Retention of Safeguarded travel - revisited

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Gateway, 5 Jun 2015.

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  1. Gateway

    Gateway New Member

    5 Jun 2015
    I wanted to provide an update to a thread originally posted in 2010 by Smudger105e. I'm a TSSA rep and have been assisting a safeguarded member with 34 years rail service who also left under a settlement agreement. After 8 months of battling she DID get her retirement travel cards after our employer and RSTL initially denied them. Her circumstances were slightly different - she was in the process of being made redundant when the employer proposed a settlement agreement - primarily to resolve a long-standing grievance. After she handed back her travel cards our employer claimed she was not entitled to her retirement travel cards (she was 60). Their argument was that since the settlement agreement made no mention of it, she would not retain her travel facilities. We provided evidence to RSTL that she was made redundant (and therefore should retain her safeguarded status), but their records showed it was resignation. Their hands were tied until the employer instructed them it was a redundancy and the employer refused to do so. Eventually we used the data protection act to demand RSTL provide their records on her - and they did so. Guess what - the email from the employer to RSTL gave no reason for leaving, but stated simply that she was not entitled to safeguarded travel. RSTL interpreted this as resignation (which was what the employer had intended). We pointed this out to the head of RSTL, who to her great credit challenged the employer. 2 weeks later my colleague received her new cards in the post and an email from RSTL to say they had corrected her status to redundancy. Evidently the employer had admitted to RSTL that she was made redundant, having repeatedly refused to do so to the staff member, TSSA officer or her solicitor.

    Important points here - firstly, that leavers entitlement to travel facilities is determined by RSTL - NOT by the employer. Secondly, RSTL rules are that the primary consideration for determining entitlement is the reason for leaving - the existence of a settlement agreement is NOT a consideration unless it specifically states that safeguarded travel is withdrawn. If your status in the RSTL system is Retired or Redundant, then RSTL will (assuming you qualify) supply your travel cards, but you they won't take your word for it and you need to get the employer to admit your reason for leaving to RSTL. Thirdly, entitlement to safeguarded travel is a right enshrined in the Railways Act 1993. Your employer has no power to change this outside of the terms of the staff travel scheme. Solicitors may believe that a settlement agreement trumps everything, but so far as safeguarded travel is concerned, your "contract" is with RSTL and RSTL's is with your employer. Unless the settlement agreement specifically mentions travel facilities, your employer can't remove them. Well that's how I visualise it anyhow.

    RSTL were a bit reluctant to provide us with the information - or maybe they were too busy - so we resorted to a subject access request under the Data Protection Act (check the internet for a letter template). However once we pointed out the inconsistency RSTL did query the reason for leaving with the employer - and this was the critical change which resulted in my member getting her travel rights reinstated. Hope this experience might help others.
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2015
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