Company offers 2.1%.
TSSA reps recommend rejection!
Stena has offered to increase the salaries of shore based salaried staff covered by collective bargaining by 2.1% from 1 January 2020.
The offer is now subject to a ballot of members, and a referendum ballot paper has been sent to all Stena members with this circular. The TSSA Stena reps recommend that members REJECT the offer and vote NO.
In isolation, a 2.1% offer may not be seen by many as a bad one, given that the normal benchmark for an offer is the inflation figure (Retail Prices Index) for November which stands at 2.2%.
However, TSSA members have seen pay rises failing to keep pace with inflation for more years than most can remember. Even this year’s offer fails to match inflation, despite the fact that the company has informed TSSA reps that it has had a profitable year.
During negotiations, TSSA challenged the company to tell the union under what circumstances they could see Stena making an inflation matching or inflation plus pay offer – predictably there was no response!
TSSA reps take the view that staff cannot for ever accept a situation where the buying power of their salaries goes down year after year, eroded annually by inflation.
But there is another issue that concerns the TSSA reps. Many staff, particularly at Holyhead, are on rates of pay that would be barely above the National Minimum Wage (NMW) if the offer is accepted. With the NMW going up by 6.2% this year, and further inflation plus rises in the pipeline, those staff will be on the NMW from next year.
Several years ago, TSSA agreed to the ending of enhanced rates of pay for working overtime, weekends etc on the basis that this was ‘consolidated’ into the basic salary. It therefore seems right that staff should see their salaries continue to move up ahead of the NMW to reflect that consolidation.
TSSA has pointed out that staff are unlikely to continue to work for Stena on the NMW when other jobs are available that pay the same rate but do not require them to work weekends and unsocial hours, and are much less intensive and stressful. A much increased turnover of staff will result in significant costs to the company in terms of training, and the loss of skills amongst the workforce. And Stena becoming a NMW employer will do nothing for its reputation.
During the negotiations, TSSA proposed that those on the lowest rates of pay should have their pay increased by 6% to maintain the differential between their current rate of pay and the current rate of the NMW.
Stena made it clear that they would only consider increasing the total wage costs by 2.1%, so if this were to happen, then the increase for other staff would have to be considerably less.
TSSA reps are of the view that it is completely unacceptable for Stena to force many staff to accept a small or no increase in order that they can effectively pay for Stena to address the low pay issues that exist for some of their colleagues. At a time when Stena have the money to invest millions of pounds in new ships, the costs of addressing the issue of low pay would represent a drop in the ocean.
Stena must accept that they must invest in their staff as well as their ships if they want to be a successful company going forward.
TSSA reps therefore urge Stena members to vote NO, reject the company’s offer, and give them a mandate to return to negotiations to seek more, particularly for the lowest paid.
Stena members are asked to have their say by voting for or against the offer using the ballot paper.
The ballot will close at midnight on Thursday 13 February 2020.
Members can scan their completed ballot paper and then email it to email@example.com. They can also post it free - members are asked to ensure that if they choose to post their ballot papers, they allow enough time for the ballot paper to arrive by then.
In order to ensure that only qualifying TSSA members votes are counted, it is necessary for those voting to complete the section which identifies them as a member. This is not a secret ballot. However, members should be assured that their details and their votes will treated in the strictest confidence, and will be seen by no more than two members of TSSA paid staff. The personal information provided by members will where necessary be used to update their membership record.