Avanti Rips Up Union Recognition Agreements

Avanti has effectively ripped up its recognition agreement with both TSSA and RMT in respect of staff on management personal contacts.

The move has come as many staff at Avanti’s Customer Resolution Centre in Birmingham face redundancy as a result of the decision to transfer their work to First Group’s new customer contact centre in Sheffield.

The transfer is one covered by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE). In order to avoid involving the unions in the formal consultations legally required over the transfer and the associated redundancies, Avanti has chosen to rip up the recognition agreements for these staff, a move that also has consequences for all of the other Avanti staff on management personal contracts.

In a written response to TSSA’s formal request for information about the proposed transfer of Customer Resolution work under the TUPE Regulations, Avanti has stated:

“…our position therefore is that the TSSA Union is not recognised for this group of employees and I will not be able to provide the full list of information that you have requested in your letter.”

TSSA has responded by providing clear evidence that recognition is in place covering management personal contract holders up a certain level of salary – which the union believes to be approximately £35,000. That evidence includes a clear exposition of the position in writing from Virgin in 2017.

Avanti may try to pass this off as some sort of administrative misunderstanding. It is nothing of the sort. Many of the current Avanti senior management are the self-same people who were in post in Virgin, and they are perfectly well aware of the fact that TSSA has recognition rights for most management personal contract holders.

Make no mistake – this is a calculated and deliberate attack on the ability of both TSSA and RMT to ensure that their members can be adequately represented.

TSSA will take whatever action is considered necessary to defend our members’ jobs and their rights to union collective representation. The union has already instructed our solicitors to begin a legal challenge to Avanti’s high-handed move, and we will be exploring other avenues to put pressure on the company which may include industrial action.

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