Report from APC (Attendance, Performance & Conduct Company Council Sub-Committee)

I attended the first meeting of the newly-convened APC Forum last week and whilst awaiting the draft minutes to be sent out from the meeting, just wanted to give our members and reps a preliminary report on what was discussed at this meeting and the current RMT position on a number of important issues. Our newly-appointed delegation consisted of me representing Stations, Dean O' Hanlon representing Trains, and Neil Atkinson representing Engineering Grades. An earlier meeting of this APC Forum had taken place as recently as the 14th of January but, as this was the first occasion that our full delegation had been able to attend since September 2013, there was clearly a lot of issues that we wanted updated on and, where appropriate and relevant, progress to be made urgently and this certainly turned out to be the case.
I am only going to list the main headings and a brief update for this report but will issue a more comprehensive summary when the draft minutes and agreed actions are circulated and agreed which hopefully will be within the next 2-3 weeks.

[1] It was confirmed that the previously agreed Managers Guidelines on the AAW Procedure were still operative and in force, despite not being contained within the current Managers Handbook. Furthermore, a link had now been provided in SOURCE so as to allow anybody easy access to these Guidelines.

[2] The draft minutes of the recent meeting held on the 14th of January 2014 made mention of somebody from Staffside asking for confirmation that the amendments to the fact-finding letter regarding emerging patterning would also be updated on SOURCE. After the RMT side queried the inclusion of this item in the draft minutes, it emerged that an earlier meeting of the Trains Functional Council had discussed the issue and had referred the matter for further discussion to the APC Forum. It seems that the TFC had suggested that THREE similar items could constitute a pattern of non-attendance but the RMT side quickly pointed out that our Union was formally totally opposed to any form of consultation on patterning and the RAINBOW Procedure under which it could be used and we would not be agreeing to any further discussions on the matter at this or any other Forum. Therefore, any non-RMT delegates from the Trains side had no authority or agreement to raise this issue at this Forum and if they did so we would have no alternative but to withdraw from the rest of the meeting.
The Management side Chair of the Forum noted and accepted the RMT's position and no further discussion took place on the matter and it was also formally agreed that the relevant parts of the draft minutes be amended to show that this had happened and that no further action was therefore necessary on this subject.

[3] Proposed new Performance Improvement Policy - It was confirmed by Management that this item had also been tabled for tomorrow's Company Council Meeting but that no further discussion should be held on the matter at this Forum as it did not affect those staff who are currently managed through CMS, e.g. Trains, Stations, and Engineering Grades amongst others.

[4] AAW/Code of Conduct - This referral had come down from the last Company Council Meeting, where UNITE had raised an issue about one of their members being disciplined for Lateness but the Disciplinary Brief had brought the charge under a section of the Code of Conduct and not the relevant part of the AAW Policy that should have been applied. The Staff Side position was that this was clearly wrong and Management agreed to go away and look at the individual circumstances surrounding the case and report back at the next meeting with their findings. But it was again made clear to them that Staff Side would not be budging from their earlier stated position and I do not envisage that this is likely to remain an issue for the future.

[5] Enhanced Pensions Entitlement - This referral came from an earlier edict issued by Management at least 5 years ago, whereby PMAs should be in a position to advise medically-restricted staff whether they are entitled to benefit from an enhanced pension before they make the decision to leave the company. This had not been happening and Staff Side wanted to know why not as the benefit to our members was obvious? Management Side were very honest in admitting that they had only just become aware of this edict as it had allegedly been issued by the Pension Fund Trustees and not cleared with them first but they now accepted that the principle was indeed correct and they would now be taking the following immediate action :

[a] A senior manager from Pensions would be giving the APC Forum a formal presentation at their next meeting,

[b] But in the meantime, a full briefing note will be sent out to all the different Management-side chairs of Forums contained within our machinery and the relevant guidelines have now also been issued to all the lead PMA Managers and told that they are to be instigated with immediate effect.

[6] New Capability and Disciplinary at Work Policies - Even though Management Side noted that there had previously been formal " Failures to Agree" registered at earlier APC Forums on both these proposed policies, they still intended to table both the items for possible ratification at the next day's Company Council Meeting. Staff Side noted Management's intentions, but again registered strong opposition to these planned actions and re-iterated that our representatives at this Meeting would not be considering any possible ratification of these Policies because of the many objections and concerns that they still had on what was now being proposed by the Company.

As I said, I will update RMT reps and members more fully at a later date but in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact either me, Dean, or Neil with any problems or concerns that you would like formally raised at a future APC Forum by us either based on an individual or collective issue.

Kind Regards

Mick Crossey
RMT Staff Side Secretary
Stations Functional Council