USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA - SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY

Our Ref BR2/27/1

6th December 2017

TO ALL SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY MEMBERS

Dear Colleagues

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA - SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY

I am writing to all members at SWR over alarming reports we have received of social media posts being used as evidence to discipline staff. From the outset we should be very clear that RMT in no way condones harassment and bullying in any form but SWR appear to be trawling through social media looking for opportunities to discipline people. Some members have even been suspended in recent weeks for what we believe to be the flimsiest of excuses.

At a time of poor industrial relations such as this, when we are in the middle of a bitter dispute, the gloves come off and employers are well known to use every trick in the book to target striking workers. It is therefore only sensible for members to be highly cautious over what you put on social media, particularly any comments or content that relate to SWR, your colleagues or the dispute in general.

In case you weren’t aware, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are considered public forums. This means any posts you put up are in the public domain so comments or content you make, that could be considered offensive or refer to your employer or other staff, can be used as evidence to bring disciplinary proceedings. In recent years across the railway there are examples of members being suspended and charged under the Bullying and Harassment Procedure. Some have even been charged with bringing the company into disrepute and in the worst cases have even been dismissed.

I therefore cannot stress enough the need for caution at a time like this. Do not give the company any excuse to use social media posts against you. There is nothing wrong with healthy debate but with an employer looking for any excuse, caution is the best defence. RMT will of course defend any member who we believe has been targeted for their involvement in industrial action or for their trade union membership.

Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary