TSSA Demand that WMT end "deafening silence" on pay, job security and T&Cs or face industrial action ballot!

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Time is running out!

Time is running out for West Midlands Trains to end their silence on members' pay, job security and terms and conditions or face the prospect of a strike involving all TSSA members at the company this summer!

After WMT failed respond to our General Secretary's April request for commitments to negotiate a cost of living pay increase, no compulsory redundancies and no cuts to members' terms and conditions, we have given the company a final opportunity to meet reps to set out their position and avoid the prospect of a strike involving TSSA members in all grades.

The company have failed to confirm or deny reports that their deafening silence is because central Government and the Department for Transport have forbidden WMT and other Train Operating Companies under DfT control to enter any discussions with recognised Trade Unions.

The cost of living crisis means that members are struggling with a rate of inflation not seen in forty years amidst general expectations that the industry's Rail Reform plans consist of wholesale attacks on job and conditions. The company need to get off the fence and be honest with you about their plans so that we can negotiate in good faith.

We have written to the HR Director to demand an urgent meeting to address your reps by the end of this month to avoid the prospect of a ballot of all grades.

Unless WMT commit to negotiate with your reps, your union will have no choice but to consider industrial action to demand action to protect jobs, wages and T&Cs. 

Your reps are asking every TSSA member at WMT to log on to MyTSSA to double check your membership record to ensure that we have inaccurate information on your home address, workplace, job title and grade in the event that we have to ballot. 

Essential membership details to check via MyTSSA:

  • Job title
  • Grade details
  • Workplace
  • Home address (so that you can receive postal ballots)

If you have any problems accessing MyTSSA, you can contact the Members' Helpdesk or email 

All information has to be as accurate as possible so that WMT don't have any opportunity to challenge your democratic right to strike through the courts. We need your help to make sure that our members have the ability to choose to take action.

Our 17 May final demand to WMT

The text below was sent to WMT HR Director and Head of Employee Relations as a final opportunity to avoid our dispute escalating towards industrial action.

 "On 8 April, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes wrote to west Midlands Trains’ HR Director to set out our union’s position and to seek assurances that


  • pay increases negotiated between my union and your company in 2022 will be no less than the appropriate RPI measure of inflation;
  • there will be no changes to the terms and conditions of my members during 2022 without the agreement of my union; and
  • there will be no compulsory redundancies involving members of my union in 2022.


The General Secretary advised that TSSA would consider itself to be in dispute with West Midlands Trains if the above assurances had not been agreed in writing by no later than Tuesday 19 April 2022.

 Despite a commitment given to our representatives at the 25 April National Management Council meeting that West Midlands Trains would respond to the General Secretary by no later than Friday 29 April, no response or assurances have been forthcoming.

I have been instructed request that we meet as a matter of urgency, and no later than 27 May, to avoid escalating the dispute and moving towards a ballot for industrial action of all TSSA members employed by West Midlands Trains."

Stop wasting time and money on doomed "contingency cover" plans and get around the table!

If West Midlands Trains are genuinely committed to keeping passenger services running over the summer and helping to make the Commonwealth Games a success, they need to stop their obsession with pressuring staff to cover other people's jobs in the event of strike action and take some responsibility by honouring our collective agreements to negotiate pay and conditions in good faith.

Under one of the worst kept secrets in the rail industry, members have reported that WMT managers have been instructed to cobble together covert training in safety critical operational duties for  managers unfamiliar with operational roles and responsibilities under plans to replace staff who may be on strike with volunteers. 

The Management Grades Company Council has a long standing agreement that any cover for duties outside an individual's job description are purely voluntary. If you face any pressure to learn or undertake roles and responsibilities which are not part of your job description to reduce the effect of any industrial action, you must advise your rep or the Members' Helpdesk. You have the right to challenge if you feel under pressure.

If in doubt, speak to your rep and keep up to date with the latest guidance via our website and the Our Rail, Our Future campaign hub.  

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