Our Ref BR6/15/10
4th February 2020
TRANSFER OF VALLEY LINES STAFF – NETWORK RAIL TO TRANSPORT FOR WALES
I write in relation to the above matter which has been subject to detailed consultation between your union, Network Rail, TFW and Amey Keolis Infrastructure over the transfer of the Core Valley Lines to Transport for Wales. We have been notified that the transfer from Network Rail to Transport for Wales will take place on 28th March 2020.
The lead officer reports that on Wednesday 29th January 2020, Network Rail, Transport for Wales (TFW), Amey Keolis infrastructure (AKI) met with affected staff at Aber and Abercynon Depots to discuss their options to either TUPE transfer to AKI or R.E.M. (Retained Employment Model) to TFW. Members were issued with a copy of the final R.E.M. letter with a deadline of 6th February 2020 to respond. They were informed that if they sign the R.E.M letter and return OTM by 6th February 2020 they will have agreed to transfer to TFW, remain in the public sector on 28th March 2020 and be seconded to work with AKI.
Over the extensive consultation period RMT sought and secured the right for members to remain in the protection of the public sector (TFW) and was able to get a commitment from the First minister of Welsh Government in November 2017. R.E.M. is the mechanism that stops workers transferring out under TUPE to the private sector (AKI) and retains them in the public sectors. One other consideration is pension protection which is not guaranteed under TUPE laws whilst R.E.M does offer this protection. During our lengthy consultation meetings TFW have described R.E.M. as ”TUPE plus“ and have confirmed it includes Pension protection which we have been seeking throughout.
One issue that also recently emerged was that only staff TUPE transferring to AKI (private sector) were being offered the option of Wales and Border free Rail travel but this would not be made available to those deciding to R.E.M. to TFW (public sector). I am pleased to confirm that following our intervention both options now include the same entitlement for workers transferring.
With the above in mind the recommendation of RMT is that members should sign and return the R.E.M. letter by the 6th February 2020 deadline. By signing up for this option, members will still retain the legal right to TUPE to AKI whilst keeping the option to change their minds up until 28th March 2020. Pension rights will also be protected.
I trust the above keeps members fully informed on this matter an urge you to deal with the correspondence as soon as possible.
I will keep members fully informed of any further developments.