24th February 2021
SUSPENSION, SAMEER PATEL, PADDINGTON DEPOT – RAIL GOURMET (GWR CONTRACT)
I have received concerning reports from our representatives that our colleague Sameer Patel, has been suspended. Initially the allegations were for ‘brining the company into disrepute’ and ‘wilfully putting the safety of colleagues at risk’. However, the company have changed these allegations to Breach of Trust and Failure to follow correct COVID-19 Health and Safety Process for storage of plastic cups and lids.
However, these are trumped up charges and are a direct attack on a hard working individual. It is abhorrent that Rail Gourmet has suspended Sameer for simply raising concerns regarding health and safety standards. Sameer has clearly been targeted and victimised for raising these concerns. It is shocking that the company has moved to silence an individual for raising their worries, especially as the issues raised are being addressed by our GWR representatives. The union will not tolerate bullying and harassment, especially when legitimate concerns have been raised in good faith. Rail Gourmet should be ashamed of their actions.
The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and is appalled at the company’s actions. Therefore, I have been instructed to seek assurances that Sameer will be immediately reinstated. Should these assurances not be met then the union will have no choice but to enter into dispute with Rail Gourmet. I will also be raising my concerns with Great Western Railway and seeking a commitment that they will not condone the victimisation of members - whether they are directly employed or contractors - who raise health and safety concerns. The NEC has also instructed me to prepare a ballot matrix of you and your colleagues.
In order to ensure a swift ballot - should the need for one arise - I urge you to update your membership details, especially if you have moved house, grade or depot. If any of your details has recently changed, then please contact the RMT Helpline by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 update you all on any further developments.