9 September 2015
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it has declared a formal dispute and has begun preparations for an industrial action ballot of staff working at Northern Rail’s Leeds Customer Relations Department over an outrageous assault on existing terms and conditions.
The company have told the union that they intend to reduce the CO4 grades to CO2 whilst expecting the same if not more work from these staff. Similarly, CO5 grades whilst not being downgraded are expected to take on extra duties with no extra pay.
Northern Rail’s justification for this shock attack on their employees is that market rates for call centre work outside of the rail industry are 40% lower – a pathetic excuse that the union has branded as nothing more than a “ race to the bottom” that will increase the company profits and line the pockets of their shareholders at the workers expense.
In light of all of this the union has demanded the following assurances from the Company:
1. The letter issued confirming that the CO4 Clerical officer role of existing employees will be downgraded to a CO2 to be withdrawn.
2. That the two evaluation processes carried out by a trained manager and then a trained Hay Evaluator will be set aside and for the present time the Customer Relations Officer Grade CO4 posts will remain at CO4.
3. That no changes will be made to the duties of those carrying out Customer Relation Officer roles at CO5.
4. A meeting to be arranged with the affected employees and the union to agree a new evaluation process to consider the CO4 post of Customer Relations Officer.
The company have failed to give those assurances and as result the union has served notice of an industrial action ballot.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“This is an appalling attack on hard working Northern Rail staff which has been justified on the basis that there is a “race to the bottom” for call centre staff that the TOC’s clearly intend to roll out across the rail industry as they look to fatten their profits.
“RMT intends to fight these plans at Northern which we see as the thin end of a very long wedge and which would batter the working conditions and living standards of our members.
“RMT remains available for talks.”