Friday, June 22, 2012


Circular concerning SWT for your attention & distribution.

(Branch Secretaries) Hard copy in the post.

20th June 2012

FAO:  ALL SWT REPS & Rail Branch Secretaries

Dear Colleagues


I am sure you will be aware that I have been holding talks with South West Trains in the company of your Company Council representatives in an attempt to re-open the discussions surrounding the Olympic Games, and a payment from the company to reflect the extra workload that our that our members will have to undertake during the Olympic period. You are I am sure aware that some months ago we concluded the 2011 pay talks, and part of the agreement reached with the company at that time was to accept a 0.25% additional payment on the rates of pay to reflect the extra work  engendered by the Olympic games. You will also be aware that the term used by the company in their offer was that they were prepared to offer this small additional increase on the rates of pay for the Olympics, because the changes they intended to put in were minimal and it would be business as usual. Now as time has moved on and we fast approach the Olympic Games we are discovering that there are numerous extra services being deployed by South West Trains during the Olympic period which far exceeds our understanding of the term minimal. In addition to that we have reports coming in to us on a regular basis of isolated incidents where Local Managers are declining leave because it’s the Olympic Games, and also attempting to impose special rosters for the Olympic period. To be fair to the company when we pointed these incidences out to them they took immediate action to reinstruct their Local Managers, and as far as we know all of those incidents of leave being declined and rosters being imposed  have been dealt with and we have reverted to the status quo, but my concern is that there will continue to be further incidences going forward.

I have to tell you that last week was the final attempt on our behalf to meet with the company and resolve this matter before the ballot papers came out to our members asking you to vote on Industrial Action to pursue this dispute. I have unfortunately got to tell you that the talks were not successful and the company’s position became abundantly clear at that meeting. It was simply put by them that they did not feel that they are stepping outside of the agreement reached with us some months ago, and that the additional services they are running are indeed minimal and it is business as usual. You will appreciate that our position as your Union representatives was also clearly put to them that we do not consider what they are doing to be

either ‘minimal’ or ‘business as usual’, and therefore we would seek to re-visit the 0.25% payment that they made to us last year to reflect this, and what we were seeking on your behalf was a one-off compensatory payment of a significant sum of money to compensate our staff for the extra work they are going to have to do over that period, this is in line with similar agreements reached with other Train Operating Companies for the Olympic period. The company’s position was clearly put to us at that meeting that there was no more money and that they felt that we were acting dishonorably in asking for more. They were not prepared to talk about changes to the pay deal that we negotiated some months ago, and their responses to our demands became evermore negative and indeed quite aggressive. They were not prepared in any way, shape or form to acknowledge that what they were doing was at the very least outside of the spirit of the agreement we reached with them some months ago, and they’ve felt that they had obviously done a deal with us that benefited them more than it benefited us and their attitude was ‘well look when you do deals, you win some and you lose some, and perhaps on this you’ve lost some but you have to swallow it and get on with it, and stick by the deal you’ve made’ they went on to say that ‘sometimes when we do deals between the two organizations we look back afterwards and think, well that wasn’t a particularly good deal for us and clearly on this occasion you feel the same, but whichever way it goes you have to honor the deal that you have signed up to.’  I have to say on this occasion I think that this is somewhat disingenuous on their behalf, and that they are steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the obvious truth that they did lead us down the garden path some months ago, and were not straight and truthful and honest with us at the time, and conned us into accepting that 0.25% increase.  They are now sitting back with a smile on their face feeling that they have got away with something and are not prepared to face up to their obligations of compensating their staff adequately for the additional work that is going to have to be undertaken.

I can tell you that the talks ended quite acrimoniously, and it became abundantly clear that they were not prepared to move forward on this matter at all at this time, and they finished by saying ‘go and have your ballot and we will do what we can to defeat it.’ I would ask all members therefore to help your negotiating team by voting overwhelmingly ‘ Yes’ when the ballot papers come out shortly in relation to this dispute, so that we can ask for further talks with the company in the sure and certain knowledge that we have the support of the membership behind us when we go to speak to them. I do feel that this is a matter upmost principle for the RMT in as much as we have been duped by South West Trains into accepting a pittance of a rise for the Olympic Games, and we must support the membership by rectifying that and achieving a sensible financial reward for you now. We all need to work together on this, and I can assure you that your negotiating team is ready to meet with the company again at anytime, and all we need now is your support to enable us to achieve that. It is essential that we return an overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote for Industrial Action and I would ask that this circular is posted on all local notice boards and brought to the attention of members at branch meetings, so that there is no doubt amongst our membership up and down the line of what our position is, and it will be clear to them what we are asking them to do when the ballot papers drop through the letterbox.

Yours Sincerely,


Pete Gale

Regional Organiser

Wessex Division

Mobile: 07946 386762


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