Our Ref: BR4/16/3
24 July 2020
RESTRUCTURING AND REDUNDANCIES – WABTEC
RMT negotiators met with management at Wabtec again last week in order to try to force management to withdraw its redundancy plans. It was made very clear by your representatives that RMT would be in dispute with Wabtec if it continued down the path of compulsory redundancies or plans for dismissal and re-engagement on new Terms and Conditions went ahead. The company was also informed that its proposal on “flexible working” is rejected in its current format.
Your union team made the following demands to be able to move forward:
Written commitment that there will be no dismissal and re-engagement
HR1 form to be amended to reflect the above
Agreement on no compulsory redundancy
In making such demands, your union was impressing to the company that all parties need time and space to be able to mitigate against the situation we are currently in, this includes conversations with local councils, MPs, Mayors – which your Regional Organiser is currently involved in - and also identifying where what work is lost and the reasons behind this, as well as identifying what work could be won in order to mitigate against redundancy.
I am pleased to report that the company agreed that it will now not dismiss and re-engage staff as it had previously threatened to do and this commitment comes without strings. This will mean that it will re-submit the formal HR1 redundancy notification form to the appropriate authorities to reflect this commitment.
Unfortunately, the company has only proposed no compulsory redundancy until October 1st and this is on the basis that it reverts to Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but without top up to 100% wages. Obviously this will mean that staff who are currently on furlough will receive a reduction in pay. Additionally, the company is saying that if individuals refuse to remain on furlough, this may change management’s view on the sustainability of any no compulsory redundancy agreement.
The above has been reported to your union’s National Executive Committee, which has stated that, in line with union policy, it will not accept any compulsory redundancies at Wabtec and that, should the company try to railroad such a policy on you and your colleagues along with any other plans to change your terms and conditions, then there will be no option but to ballot all RMT members at Wabtec for industrial action.
In terms of the Furlough Scheme plans, your NEC acknowledges the company approach, but cannot endorse such a reduction in pay. The NEC has also taken note that the company has stated that, should individuals do not agree to the reduction in furlough, then Wabtec may not be able to continue with any guarantees of no compulsory redundancies. The NEC has therefore reiterated that a dispute will be announced by RMT should Wabtec make any member compulsory redundant.
In preparation of any possible ballot, it is essential that RMT has all our members’ updated details, so please ensure you advise us of any changes to your personal detail such as address and that all your job details are correct. You can do so by emailing your details to HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning the union helpline on 0800 376 3706.
Further meetings will take place between your union and the company next week and I will of course keep you advised of all developments arising from these discussions. In the meantime, I hope you are fully updated on the situation as it currently stands.
RMT continues to fight for our members’ rights and seek workplace justice for our Wabtec members and I hope I can be in a position to provide more positive news in the weeks to come.