Thursday, February 12, 2009

Job Cuts On South West Trains

CIRCULAR FAO All Branch Secretaries, Company Council and All Representatives / Grades of SWT 11th February 2009 Dear Colleagues JOB CUTS ON SOUTH WEST TRAINS You will all by now be aware of the announcement by South West Trains in relation to further job cuts within the company. You will recall reference my earlier circular that South West Trains purposed losing 480 jobs from within its work force over a range of grades. This comprised primarily of a reduction in full time posts of: · 93 for Ticket Office Staff, · 62 for Platform, · 10 for Station Information, · 5 for Direct Services/Messengers, · 9 Clerical Staff HR, · 5 Clerical Staff HQ, · 8 CCSC and · 22 Managers. You will be aware from my previous circular that the RMT was consulting with the company over these job cuts, and as part of that process we were called to a further meeting at South West Trains Head Quarters on the 4th February this year. At the meeting at Friar’s Bridge Court on the 4th February we were stunned to hear that the company propose to axe a further 180 jobs in addition to the 480 posts already identified to us. These additional 180 jobs comprise of; · 100 Revenue Protection Staff, · 20 Ticket Office Staff at multi window locations, · 20 Platform Staff, · 12 Headquarters and Team Support Staff and · 28 Managers. The Union expressed their shock, horror and total disgust at these proposals and informed the company that they felt they were totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and they were only being proposed by the company in an attempt to bolster the profitability and therefore the dividends to the shareholders. There was no good business need that required these reductions in staffing levels and we urge the company to think again. The main thrust of the discussions that took place with them was a request by us that they review their proposals to reduce these full time positions and turn them in many cases into part time positions. We also demanded that the company gave us an assurance by the 10th February that there would be no compulsory redundancies. I have to tell you that the 10th February has come and gone and there has not been an assurance in writing from South West Trains in relation to compulsory redundancies. That being the case the General Grades Committee of the Council of Executives met on the afternoon of the 10th February, and decided that in the light of the company’s failure to provide this assurance we would be balloting all of our members within South West Trains, on the question of industrial action in relation to these job cuts . It was decided that we would ballot all members in all grades in relation to this matter because of the gravity of the situation, and the fact that members in all grades within the organisation will suffer either directly or indirectly as a result of the company’s proposals. I can tell you that discussions are taking place at a national level in an attempt to co-ordinate our ballot with similar exercises being undertaken hopefully by TSSA and ASLEF. You will appreciate that it is the RMT’s position that all Unions should co-operate in relation to this matter, and I do hope that the discussions that are being held at the highest level will enlist the support of our sister Trade Unions in trying to resist these cuts. I am confident that the executive committee will keep members informed of the progress of these talks with our sister Unions. There may well be some members of the Union who are employed as either Guards or Drivers or Fleet staff who may possibly be saying what has this possibly got to do with us. I have to say that my fear is that the company may not have finished their current round of job cuts and possibly it could be you next. Even if that proves not to be the case I have to say that there will be significant change s to the way the railway is run if these job cuts are pushed through to their conclusion. Guards will be taking trains through unmanned stations with all of the associated health and safety risks. They will also be operating trains without any backup from Revenue Protection Staff and there will be an increase in lone working again increasing the dangers to your safety. There will also be I am convinced a request from the company, that you fill the gap that is left from the reduction in the revenue staff onboard trains on the main line. The company I have no doubt will be expecting you to issue tickets to members of the public who would otherwise have been picked up by the revenue staff, and there will also be the thorny question of the issue of penalty fares. I would ask any member of the RMT who is not directly affected by the current swathe of job cuts to think long and hard about the matter of solidarity in this issue. When the company is disposing of a total of 660 posts within South West Trains, this is the time for all staff to draw in the sand and say enough is enough. The Union is requesting your total support in this struggle to protect our member’s jobs. We must move away from the idea that there are these groups within the company who feel that anything else that is happening is nothing to do with them. We are all members of the RMT and this is a fight that all of us need to be involved in and the only way we will bring it to a positive conclusion and therefore protect our members jobs is if everyone stands shoulder to shoulder to show the company that we mean business on this issue, and we are not prepared to stand idly by and see our brothers and sisters throw on to the scrap heap because the company wish to protect their profitability and boost the earnings of their shareholders. South West Trains are just using the current financial climate to jump on the band wagon of job losses that are happening across the country at the moment. There is no financial justification for cutting almost 15% of your workforce at a time when passenger numbers are still rising, profitability is up and indeed they have just increased their dividends to their shareholders by 33%. We cannot allow our brothers and sisters to be sacrificial lambs on the altar of profiteering that is now becoming the norm within South West Trains. This is the time to stand and fight to keep our jobs, we must demonstrate to the company that our commitment to defend these jobs is 100% and the membership will not waver in their determination to ensure that South West Trains do not implement compulsory redundancies. There comes a time when all members must think very carefully about their future. This is such a time and I would urge all members to stand together to protect not only the jobs that are currently under threat but also those who at the moment are not. The General Grades Committee will ensure that each member has a personal letter that comes out with their ballot paper which will explain the detail of the dispute. In the meantime if any member wishes to contact me for details surrounding the dispute and how we proceed with it then please contact me on the above mobile phone number. I would ask all branch secretaries and representatives who receive this circular to ensure that it is immediately appended to all notice boards up and down the line in your sphere of influence, and that it is circulated as widely as possible to all members. I would also ask all representatives to communicate with your company council and indeed myself in an attempt to be appraised of the latest information. I will ensure that any future information that we gleam from the company is passed to you at the first opportunity so that you can keep the membership informed at all times. It is vital that we get a 100% yes vote for this industrial action ballot to demonstrate to the company our determination to resist this job destruction exercise. ~ UNITY IS STRENGTH ~ Yours sincerely Pete Gale Regional Organiser Wessex Division Mobile: 07946 386 762 E-Mail:

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