Our Ref: BR4/16/3

24 January 2018

Dear colleague


Concerns have quite rightly been raised by our Amey members working on the Great Western Electrification Project regarding the government’s announcement that this work was to be abandoned, with its eventual closure coming sometime after September this year.

Initial discussions with the company suggested that no compulsory redundancies would take place, with staff being moved onto other machines and/or displace contract staff. However, during this process Amey then announced that machines would be dropped out of operation around March 2018 and, as there will not be enough jobs in GWEP, redundancies may be a possibility. It was made clear to Amey that your union opposed compulsory redundancies and that the company and Network Rail, as the contract provider, would need to respond positively to finding workers alternative positions in the industry if they had not volunteered for redundancy.

As our members working on the project well know, they were recruited on to the GWEP on the basis that this would be long-term employment with a life for the workload of about 20 years, utilising the skills and experience of you and your colleagues to the fullest. So for Network Rail to effectively mothball a £50 million state of the art rail electrification project is a scandal.

Discussions between your union and the company have therefore been ongoing with a set of demands submitted by our members through a resolution to your National Executive Committee by our Swindon Branch. Among the demands are:

•    Network Rail and Amey to take responsibility and find alternative jobs for all staff that want to remain in the rail industry which could include Network Rail taking all project staff into direct employment. Network Rail to attend meetings with Amey and RMT to help achieve these aims.
•    No compulsory redundancies.
•    Protection of terms and conditions when transferred to reasonable alternative jobs.
•    An attractive Voluntary Redundancy (VR) severance package of £2000 per year (or part thereof) with a minimum VR of £20,000. Payable to voluntary redundant and staff who remain until the end of the project.
•    Offer this VR package across Amey and Network Rail to create vacancies for redundant staff who wish to remain in the rail industry.
•    Volunteers to be allowed to leave with reduced notice if they need to start alternative jobs.
•    Amey to offer all Amey jobs to staff at risk of redundancy and not be dependent on a selection process. Interview for the purpose of identifying training and support needs.

Your NEC has considered the matter in general and the above demands as set out by our Swindon Branch. Before taking a further decision on what steps to take this issue forward, the NEC has instructed me to seek an updated report from your Regional Organiser and I will, of course, write to you again when further developments arise in this matter.

I know that all those who work on this project will be greatly concerned about the situation, but I can assure you that your union is doing all it can to make sure that our members have a secure future working in this industry.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary