13 January 2015



Our Ref: BR2/0004

12th January 2014

Dear Colleague


Further to my letter dated the 10th November 2014 with regards to the above matter and where I informed you of the efforts of your union to secure a reduction in the working week for our Train Presentation grades members at Northern Rail. As previously advised, the company indicated that it would be prepared to discuss the matter but only as part of negotiations into productivity savings. The issue was therefore raised by your representatives at the Engineering Employee Council in December where, unfortunately, no agreement could be reached. The matter will again be discussed at the next meeting of the Council in March 2015.

The RMT notes that our Train Presentation members are the only employees within Northern Rail on a 37 hour week compared to all other grades that are on 35 hours. It is the view of your union that this discriminates against our members concerned and was not actually the intention of the proposals which led to the work which these grades carry out being taken in house in 2007. Rather, it was a proposal submitted by another union which stopped these grades having a reduction in their working week as a result of concerns over perceived disadvantages in their pay. The view of the RMT is that such concerns are no longer relevant and that, seven years since the work was taken in house, it is now time for a review to address the matter.

The RMT also notes that the staff involved have contributed to the vast improvement for Northern Rail of its cleaning services and on the number of units cleaned which have seen its scores improve on Service Quality and the National Passenger Survey. Indeed, the company has been able to generate additional income by cleaning other companies’ trains, such as Grand Central and TPE at various locations.

Furthermore, the additional sanding out units during the autumn period, which is usually outsourced at cost to the company, has been done in house at several locations during autumn 2014, with the work being carried out by the Service Restructuring and Train Presentation teams at minimal cost to Northern and thereby generating further savings.

Northern Rail has stated that a reduction in hours must be self-financed, but the main point being consistently missed is that the in-house cleaners have already increased the company’s finances, as demonstrated above. The cleaners have already paid for the reduction in hours and have the right to be treated fairly and in the same way as all other employees.

With the above in mind and with management so far failing to address the matter, I am now preparing a ballot matrix of all our cleaning grade members at Northern Rail. Should a successful outcome to this matter not be found at the Engineering Company Council meeting in March 2015, I will proceed with the ballot for industrial action and I urge you to show your solidarity by voting YES when you receive your voting paper.

Additionally, I am producing appropriate literature outlining the achievements of our cleaning grades and the discrimination suffered by our Train Presentation team members.

I will, of course, keep you fully advised on any further developments.

Best wishes.
Mick Cash
General Secretary

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Tagged with: northern rail, train presentation