BREAKDOWN IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS – AVANTI WEST COAST

Our Ref: BR2/14/2

30th September 2021

Dear Colleague,

BREAKDOWN IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS – AVANTI WEST COAST

I have received very concerning reports from our representatives that industrial relations between the company and the Union have completely deteriorated and there is now a clear and serious breakdown.

Some of the serious concerns outlined show Avanti West Coast’s total disregard for the union’s representations on the issues. The company has shown no empathy to the concerns you are facing. Management have only demonstrated a total disregard for the health, safety, and wellbeing of their staff. The pressure of trying to deliver the service for the ‘3 class system’ is becoming untenable and it is shocking that you are facing abuse from disgruntled passengers, whilst receiving no support from management or the company addressing the issues. It has become apparent that the company are willing to ignore your concerns to steamroller through their detrimental proposals. The mental wellbeing of staff should be paramount, and the added stress and pressure will inevitably lead to a serious accident due to the increase stress and the feeling of being under pressure. These issues should come as no surprise to the company as these have already been raised with management, yet it seems the company have no concern and are instead trying to bulldoze through dangerous working conditions.

Furthermore, it is appalling that the company has dismissed and completely rejected our pay and benefits review submission and have instead imposed a two year pay freeze. This situation is impalpable when you consider the increase in national insurance and inflation and the reports of First groups increased profits and dividends.

The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and expressed their concerns at the clear deterioration of industrial relations and the intolerable attitude of the company. Therefore, acting under instruction from the NEC I have informed Avanti West Coast that we are now in dispute with them over the above issues. I have made it clear that the concerns raised above are an outline of the situation and is not limited to what we are in dispute over with regards to this serious breakdown in industrial relations.

I have also been instructed to ballot all our Avanti West Coast members for industrial action. This will be in the form of Strike Action and Action short of Strike. It is envisaged that the action short of strike will consist of a Rest Day Working and Overtime Ban, refusal to use company phones, refusal to utilise scanners, non-compliance with the intergrali app. The NEC will be discussing any other forms of industrial action with the Lead Officer and this will be represented on the ballot paper.

Therefore, to ensure you have a chance to vote, I urge you to update your details and contact the union if your job title, address, or workplace has recently changed. If any of these changes apply, then please contact the RMT Helpline by Email at info@rmt.org.uk; Alternatively, you can call the RMT Freephone Helpline number on 0800 376 3706. Additionally, if you know a colleague who has recently moved or changed their employment please ask them to contact the union on one of the above methods.

I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will of course keep you updated on all further developments

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary