Introduction of 'Avantix' - 'one'
In June 2004 the train operating company, 'one', advised us that they intended to replace the SPORTIS ticket machine with the Avantix machine. Our Company Council representatives discussed the issue at a meeting in September at which management agreed in principle to a new technology agreement to cover the introduction of Avantix but refused our claim for a payment.
The representatives asked for a "Failed to Agree" decision to be recorded on this item but management refused to do so, arguing that the matter was a consultative issue.
I therefore wrote to 'one' at the beginning of October 2004 over their intention to commence training certain grades on the Avantix machines without there being any agreement at Company Council level. Despite repeat letters being sent no response had been received by the middle of January.
In the meantime I had received a request from our Norwich Branch for a ballot for industrial action over the company's refusal to discuss this matter further. This was considered by the General Grades Committee who agreed to this request for a ballot.
At this point the company finally got round to replying. Although they continued to decline our claim for a payment, management did reluctantly agree to a meeting. In the circumstances, the General Grades Committee agreed to suspend the ballot pending the outcome of this meeting which has now taken place. At this meeting the company continued to decline our claim despite the fact that 'one''s parent company, National Express has agreed payments on other TOCs.
The General Grades Committee has now instructed me to commence a ballot for strike action of our members employed in the grades of Conductor (ex GER and Anglia), Ticket Examiner and RPI. I shall continue to keep you advised of developments.