26 July 2016
STATION STAFF TO BE BALLOTED!
Our Ref BR2/2/2
26th July 2016
TO ALL GTR STATION STAFF
STATION STAFF TO BE BALLOTED!
PROPOSED INTRODUCTION OF STATION HOSTS – GOVIA THAMESLINK RAILWAY
I write concerning GTR’s proposed reorganisation of stations which will see the creation of new position of Station Host. Meetings have been held as part of the consultation process and the latest developments have been reported to the National Executive Committee which has rejected the latest proposals. We have therefore taken the decision to ballot all Station Staff members across GTR for industrial action.
RMT is totally opposed to ticket office closures and cuts in hours as this will have devastating impact on our members and the travelling public. We have rejected the latest proposals from the company because the new rate of pay is unacceptable and we are also particularly concerned that it will result in a massive increase in lone working.
The impact of their proposals cannot be underestimated. GTR want to close ticket offices, or cut them to morning peak only, at 83 stations from as far afield as Kings Lynn and Bognor Regis. As a means of doing this they plan to introduce a new multi-functional role of Station Host which we estimate will result in a cut of at least 130 jobs. This new role will be required to undertake the following duties: -
• Selling a full range of tickets
• Assisting passengers with using Ticket Machines
• Operating the Gateline
• Carry out more station cleaning and security duties.
GTR aren’t offering any additional pay for the new grade even though it will require extra responsibility, increased knowledge and flexibility. Instead staff will be out on the concourse, often working alone, holding cash and a ticket machine at any time from first thing in the morning to late at night. We see this as a real and credible danger to Station Staff who we believe would be left vulnerable to assault.
The company have said they will give an alternative job to those Gateline staff that do not get a Station Host position. However, in the Southern metro area for example, with almost all stations going over to this method of working, we can’t understand where these alternative posts could possibly exist once the Station Host role is introduced. Furthermore there are no guarantees for those Ticket Office staff who through no fault of their own can’t do the Station Host job due to medical restrictions.
GTR are totally ignoring the thousands of passengers who clearly indicated in our high profile public campaign that they are appalled by the planned closure of ticket offices and the swingeing cuts to opening hours. They have failed to address the views of station staff and have ignored the objections from RMT and our sister rail unions. If these changes come in we believe it will mean all station staff could be forced onto flexible working with an increased workload without the prospect of reasonable compensation.
This is the thin edge of the wedge and if it’s not your station this time, it could be your turn next! We are at the first of a three staged reorganisation plan GTR has for stations with Stage 2 involving cuts to ticket offices at large stations and Stage 3 cuts to small stations. They also plan to cut dispatch staff at many stations when the new rolling stock come in so platform staff will be facing possible job cuts later into the franchise.
We cannot allow this to go on any longer and now is the time to take a stand and unite to stop these proposals which are a major threat to the future of station staff. We will therefore be proceeding with a ballot of all GTR station staff for strike action and industrial action short of a strike and voting papers will be sent to members from next Tuesday with a closing date of Tuesday 16th August 2016.
I urge you to vote strongly and overwhelmingly in favour of action to give your negotiating team the maximum possible support in putting a stop to GTR’s disastrous plans for station staff.
VOTE ‘YES’ FOR ACTION
UNITY IS STRENGTH