To: RMT VTEC Members
4 January 2018
Our Ref: BR2/0001/VTEC
RATES OF PAY & CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 2017 – VIRGIN TRAINS EAST COAST
I am aware of a communication sent out by Claire Ansley about the ongoing dispute we have with the company over the 2017 Pay Offer. You will be aware that, despite a referendum of members rejecting the pay offer, the company decided to impose the pay award without agreement with the RMT and ignoring the clear wishes of our members.
In doing so, they also gave members the right to opt out of the pay award which members in large numbers decided to do. Following the imposition of the pay award, the RMT decided to ballot you and your colleagues and, despite there being a large majority support for strike action, it could not be legally acted upon because of the new anti-trade legislation on ballot thresholds.
The company decided to exploit the ballot result and tried to bully the union’s executive into accepting the pay offer, including for those members who had opted out. They also decided to put down arbitrary deadlines over Christmas and hold our members who had opted out to ransom in order force the union to accept this offer. The union had previously decided to seek legal advice as there have been employment tribunal cases where workers have taken employers to court and won because the employer went over the head of the union in regards to pay.
The union’s executive considered this matter before Christmas and decided that we should meet with the company to get clarity about the company’s position.
That meeting has not taken place yet, although we are in the process of getting one set up. One of the reasons for the delay is that we are hoping to get some clarity from our lawyers about our legal position prior to the meeting. Obviously by putting down unrealistic timescales the company was hoping that we would meet them half cocked so they could put more pressure on us to undermine the legal route our members may be able to take.
The latest communication is just another attempt to undermine the union by this company.
I shall keep you involved of any further developments.