Our Ref: BR2/0025

13th April 2017

Dear Colleague,


I write further to my correspondence dated 31st March 2017 in relation to the above matter and where I informed you that we were seeking clarification and demanding answers from the company on 11 individual points. I can now advise that the company have responded and a further meeting has taken place. Additionally, our Lead Officer has submitted a report which along with the company’s response has been subject to recent consideration by the union’s National Executive Committee.

The NEC has expressed much concern at the company’s response and are appalled at the ever-increasing contempt being displayed to you and your colleagues by management. As you are aware, we sought clarification and assurances from the company that the new role of Train Manager will fully retain the safety critical role and training that is currently held by Train Guards. Whilst the company have stated that the duties will remain on the train, they are refusing to specify who will actually carry them out. These meaningless statements lack assurances and are incredibly concerning.  The company are offering vague intimations which offer no reassurance for you and your colleagues and does not provide any protection from the possible introduction of Driver Only Operation.

In our letter to the company we sought clarification and a comprehensive breakdown of the duties of existing on-board roles along with details on who would perform them in the future. The company have totally failed to provide us with these details within their response. We requested the company provide us with a simple comprehensive document that could be sent to you and your colleagues to vote on in a referendum ballot. However, despite several repeated demands to the employer, they have continuously failed to provide such a document.

As you are aware, consultation over these on-board changes has been going on for over a year. The union has told the employer that their proposed changes will not work. Despite this, the company has already forced through these changes with no agreement with your union. The new service is not fit for purpose and has turned into a sour situation, with you and your colleagues not being provided with adequate training and forced into these roles. It is disgraceful that you and your colleagues have been left to work out the role for yourselves. We cannot tolerate this deplorable behaviour and will not allow the same heavy-fisted approach to be applied to our station and travel centre colleagues. The company have provided diagrams on these grades. However, these diagrams are completely pointless until the union has been made aware of the duties that are required for each role. In order for the union to gain a meaningful understanding of any proposals and to make any such proposals work for both on train, stations and travel centres the information must include:-

• An agreed head count for each depot including total hours worked by each employee. (i.e. – is it 41 hours per week or a 35 hour per week contract). • An agreed grade by grade full time establishment figure for each depot. • How many diagram hours are in place in total at each depot? • How much spare coverage is available at each depot?

The latest report from our Lead Officer highlights how VTEC have misled you and your colleagues and have been providing our representatives and officers with economies of truth regarding to the status of training new roles. However, what is most appalling is when our Lead Officer read out the  harrowing and upsetting reports and concerns of you and your colleagues the company’s senior management responded by laughing in our representatives faces. To make it worse, when pressed on the issue and challenged on their appalling behaviour management responded by laughing even more. It is shameful that the company feels that your valid concerns are just a joke. This clear level of contempt is wholly inexcusable and should never be tolerated.

Therefore, in light of all the above, the blatant disregard for collective bargaining and the clear lack of the most basic human decency in their approach to you and your colleagues, it is the belief of the union that now is the most optimum time to demonstrate our disgrace at the company’s behaviour and our strong feeling that we will not tolerate this deplorable treatment. Consequently, the National Executive Committee has considered this matter and are instructing you and your colleagues to take strike action by not booking on for any turns of duty commencing between:-

• 0001 hours on Friday 28th April 2017 and 2359 hours on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder and show this company that we fully resent their deplorable actions. I urge you all to show your support and strength of feeling by fully supporting the planned industrial action. We must not allow the company to get away with their blatant disregard for you and your colleagues concerns and their blatant refusal to provide your union with the required guarantees and to meet our demands.

Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary