Service Control News: fighting for pay and grading


At the third full functional council of the year RMT put to London Underground numerous issues that remain un-resolved and members are demanding change in. A full agenda of issues was put to LU,  some items made little progress and some made none! The constant frustration and un-acknowledgement of the role Service Control play in keeping the tube moving is coming to a head. The lack of goodwill or support shown by LU to Service Control is pushing the union into a corner; where it’s only option will be to lash out.  LU need recognise and value their staff for the work they do and the constant battles we fight everyday to keep the service moving.

All the agenda items we presented to London Underground are presented in full below with the responses we received.


With the introduction of 4LM at HSCC the previously proposed Pay Progression system has seen little to no interest with a mass exodus of staff leaving the company. Staff Side believe the pay progression system to not be fit for purpose and the scope of grading and pay for all roles at HSCC needing urgent attention.

With the increased roles and responsibilities for all staff working at HSCC running 40% on the London Underground Network the job there is unlike any other control room and to draw the correct interest in experience and abilities the grading currently used is not fit for purpose.

As such Staff Side believe every grade should be stepped up to the next available pay band or a new pay band created with a minimum increase of 2.5% above the top of the previous pay band. This includes all SCL1, SCL2, LIS, SM roles.

LU Response
They will discuss this with the unions on the 12th October. They liked concept of the current HSCC Pay Progression system as they got something out of it too.
LU are only now finally coming round the table with the progression of the building dispute, return a YES vote to show we are an organised & strong workforce and will also take this item as far as needed.

In light of the long term recruitment and retention issues currently affecting service control, the previous mantra that there were hordes of applicants waiting in the sidelines to take up the roles has clearly not materialised. As a result, we face an unparalleled crisis where we may soon find ourselves with insufficient qualified staff to safely run our railway. Staffside have been warning of this for years yet it is only now that the scale of the problem is being viewed seriously. This is a much a concern to Staffside as it is to the Company, as it ultimately affects our members and may further exacerbate their desire to leave if left unaddressed. To this end, we sought some feedback as to what may stem the tide whilst all other avenues are exhausted to fill the long-standing vacancies.

One key theme emerges – that a radical shake up of the existing remuneration structure is urgently needed.

As an example, the current banding system may have been appropriate 10 years ago when it allowed for redundant grades or ‘equivalent’ transfers to take place, (much of which caused resentment). However, as the majority of cabins across the combine have closed in light and aggregation of grades has occurred, this policy is proving to be an avoidable barrier to our recruitment and retention. When the majority of our most valuable and experienced staff have languished around the bottom of their bands for 20+ years, (and even those whom have been fortunate enough to obtain regular PRP struggle around the lower quadrants of a band), it is clear that something needs to be done to stop us haemorrhaging more experienced staff.

In addition. given the ever increasing complexity and workloads currently within different control rooms, the precedent and need for tailored remuneration was already acknowledged back in 2016 when the ‘grade progression’ framework was agreed for Hammersmith Control Centre. However, even this unprecedented financial uplift has failed to stem the tide of resignations, transfers and retirements at that location. A similar trend has also been seen in other control rooms, with vacancies and leavers at an all time high.

It is clear that there is a disconnect between what Management perceive to be enticing, and what staff on the ground feel is needed. Establishing fixed bands according to experience would help to eliminate much of the discontentment and resentment that is currently rife in Service Control where it is not uncommon to have a less experienced colleague potentially earning £5000 more for the same role regardless of its complexity or fairness. We recognise that this may need to be a long term fix, but anything that can make our key staff feel valued and motivated to stay in Service Control must be a mutually acceptable goal for all sides – both now and well into the future.

RMT Staff Side propose that there should be 3 salary pay points for all grades, namely, a standard employee ‘entry’ pay point, followed by a ‘newly qualified’ and subsequent ‘experienced’ rate. This principle has already been adopted for 4LM/SSR as the needs of the business merited such an approach. We see the current situation in the same light and should be a logical step to standardise what is rapidly becoming a fragmented and divisive policy across the combine.

LU Response
They would look at timelines of reviewing the current PRP structure.

Staff Side notes that Train Operators’ (and others) reward for working on 31st December and 1 st January far exceeds that offered to Service Control staff for working on the same date.
Service Control staff currently scheduled to work on 31st December and 1st January do so for no enhancement, beyond their rostered pay and without such work being offered on a voluntary basis.

Staff Side insist that Service Control staff are fairly rewarded for working 31st December

1st January as follows:

Complete parity in pay with Train Operators (and others) for working on 31 st December and 1st January

LU Response
They would not consider this and we will be referring this back to RMT Head Office

Staff Side notes that Train Operators’ reward for working on 26th December far exceeds that offered to Service Control staff for working on the same date. Service Control staff currently scheduled to work on 26th December do so for no enhancement beyond their rostered pay and without such work being offered on a voluntary basis.

Staff Side acknowledges that existing arrangements for working 26th December which were in place prior to the Service Control Agreement were vacated as part of that agreement, however Staff Side contends that the rewards for Train Operators and Service Control staff for working on 26th December have diverged considerably and overwhelmingly in favour of Train Operators in the fifteen years since the Service Control Agreement was ratified.

Staff Side demands that Service Control staff are fairly rewarded for working 26th December as follows:

– Parity in pay with Train Operators for working on 26th December, and

– Working on 26th December to be made voluntary for all Service Control staff

LU Response
They would not consider this and we will be referring this back to RMT Head Office

The Machinery of Negotiation & Consultation 2011 section 11.1 (section 3) states the purpose of a functional council is to negotiate:

Impact upon staff of the introduction of new timetables & schedules

Staffside believe LU has bypassed the Service Control Functional Council with the introduction of new timetables and has never been presented with timetables for negotiation prior to their implementation for negotiation.

As such staffside now demand the Machinery of Negotiation & Consultation be adhered to and:
All future timetables must be negotiated with the Service Control Functional Council prior to introduction.

Staffside also feel with numerous increases in service and the failure to negotiate these there has been an impact on Service Control workload without appropriate recognition & reward.

Staffside demand LU provide a full review of timetables and service increases since 2011 and a backdated pay award be provided for these.

LU Response
They would present new timetables and planning to the council prior to implementation but didn't believe negotiating should include anything to do with pay rewards for new timetables.

Management-side have failed to comply with the requirements of the LU H&S machinery in relation to consultation at Tier 2 on the impacts of the changes to the 4LM project which propose a reduction to the headcount of SCL1 staff at Hammersmith (Grove Road) SCC and the reduction of operational signalling control desks. The impacts of these proposed reductions have not been subject to HF Analysis nor have any alterations been discussed at Tier 2 H&S Council. Proposals have been consulted on at Functional Council and then have been briefed out to all staff without any detailed discussion on the impact this will have on workload, tasks, safety and welfare.

This breach of the Health & Safety Machinery is another example of management-side attempting to circumnavigate the correct consultation processes by bypassing critical elements of safety evaluation, instead opting to discuss matters in the machinery of negotiation and consultation at SCFC instead of at Tier 2 SCHSC.

We therefore insist that with immediate affect all proposals to reduce headcount in the SCL1 grades at Hammersmith SCC are withdrawn until such time as full and proper consultation has taken place within the Health & Safety Machinery and that all matters relating to the 4LM project scope have been examined by our H&S Council representatives and their comments have been recorded formally and requests for HF and other safety related data have been complied with.

This matter is being brought before the Functional Council with a view to remedy at this level, however as the Chair of the SCFC is the same Manager who chairs the SCHSC, it is likely that the breach of the H&S Machinery and the failure to consult may not be objectively viewed and therefore may require referral from SCFC to the next level of the machinery.

LU Response
They would review if they've missed out consultation with H&S reps.

Staffside were presented a range of proposals for the 4LM upgrade at HSCC. In the presentation we were also presented with options for staff who will be displaced by the upgrade. The options presented do not fully take into scope or adhere to the agreements made at ACAS and as such staffside believe these items should be urgently reconsidered.

Staff should not be narrow boated into a train operator role and a range of jobs and roles should be available to them including the best geographical locations of their choice. This should be done via a displacement and career conversation with the staff involved to find the best alternative role and to assist with career development. Consideration should be taken to put staff into roles that take staffing levels in the location they chose over establishment, and not just into roles with vacancies that suit the company. This will further enhance the skills in that business unit and to assist with future natural wastage and ongoing movements within the business.

Roles & Options to be included but not limited to:
Train Operator (Including Management Roles)
Stations (All grades & Including Management Roles)
Fleet (All grades & Including Management Roles)
Track & Signals (All grades & Including Management Roles)
Upgrades & Projects
Other Admin & Office Based Roles

Furthermore displaced staff should not put any other promotions or waiting lists move for other staff across at LU at detriment. So displaced staff should be placed above establishment to assist with the continued moves and promotions of staff across the business.

The continued working conditions of displaced staff should be protected with no use of ‘pool’ arrangements. Staff should be provided with an agreed working roster.

Staff displaced should not be left on the HSCC SCL1 waiting list as their only option as this does not provide a priority return to service.

Following on from the 2008 Dispute Resolution from London Underground the following principles should be followed:

Closed listing of all future Service Control vacancies to those displaced and within Service Control 
“How closed listing can be applied to ensure that Service Control staff whose posts are put at risk by the Upgrades can be treated preferentially”

The previous dispute resolution provided support for SO4’s and stated support for SO1-3 grades will be reviewed separately, we want this expanded on with the following points for ALL displaced staff.

1) Future SCL2/SCL1/DRM/LIS assessments will not be a pass or fail process but will be used to highlight any training or development needs for any displaced staff who have expressed an interest in the above posts and will be a genuine commitment to prepare the employee for the process of retraining.

2) We will replace the interview with a Training Gap discussion and, as suggested, pick up the aspects currently assessed at interviews in other ways.

The protected earnings for life agreement agreed by LU at ACAS was in the view of the reps in attendance an agreement to act as a safety net for staff who become displaced until they become re-integrated into Service Control or find an alternative role they choose to remain in.

The proposals put forward to all of staffside at the upgrades meeting completely disregarded this with LU’s proposal to take staff out of this protection if they failed SCL1 training at HSCC.

Staffside do not believe this acts on the agreement in a fair or supportive manner and the agreement must be upheld as a Protected Earnings for Life agreement. Not with additional clauses which LU is now creating.

With the priority return for service control suggestions placed forward by staffside this agreement could be upheld while returning as many staff back into service control as possible, minimising any potential cost for LU for staff on protected earnings outside of service control.

LU Response
They would open up continued talks regarding 4LM to iron out issues as the upgrade progresses but had not made any set in stone decisions yet.

At the upgrades meeting Staff Side were presented with proposed staffing levels of the HSCC SCL1 grade with a reduction in SCL1 numbers that were previously expected from an estimated 60 to 45.

While with the suspension of SMA 10,11,12 it is understandable that less staff will be required this creates an even larger pool of displaced staff across the network and puts more staff at risk of losing valuable Service Control experience.]

With this in mind Staff Side believe the SCL1 staffing level at HSCC be no less than 60 on the following grounds:

Minimising levels of displaced staff across Service Control
Supporting development and release of SCL1 staff at HSCC into SCL2, SM & other roles.
Supporting bedding in of new signalling system
Increased training time available for SCL1s to upskill and incident manage to support SCL2s
Keeping Service Control skill levels high and availability of staff to move to other roles and locations when suitable vacancies and promotions become available.
LU Response
Talks regarding 4LM upgrades would continue but LU believed if there was a reduction in scope then there should also be a reduction in staffing levels

Staff-Side have previously submitted proposals for the amendment of the number of IR local representatives to reflect management-led changes to the Service Control constituencies over the last 15-20 years (MoN&C 2000 and the 2005 SCR). These changes to grades, locations and job roles have led to the continued reduction in Local IR Representation within Service Control which has adversely impacted the ability of the RMT to effectively manage issues at the lowest levels of the machinery. This in turn has led to several instances where matters which could have been locally resolved, have instead only been able to be discussed at SCFC level and often without adequate resolution. This has in turn led to poor outcomes for both LU and the staff concerned, has adversely impacted morale, increased the workload for Level 2 Representatives who have limited time-resource to manage all cases, and ultimately led to increased dispute situations within our function.

The current machinery was drafted in 1998 and implemented in 2000, at that time several grades which now exist within Service Control were represented by other Councils (MATS, Signalling and C&C Council). The amalgamation of Signalling, Command & Control, DRM, LIS and NOC grades in 2005 saw an increase in each constituent areas, however the 2000 machinery was not adapted at that time to factor in the changes brought about by the Service Control Review. Since that time, also owing to management-led changes to the Business Operating Model, several Service Control locations have been merged in to new Service Control Centres which in turn have seen the loss of local IR representatives due to managements refusal to map across representatives to reflect the increase in staff numbers within a Service Delivery Unit (now defunct). In addition, NOC operations have developed and introduced new operating grades to Service Control such as the Network Incident Response Managers.

In 2001 the SCFC made representations to SCFC and Employee Relations, and for a period of 4 years LU accepted the election of local IR reps to the new Service Control Centres based on one IR Rep per TU on each line for Line Controllers/SDM’s, SCCA’s and DLCM’s/DOM’s, DLM’s, DMTM’s TMRA’s and TMM’s. In 2004 following the disputes which led up to the 2005 Service Control Review Management-side unilaterally withdrew this agreement and reverted to the 2000 Machinery of Negotiation and Consultation which outlined a reduced number of IR Local Representatives that was not reflective of the staff numbers and constituencies. This was clearly not in the interests of the business or in the spirit of harmonious industrial relations.

In order to more accurately reflect the many changes to the Service Control constituencies and grades which have occurred over the past two decades, staff-side now propose the following Local IR representation structure which will allow for the Machinery of Negotiation and Consultation to work effectively and re-introduce compliance with the spirit of the machinery as it relates to dealing with IR matters at the lowest level, locally. This proposal has been drafted in line with the general principle of the machinery as outlined in Annexe C, Section 1 and also invoking Section 2.2 of the same (see proposal below)

RMT Staff-Side proposal

The current position whereby RMT has no local IR Representatives for the SM, SCL, LIS, DRM, SCAC and NIRM grades is not sustainable, nor does it allow for the machinery to be properly applied to Service Control staff. We therefore propose the following improvements to representation without further delay:

Bakerloo Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Bakerloo Line SCC (SM, SCL and LIS grades) and Bakerloo Line DRM’s.

Central Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Central and Waterloo & City Lines SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades) and Central Line DRM’s.

Victoria Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Victoria Line SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades) and Central Line DRM’s.

Jubilee Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Jubilee Line SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades), Stratford Market Depot (SCL Grades), Jubilee Line DRM’s and SCAC’s.

Northern Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Northern Line SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades) and Northern Line DRM’s.

Piccadilly Line Service Control – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Piccadilly Line SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades) and Piccadilly Line DRM’s and SCAC’s.

Sub-Surface Railway (Metropolitan, C&H and District Lines) – 2 Local IR Representatives RMT covering Hammersmith SCC (SM, SCL and LIS Grades), Neasden TMR (SCL Grades), Metropolitan Line DRM’s, C&H Line DRM’s, District Line DRM’s, District Line DSCM’s and all SSR SCAC’s.

London Underground Control Centre – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering the LUCC (SM and SCL grades) and Network Incident Response Managers.

In addition to the above this proposal requires the retention of existing local IR Representation in the Service Operator Grades until such time as these grades are amalgamated in to the SCL grades;

Metropolitan Line Service Operators – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering Metropolitan Line Signal Cabins.

District Line Service Operators – 1 Local IR Representative RMT covering District Line Signal Cabins.

Piccadilly Line Service Operators – 2 Local IR Representatives RMT covering Piccadilly Line Service Operators.

This proposal combined with the existing local representation within our Service Operator grades will provide for an initial quota of 13 IR Representatives to cover 38 operational locations where our members are based. In the future staff migration to modern Control Centres will reduce representative numbers to 9 covering 29 operational locations subject to any further management-led changes which will be subject to review at this Council.

From the above RMT representative numbers, 3 representatives will be appointed to serve on the Service Control Functional Council and hold this position in addition to their local IR position. They will be afforded adequate and appropriate release to carry out their functions as Level 1 and Level 2 representatives in accordance with the facility time provided to other Line Ops Functional Councils (Trains) and this will be subject to negotiation at Council. Local IR Representatives will be afforded release time to enable them to carry out their functions, this will be agreed locally with their SCM with any disagreements referred to Functional Council.

We hope management-side will acknowledge the benefits of improving Industrial Relations through a commitment to increasing the level of representation within Service Control, and that agreement will be reached on our proposal for the reinstatement of local RMT IR representatives across our Service Control areas.

LU Response
LU refused to negotiate or even discuss options going forward with their belief that 3 functional reps is enough for all of Service Control.

The Service Control Joint Working Party (JWP) was disbanded by Management under the reasoning that Hammersmith is open and there was nothing further to discuss with regard to upgrades, at least this is how it was interpreted by Staff Side.

It was suggested by the JWP Chair that the SCFC Chair can restart the JWP if there was reason to do so. Staff Side strongly requests the immediate return of the JWP and acknowledge this statement.
There are several ongoing and new issues evolving, which are going unchecked jointly and are in danger of creating further industrial grievances. Staff Side believe the disbandment of the JWP was premature and a mistake industrially.

The Staff Side believes that, agreements, assurances and principles made under the JWP umbrella have failed to comply with the principles or agreements reached in meetings going back as far as 2012.
The slides and minutes of these meetings reflect a vast array of assurances that have failed in their implementation, not only as was intended but also by an actively frustrating what was firmly agreed.
It may be expected from Management that on this agenda item, Staff Side may be requested to provide documents, minutes and slides at which point we will of course oblige if necessary.
We refrain from quoting documents currently in this item, because of the considerable size of the amount of documents which would support this claim. We therefore request that Management read
through the documentation from JWP meetings in the past and Directors’ meeting minutes.

We express concern that multiple joint agreements made have not materialised in the form initially intended.

For example, the slow uptake for SCL1 grades to develop towards SCL2 has had a serious impact on training and workload for incumbent SCL2 staff. We also note the grade progression agreements have been frustrated and this needs further consolation. Staff Side suggest on the pay progression that all
SCL2’s be immediately put to the top of the band to compensate some but to reward as agreed during JWP talks.

These are just two areas simply to provide an example, but the rest of the issues should be discussed at the JWP. Once again, we reiterate that this item cannot hold all the Staff Side points, therefore the only solution is to meet and revisit the JWP content and resolve to work together to the benefit of all.

Staff side insist on the immediate re-introduction of the JWP ASAP.

LU Response
LU refused to re-introduce the Joint Working Party (JWP)

Management-side have failed to consult at Tier 2 Service Control H&S Council on the safety implications of the proposed DRM review. At the Tier 2 meeting on the 10th of December 2019 the high-level overview of the proposal was presented at Tier 2 where Staff-Side raised several issues relating to, but not limited to Training, Workload, Task analysis, Rostering and Deployment. Management-side refused to discuss these safety matters at Tier 2 and instead provided a response that they would continue to discuss the issues at the ‘Ad-Hoc DRM Review Service Control Functional Council meetings’. Staff-side objected and raised several questions at this meeting, but none were covered by detailed responses or discussion from Management-side, with the answer that it was being discussed at SCFC. The SCFC being the incorrect forum in which to discuss matters relating to Health, Safety and Welfare.

The DRM Review proposal has a number of safety related impacts that clearly need to be discussed at Tier 2 in line with the H&S Machinery in line with the agreement:

3.1 The purpose of this Machinery is to define LU’s processes for ensuring that health and safety matters that affect or may affect employees can be openly discussed between LU and its employee Health and Safety Representatives as required by the Safety Representatives and Committees Regulations 1977. This will facilitate the identification of health and safety issues, the constructive development and implementation of solutions and continuous improvement of Health and safety in the workplace. 

3.2 Provisions for the involvement of Health and Safety Representatives in risk assessment, incident investigation and other health and safety processes are contained within the individual LU Health, Safety and Environmental Standard concerned and are not repeated in this Machinery. 

3.3 Welfare matters shall be implicit within the health and safety machinery. 

There is also a legal duty to consult with regards to these changes in compliance with the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977:

Functions of safety representatives

4.—(1) In addition to his function under section 2(4) of the 1974 Act to represent the employees in consultations with the employer under section 2(6) of the 1974 Act (which requires every employer to consult safety representatives with a view to the making and maintenance of arrangements which will enable him and his employees to cooperate effectively in promoting and developing measures to ensure the health and safety at work of the employees and in checking the effectiveness of such measures), each safety representative shall have the following functions:— 

(b)to investigate complaints by any employee he represents relating to that employee’s health, safety or welfare at work;

(c)to make representations to the employer on matters arising out of sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) above;

(d)to make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health, safety or welfare at work of the employees at the workplace;

In addition, the Main Agreement for Ops Staff and Ops Managers makes reference to the following:

From discussions with colleague Industrial Relations Representative the SCHSC Representative for RMT has been made aware that the proposals in the DRM review contain specific items which relate to members Health, Safety & Welfare and that these proposed changes will significantly impact staff and require further in-depth consultation on the extent of these impacts particularly in terms of the provision of training, the potential changes and increases in workload and tasks, the provision of welfare facilities and the impacts of rostering alterations and changes to working practices. 

We therefore contend that Management-side has failed to comply with the requirement to undertake full and proper consultation in relation to the DRM review and demand that the implementation process is stopped with immediate effect, to allow for the H&S Machinery to be exercised and consultation on all matters arising from DRM review discussed at SCHSC and all relevant documentation and information supplied to our H&S Tier 2 Representatives.

This matter is being brought before the Functional Council with a view to remedy at this level, however as the Chair of the SCFC is the same Manager who chairs the SCHSC, it is likely that the breach of the H&S Machinery and the failure to consult may not be objectively viewed and therefore may require referral from SCFC to the next level of the machinery.

LU Response
They would review if they've missed out consultation with H&S reps.

Staff side insists that the Movements Committee honour the principle that movements within Service Control are not administered at the whim of SCMs

The Service Control Movements Committee meeting on 7th February 2018 (attached) discussed the method by which SCMs discussed between themselves whether a member of staff can be sent or accepted. It was agreed that this process failed to provide the robustness of process and transparency which was reasonably expected by all concerned.

Staff Side insists that the Movements Committee sanctions all transfers and promotions within Service Control. In the event of a member of staff being held back from either transfer or promotion for ‘business needs’, then the SCMs concerned, via the Chair of the Movements Committee, must demonstrate that there is a clear business need for that to take place. 

Staff side requests that SCMs do not influence decisions made at this committee but present the Chair with facts to be discussed.

As there are no minutes of Movements Committee meetings at present, Staff Side also insists on future Movements committees be minted.

LU Response
The movements committee chair committed to work fairly and that it could be minuted.

RMT are wholly opposed to the return of retired staff to Service Control or any other grade in London Underground via any means except the current agreed full time or part time working contracts used in those specific grades. RMT will not accept any return of staff via, zero hour or any other terms and conditions of employment.

RMT also believe the machinery of negotiation was bypassed by London Underground with the mentioning of the proposal being placed before them at an initial meeting then finding out the scheme had already been started.

RMT opposes the return of retired staff for the following reasons and calls for an immediate halt and scrapping of the process for the following reasons:

The use of agency zero hours contracts undermines all other LU staff terms and conditions, which could be replaced with agency workers. They are also being paid more than other staff in control rooms as they are being placed in the middle of the pay band.

Those concerned are being returned to jobs without full training with only a training needs analysis being given, which has not been agreed or consulted with your union at functional council or health & safety council.

Being retired with already lump sums of cash from their pensions there is no jeopardy or fear from mistakes.

Staff on waiting lists for promotions will be queue jumped and this will block any movements, financially disadvantaging those individuals.

No agreed LU processes have been followed in terms of recruitment, testing, training and payment.

The matter has not been agreed and signed off by Functional Council and has not been tabled to Service Control Health & Safety council.

RMT also believe this breaches the law under multiple grounds of the following legislation:

Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.

LU Response
They would be pressing ahead with this plan and will shoulder the risk of it possibly not being legal and a breach of employment law. They would continue to engage with TSSA & ASLEF about the plans.

RMT will be returning this update to Head Office for further action.

Employment Relations Act 1999, section 10…
10. Right to be accompanied.
(1) This section applies where a worker—
(a) is required or invited by his employer to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing, and
(b) reasonably requests to be accompanied at the hearing.
(2A) Where this section applies, the employer must permit the worker to be accompanied at the
hearing by one companion who—
(a) is chosen by the worker; and
(b) is within subsection (3).

Staff side have had several worrying trends by Management to insist members seek alternative Representation, if the Chosen Representative is unavailable for a given date.
There has been occasion where the Manager has given a member alternative dates outside of the selection of dates given by the Rep.
Staff side are also concerned that if the same Manager who wants the meeting, is the same Manager to release the Representative, it is unreasonable for the Manager to insist another Rep is obtained
because the Representative has not been released.

There has also been occasions where more than one Manager is involved in the release of the Representative and they do not communicate, leaving the Representative to back & forth with dates.

There are two points of principle here.
1. The member must have their Rep of choice and the Rep must be given release to attend.
2. The Manager must not coerce the member to seek an alternative Rep until evey effort has been made to release the Rep and the Rep is deemed, without question at fault for not attempting to
arrange release.
Please also note… 13-17 of the Code of Practice.

LU Response
They would try to release reps where possible.