GTR disappointed over RMT's latest call for industrial action
Date: 27 Jul 2016
• Station modernisation plans would improve customer service
• All staff affected have been offered a pay rise or additional allowance
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is disappointed by the RMT’s intention to ballot members of station staff for industrial action over its plans to modernise the way it operates 83 of its busier stations on Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink for the benefit of passengers. The ballot comes as talks about proposed changes are still ongoing.
GTR wants to bring staff out from behind the windows and on to the concourse to work where passengers need them most. Renamed Station Hosts, they will provide assistance and help sell tickets for 2,600 hours longer each week than they do today across the franchise.
GTR has consulted widely on these proposals, and plans to introduce the changes via a ‘pilot’ so as to test the plans and monitor their impact. GTR’s proposals will mean that:
- All affected staff will receive an uplift in salary or an additional allowance, and the working week will be reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours for some
- There is a job for everyone – no compulsory redundancies
- Assurances have been given that safeguard staff security
- All modernised stations will be staffed from the very first train the very last, seven days a week – in total an extra 2,600 hours per week
- Station facilities, like waiting rooms and toilets, will be open for longer
- The stations will continue to sell the full range of tickets currently on sale at ticket offices
- GTR will introduce Oyster ‘pay as you go’ style smartcard ticketing across the network which can be topped up at home and guarantees the cheapest walk-up fare for the day
- Queuing standards will be maintained
- GTR is talking with disability user groups to ensure its plans not only meet but improve the station experience for people with disabilities
- The RMT has been closely involved in the development of these plans to date, and we were still available for talks.
Passenger Service Director at GTR Keith Jipps said: “The RMT’s threat of further industrial action is entirely unwarranted and clearly another bid by the union to disrupt passengers and GTR across as many parts of our franchise as possible.
“We have listened to passengers and modified our proposals, addressing the concerns of both London TravelWatch and Transport Focus.
“Our new Station Hosts will be paid more, be able to work in safety and provide passengers with better customer service, but the RMT is not concerned with improving the experience for passengers and are dismissing significant improvements to the terms and conditions for staff.”
The RMT has written to GTR announcing its intention to ballot members at stations for industrial action over GTR’s plans to introduce station hosts at 83 of its stations across the Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern routes.
Our plans will give passengers access to well-trained station hosts in the concourse, rather than in a ticket office, who will be available to help customers with all of their queries, providing information, offering assistance and helping sell tickets when needed, all at times of the day and days of the week when currently ticket offices are closed.
Furthermore, we have listened to passengers and modified our proposals. The full range of tickets currently available at ticket offices will now be available for sale at all the stations and we reconfirm that no-one will have to queue any longer than they do today.
Further details about GTR’s plans are available in this news release from June: