleagues to join a trade union today, and they can join TSSA online.

And if you want to help us recruit your colleagues so that you can win a voice in the workplace or think you might want to represent your colleagues then contact Alan Valentine today on

If you want to attend a picket line on 18th & 20 of August then click here

TSSA reps holding a TSSA logo flag

Become a TSSA workplace rep

Our workplace reps occupy the most important role in our union. As a workplace rep you are a key link in the chain of communication between TSSA and its members, and between your colleagues and their employer.

Start your reps journey today