According to Unite (one of the UK's largest trade unions) the answer is undoubtedly "yes". With the long-running saga between Unite and CT Plus set to continue for the time-being, there are more and more calls upon both Guernsey and Jersey States' Ministers to give the matter serious thought going forwards.
The transfer of Jersey's bus service from Connex to CT Plus earlier this year has caused nothing but controversy; its attempt to impose inferior terms and conditions of employment has left Jersey's bus drivers feeling nothing but aggrieved and ready to strike at any time.
Having previously reached an understanding with the States that in the event the bus service ever transferred to a new operator all members would be re-engaged on existing terms, this has proven not to be the case. Understandably, Unite has now filed an official complaint with the States of Jersey's Complaints Board asking for an urgent review.
CT Plus' decision to impose inferior terms has seen bus drivers' salaries unreasonably cut (for some, by as much as £12,000 per year), contractual benefits removed, and Sunday/ Bank Holiday working made compulsory. Needless to say, Unite is concerned about the welfare of its workers which it believes have been disregarded by CT Plus and the States. Despite numerous attempts to engage directly with CT Plus to discuss the seriousness of the matter, all attempts have failed; not only is it prepared to alter the entire working practice of the operation without any regard for its employees, CT Plus has also chosen to completely ignore the existence of Unite, much to the annoyance of its members.
It is looking increasingly likely that Unite will have to apply to the Jersey Tribunal for a Declaration that CT Plus recognise its existence and the long standing history that the bus service has with the union.
Whether this on-going dispute will ever be resolved to all parties' satisfaction clearly remains to be seen but, for now, Unite members are left with little option but to consider taking industrial action once again, causing more chaos and disruption.
It is quite clear that both islands' Ministers will have to re-consider the issue of providing legal protection to workers whose terms and conditions are being transferred to a new employer. Many commentators have agreed with Unite's suggestion that CT Plus' behaviour is "morally wrong" yet the Jersey Government sees fit to drag its heels on introducing necessary TUPE legislation in line with the UK. As far as Guernsey is concerned, the topic doesn't even appear on any future Government agenda, making the proposed legislation in Guernsey even less of a probability!
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