Our Ref: BR1/13/1
25 July 2019
FLEET DEPOT STRATEGY, WALES AND BORDERS FRANCHISE, KEOLIS AMEY
I wrote to you last week with an update on the negotiations that had taken place between your union and the company which were held in order to find a resolution to this dispute. I advised you that a further meeting was scheduled to take place on Friday 19th July. That meeting has taken place and I can now advise you of the details in terms of the proposals and commitments in response to each of the areas of dispute, which I remind you were as follows:
1. Failure to meaningfully consult or reach collective agreement with RMT over the use of contractor labour in Maintenance depots
2. Failure to negotiate a harmonisation terms and conditions package and a 35-hour week for Fleet workers in response to the RMT pay claim for 2018
3. Failure to give a guarantee to RMT members employed in Fleet that they will be able to retain their employment contract within TfW Rail Services and not be subject to detriment by being transferred to CAF or Stadler
4. Failure to give a clear or satisfactory response to our concerns over future job security, pensions, travel facilities, pay, terms and conditions and a two-tier workforce
The company has provided a written commitment that employees would remain employed by KeolisAmey Wales as the operator of TfW Rail Services and seconded to CAF and Stadler. This is a practice known as the Retained Employment Model and would mean that all matters relating to pensions, pay, travel facilities and terms and conditions are resolved. This represents a huge achievement for RMT members, particularly as TfW RS itself was saying up until quite recently that this simply could not be done.
Further discussions will now be held on how this will affect future employees in order to avoid a two-tier workforce being in place, which your union is strongly opposed to. The company states that it will place proposals in front of your union by 1st September 2019 on this matter. Management initially say that they will at least include a statement that TfW RS wish all staff to be directly employed when they hold their planned discussions with CAF and Stadler next month.
In regards to the matter of an agreement over use of contractors, the company proposed that this be dealt with in the normal collective machinery and therefore it should be discussed at Fleet Company Council. Your negotiators expect a formal dispute resolution on this issue to be considered by your National Executive Committee in week commencing 19th August 2019.
On the matter of harmonisation for Fleet grades and achievement of a 35-hour week, the company has suggested that these matters be dealt with specifically in the pay talks for this year. Additionally, this was to include the bolt-on payments for shift patterns that at some locations did not incur pension or were discounted for aspects of staff pay – sick pay for example. However, the latest pay offer from the company does not provide for a resolution to this. Management have stated more recently that they are willing to continue the discussions and hold separate talks regarding the bolt-on payments. Another meeting is planned on this matter next week.
Your negotiators have recommended that the company be informed that your union is seeking a clear and unambiguous commitment to separate Fleet negotiations in order to resolve the issue of the current two-tier workforce which Arriva Trains Wales failed to deal with. It was also noted that, while the company appeared willing to deal with the issue of bolt-on payments at Cardiff Canton depot, it has not made any real commitments to dealing with harmonisation through a structured set of negotiations and an agreed timeframe for doing so.
Your NEC has considered this matter and notes that, while some progress has been made, certain issues remain unresolved – namely, matters surrounding the two-tier workforce, the use of contractors and harmonisation of fleet grades. The NEC further noted that further meetings are to take place to try to resolve these issues. The NEC therefore stated that RMT remains in dispute with the company and will seek a satisfactory response on this by 1st September 2019.
A meeting between national officials, the NEC and your representatives will take place in the week commencing 19th August 2019 after which I will keep you fully advised of all developments in this matter.
In the meantime, I thank you for showing continued patience on this matter and for your support for your union throughout this process.