HR falls foul of union tactics

The HR director for South West Trains has hit out at the RMT union for
blocking the company’s pay deal.

Beverley Shears told Personnel Today that the RMT union has refused SWT’s
offer to match the rail industry’s best pay deal, in the dispute over the
difference in pay increases between drivers and other railway staff (guards,
ticket officers and platform staff).

"I find it amazing that at some of the meetings I have been sitting at
the negotiating table with people who do not work for this company and have no
connection with this company whatsoever," she said.

SWT has given non-driving staff a 7.6 per cent increase over 18 months but
this has so far been opposed and more strikes are looming.

Shears believes that union officials, who want the same increase as drivers
but phased in differently, have not had the best interests of SWT’s staff at
the top of their agenda during talks.

"I have been trying my utmost to come up with a workable solution, to
the point that when we were at Acas I said ‘name the best deal in the industry
you have settled for and I will match it’."

"We want to get back to where we were before, a modern customer-focused
business that puts its staff at the forefront of its industrial relations

Shears is convinced the SWT is the victim of political infighting within the
RMT union.

"There is no doubt that we have been caught up in the political
crossfire of the RMT’s general secretary," she added.

A spokesman for the RMT said: "The dispute is over pay increase
disparity between drivers and non-drivers. We want a pay increase of 3.8 per
cent from April and October last year – the same as the drivers.

"We cannot accept an offer that is not equal."

By Paul Nelson

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