4 October 2017
RMT Press Office:
RMT slams latest bullying tactics by Southern Rail as it threatens pensions and other attacks on staff.
Rail union RMT today slammed the latest bullying tactics deployed by the basket-case Southern Rail outfit as company bosses attempt to intimidate staff fighting for rail safety back to work with a set of threats to pensions and warnings of “further sanctions” if guards and drivers don’t bend the knee and accept the cuts doctrine of the profiteering GTR outfit.
In a letter to the company General Mick Cash says:
I write in the strongest of terms as it is obvious that your company has reached a new low in intimidating your employees for taking legal industrial action. It is not enough that you have, from the start of this dispute, used provocative and draconian measures to try and browbeat your staff by using such juvenile tactics as withdrawing the use of car parking facilities and travel for guards’ family members.
You have withheld annual leave payments, in breach of current legislation, breaking the law to get back at your own staff. As you know we will not let this go and are pursuing the matter through the ET process.
But now your Passenger Services Director, Angie Doll, has written to members with threats and lies in your company’s name. Ms Doll has made a statement in respect of members’ pensions that is just not true. Pensions are based on final salary and service, so to make the bold statement that members will lose out is wrong. Where does it state in the scheme that strike action will be deducted from your pension – it doesn’t. Where does she point out that members can purchase additional benefits where there are shortfalls – she doesn’t – it is not her place to interpret the very complex rules of Pension Fund to suit her fantasy and try and frighten staff. I have written to the Pension Fund Trustees seeking their urgent intervention.
Ms Doll then goes on to state that this dispute is about other Train Operating Companies. Does she not know that each of these disputes is separate, with a stand-alone ballot on each and every one and conducted under current anti-trade union legislation. Secondary action is illegal, plain and simple, yet that is what she is stating. This union demands that this accusation is withdrawn immediately and a letter sent to members apologising for both the inaccuracies in her statement in regard to pensions and her lies in respect of secondary action.
And then the icing on the cake. Ms Doll states that ‘with regret we will have to consider further sanctions’ against your own staff. Is this the way to treat people in 2017? Does Ms Doll think this is Victorian times and people should be thankful for having a job and raise their cap every time a manager walks by. Unbelievable.
And of course this is in addition to the intimidation my members have had to experience on the picket lines, especially at Brighton where I was shocked to find that at 04.00 in the morning three RMT pickets at Brighton were approached by three BTP Officers, three Southern Security Guards and ten minutes later a Southern Manager - seven people intimidating three pickets.
GTR is the most aggressive and regressive company we have come across in a long time. You intimidate and threaten your staff in a way that is wholly unacceptable and not only do I insist you withdraw the letter sent by your Passenger Service Director, I demand an apology be sent to my members, your staff, the staff that protect your passengers and your revenue.
I await your immediate response.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“Southern Rail, a company that earlier this year encouraged passengers to “strike back” against front line staff, has once again dredged the depths of industrial relations with this outrageous threat to their staff pensions that is pure bare-faced bullying.
“If Southern/GTR seriously think that RMT will lift the campaign for safe and accessible rail services for all on the basis of threats and intimidation then they should think again.
“Instead of resorting to the gutter tactics of the playground bully Southern should start acting responsibly and should get round the table with the trade union for serious talks aimed at resolving the longest running industrial dispute in Britain.”