19 August 2014
Our Ref: BR2/0001/FGW
Our Ref: BR2/0001/FGW
19th August 2014
Rates of Pay & Conditions of Service 2014 – First Great Western
Following our pay submission to the Company, I write to update members on the progress of negotiations and the current position.
During initial meetings between the Company and your RMT Lead Officer and Representatives, the Company advised that any pay increase would be capped at the February RPI figure as it is under the “final year of franchise conditions”. Any additional improvements would have to be “productivity based” and “self-funded” according to FGW. The Company stressed throughout these discussions that this was the position that the DfT had and which the Company must follow.
The verbal offer which was received was a 2.7% increase but the Company would not confirm this as a final offer as it could return to the DfT to see if another offer was possible and as a result, your RMT Reps noted that this offer does not meet members’ aspirations and it was rejected. Your Union then asked for a formal written response to our pay claim from the Company so this could be considered.
The final offer from the Company was then received in writing including the 2.7% approved by the DfT and another option with a slightly improved percentage figure at 2.85% but with strings attached which are not acceptable to your negotiating committee. As always, RMT sought protection for lower paid grades with a minimum increase but the Company rejected our claim.
This matter has been discussed at length amongst your negotiating committee and the GGC. The Lead Officer has also approached FGW a number of times but there has not been any change to the offer and it seemed that this was unlikely given the DfT restrictions.
However, RMT then received information that the DfT had not set any figure for the 2014 pay deal with FGW. The Lead Officer immediately wrote to the Company to ask for an explanation as it seems DfT had not been involved with FGW and had not capped or restricted FGW in what it could offer during the pay negotiations, including not interfering in how pay rises are calculated – specifically on requiring productivity to be a component of higher pay rises. In addition, RMT also heard that an increase for Train Drivers had been implemented without agreement from RMT which represents a significant percentage in this grade, although the deal was signed off by ASLE&F. This apparent misinformation from the Company is totally disingenuous and unacceptable.
I am currently awaiting a response from the Company and will keep you advised of all further developments.
Acting General Secretary