Don't put political messages on the destination display

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jopsuk

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I mean, really, this should be obvious, yes?
To be clear: this would be just as unacceptable and I'd expect the company to take the same action if they'd posted the opposite message

South West Trains employee suspended after 'Vote Out' Brexit message appears on side of train
18:00, 31 MAY 2016 UPDATED 19:26, 31 MAY 2016
BY JAMES CHAPPLE
The message was seen by an eagle-eyed passenger arriving at Woking on another service at the same time

The 'Vote Out' message was seen on a South West Trains service at Woking
A South West Trains (SWT) employee has been suspended after a message appearing to support the EU referendum Leave campaign appeared emblazoned on the side of a train.

The message, which read simply "Vote Out", flashed up on the electronic destination display on the side of the train and was spotted by a passenger on another service near Woking railway station.

The passenger, who did not wish to be named, told Get Surrey they were on the 8.15pm London Waterloo to Yeovil Junction service on Sunday when they saw the message.

"I got off at Woking," they said. "I had a look myself at the other train. It left [Waterloo]before us but we passed it a few minutes before reaching Woking [at 8.45pm], which is when I took the picture."

It is understood the service in question was the 8.07pm London Waterloo to Basingstoke and Alton splitting service, which would have arrived into Woking railway station at 8.42pm.

When contacted by Get Surrey, a spokesman for SWT said: "The EU referendum is a matter for the electorate.

"Our company has taken no position on the issue. If this has appeared on one of our trains, it has been without our knowledge or authorisation."

Pressed on how such a message could have appeared on the side of one its trains, the SWT spokesman added: "We can confirm a South West Trains employee has been suspended as part of an internal investigation into the matter."

It's not the first time an unorthodox message has appeared on an SWT service.

In March, a London Waterloo service - which called at Haslemere en route - was jovially renamed "Trainy McTrainface" using the same electronic destination display.

Matthew Fifield (@funfield5)
SWT also has a reputation for allowing staff to cheer or diffuse situations through humour or fun and games.

The company's famous quizmaster guard, for instance, helped hundreds of weary travellers pass the time after a line-side fire at Vauxhall caused major delays on Surrey services earlier this month.

Meanwhile, during major national or sporting events, SWT has frequently taken to renaming stations to suit the occasion or flashing up amusing messages on station displays to mark the event.

However, it is unclear whether on these occasions, it has been staff acting beyond their brief to bring a little respite to passengers, or the decision has been made by the company.

SWT did not respond to Get Surrey's query as to what members of staff would have access to the onboard displays.

I'm guessing this may lead to a tightening up of SWT's rules on the messages. Which is shame, but as ever it only takes one idiot overstepping to ruin things.
 
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dgl

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Exactly, having a bit of fun is fine but political messages on the side of the train, no thanks!
 

edwin_m

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Rather appropriate that it should have been the:
Basingstoke and Alton splitting service

Perhaps, in the interests of balance, the joining service in the opposite direction should have carried a message supporting the Remainers?
 

theironroad

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Suspending the employee seems an over reaction.

The company could have told the employee not to do it again and send a brief to all employees not to do it or other similar messages.
 

najaB

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Suspending the employee seems an over reaction.
No, it isn't. The employee effectively made a political statement on behalf of SWT. What they do in their private life is up to them, dragging the company's name into a bitter political debate is another matter all together.

To my mind they were lucky not to get sacked for gross misconduct.
 

NSEFAN

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theironroad said:
Suspending the employee seems an over reaction.

The company could have told the employee not to do it again and send a brief to all employees not to do it or other similar messages.
Depends on how much the company feels that the employee has brought them into disrepute by using the train to promote a political opinion.
 

DarloRich

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Suspending the employee seems an over reaction.

The company could have told the employee not to do it again and send a brief to all employees not to do it or other similar messages.

depends what their social media policy says, any previous instructions on the point, internal railway rules on the use of information screens and whether there have been any breaches in the past. It would be hard to avoid the suspension given the nature of the message and the current political machinations.
 

AM9

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No, it isn't. The employee effectively made a political statement on behalf of SWT. What they do in their private life is up to them, dragging the company's name into a bitter political debate is another matter all together.

To my mind they were lucky not to get sacked for gross misconduct.

I agree with that. If this act wasn't dealt with appropriately it would give any other employee licence to promote whatever political cause they wished. BNP policies maybe?
 

aformeruser

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No, it isn't. The employee effectively made a political statement on behalf of SWT. What they do in their private life is up to them, dragging the company's name into a bitter political debate is another matter all together.

To my mind they were lucky not to get sacked for gross misconduct.

Indeed. It's said in the article SWT turn a blind eye to humorous messages so if the staff member had put something like "Vote In, Out, Shake it all about" I doubt they would have been suspended. However, putting 'Vote Leave' suggests SWT back Vote Leave and might anger many of SWT's passengers if SWT didn't take action.
 

Deepgreen

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depends what their social media policy says, any previous instructions on the point, internal railway rules on the use of information screens and whether there have been any breaches in the past. It would be hard to avoid the suspension given the nature of the message and the current political machinations.

Interesting to add train destination displays to the category of 'social media'!
 

HH

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Given Souter's support of SNP, the only 'Leave' he would support is Scotland from the Union...
 

HarleyDavidson

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I doubt they'd see the funny side of "In, Out, Shake it all about". besides it won't fit on one unit, you'd have to do it over 3!

I tried a humorous message once and got a right rollocking out of it.

And if you're wondering why I haven't been here very much it's because I know that I'm being monitored and this place has a reputation, so I now seldom come here.
 
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bramling

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I doubt they'd see the funny side of "In, Out, Shake it all about". besides it won't fit on one unit, you'd have to do it over 3!

I tried a humorous message once and got a right rollocking out of it.

And if you're wondering why I haven't been here very much it's because I know that I'm being monitored and this place has a reputation, so I now seldom come here.

A shame - I for one very much enjoy reading your posts and appreciate your honest and knowledgable outlook.

Regarding the issue in question, I tend to agree that using a train to display a political message is not appropriate. Perhaps SWT's response may be heavy-handed, however it could have caused serious implications for the company's reputation, and there's bound to be something in the company's Code Of Conduct (or whatever) which prohibits such activity.

(The impression I get is many railway staff seem to be planning to vote out, a quick straw-poll at my location found just 1 in 10 in a messroom of 70 planning to vote in. Either the polls at large are wrong or my location is untypical?!).
 

Tetchytyke

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No, it isn't. The employee effectively made a political statement on behalf of SWT. What they do in their private life is up to them, dragging the company's name into a bitter political debate is another matter all together.

I completely agree with you najaB, but can't help but feel SWT are being just a teensy bit hypocritical, given the well-publicised political proclivities of their owner.
 

TheEdge

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(The impression I get is many railway staff seem to be planning to vote out, a quick straw-poll at my location found just 1 in 10 in a messroom of 70 planning to vote in. Either the polls at large are wrong or my location is untypical?!).

Might be a bit of an extreme one but its similar at my depot. Not as much of a majority but still a majority want out.
 

theironroad

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I completely agree with you najaB, but can't help but feel SWT are being just a teensy bit hypocritical, given the well-publicised political proclivities of their owner.

I'm pretty sure stagecoach group stay apolitical so not to offend their extremely broad customer base.

Souter's personal views and monetary contributions are another matter.

Yes, this message on the side of the train was inappropriate and no doubt all staffed will be briefed on it, but suspension, or as someone here has suggested sacking for gross misconduct, is using a sledge hammer to crack a peanut.
 

cjmillsnun

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I'm pretty sure stagecoach group stay apolitical so not to offend their extremely broad customer base.

Souter's personal views and monetary contributions are another matter.

Yes, this message on the side of the train was inappropriate and no doubt all staffed will be briefed on it, but suspension, or as someone here has suggested sacking for gross misconduct, is using a sledge hammer to crack a peanut.

No it really isn't. If I was to put my political views in public on my company's asset (or an asset leased by my company) I would be sacked. End of story.
 

theironroad

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No it really isn't. If I was to put my political views in public on my company's asset (or an asset leased by my company) I would be sacked. End of story.

Well I don't know who you work for, but when a full investigation is carried out I bet it will be found that the full repercussions weren't thought through and the person apologises and no harm is done.

I also reckon very few people will have actually seen it until it was tweeted.

Yes it was inappropriate, but a sense of proportion is always a good guide.
 

najaB

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Well I don't know who you work for....

Yes it was inappropriate, but a sense of proportion is always a good guide.
Almost all employers would have taken similar action. Using company assets to make an unauthorised political statement is gross misconduct, plain and simple.
 

D6975

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There's been a bit of a spat here in Bristol because the council sent out a leaflet with information on how to vote that showed a hand about to put a cross in the 'remain in European Union' box on a ballot slip.
They're sending out an amended one now.
 

AndyPJG

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There's been a bit of a spat here in Bristol because the council sent out a leaflet with information on how to vote that showed a hand about to put a cross in the 'remain in European Union' box on a ballot slip.
They're sending out an amended one now.

BBC News item
The Electoral Commission has called on Bristol city council to scrap an EU referendum how-to-vote guide over claims it favours the Remain campaign.
A UKIP MEP complained about the pictorial instructions on how to vote, which show a pencil hovering over the Remain box.
The election watchdog said the graphic "shouldn't have been used".
Bristol City Council said it would amend the form and insisted it was not trying to influence the vote. ...
 

Blindtraveler

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Whilst political statements shouldnt appear on PIS screens Im in agreement that suspention is a bit much and that a good bottle and reminder to staff to watch what theyr doing would have been sufficiant. It would seam that SWT are into over reaction though if a poster on this forum who has do no more than use an internet forum in his own time is being monitered for doing so, total nanny state big brother situation and as long as the individual is making statements that are disclaimed as his own shouldnt give any employer any issues
 

GatwickDepress

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Whilst political statements shouldnt appear on PIS screens Im in agreement that suspention is a bit much and that a good bottle and reminder to staff to watch what theyr doing would have been sufficiant. It would seam that SWT are into over reaction though if a poster on this forum who has do no more than use an internet forum in his own time is being monitered for doing so, total nanny state big brother situation and as long as the individual is making statements that are disclaimed as his own shouldnt give any employer any issues
Eh? How is a private company monitoring their employees "nanny state"? I don't agree with SWT monitoring HarleyDavidson's internet usage, but "nanny state" is now one of those phrases that has officially lost all meaning.
 

theageofthetra

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The person who did it was very silly and irresponsible and may well pay for expressing an opinion by losing their job. What I have far more of issue with is the pathetic grass who was so 'offended' that they felt the need to publicise it . I come from a generation where snitches were taken round the back of the p.e block and given a good kicking.
 

AndyNLondon

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The person who did it was very silly and irresponsible and may well pay for expressing an opinion by losing their job. What I have far more of issue with is the pathetic grass who was so 'offended' that they felt the need to publicise it . I come from a generation where snitches were taken round the back of the p.e block and given a good kicking.

Thankfully, most grown adults recognise that people should take responsibility for their actions, and that "I'm bigger than you & will beat you up if you don't do what I say" isn't a very good way of organising society.
 

HH

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Might be a bit of an extreme one but its similar at my depot. Not as much of a majority but still a majority want out.

Well there are quite clear lines based on age and geographical area (probably occupation as well). If you're you're young and based in London chances are you're a remain, for example.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The person who did it was very silly and irresponsible and may well pay for expressing an opinion by losing their job. What I have far more of issue with is the pathetic grass who was so 'offended' that they felt the need to publicise it . I come from a generation where snitches were taken round the back of the p.e block and given a good kicking.

An antediluvian attitude, if ever there was one. I'm not keen on tittle tattle myself, but there's more than enough pointless violence around already.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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(The impression I get is many railway staff seem to be planning to vote out, a quick straw-poll at my location found just 1 in 10 in a messroom of 70 planning to vote in. Either the polls at large are wrong or my location is untypical?!).

I heard on the radio today that the RMT supports Vote Leave, on the grounds that the EU is forcing a "race to the bottom" on workers rights and benefits.
In my view it's the Brexiteers who want to tear up the Social Chapter, not the EU.
 

HH

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I heard on the radio today that the RMT supports Vote Leave, on the grounds that the EU is forcing a "race to the bottom" on workers rights and benefits.
In my view it's the Brexiteers who want to tear up the Social Chapter, not the EU.

You're absolutely right. But I suspect that the majority of their members are brexiters, probably because of their fear of 'migrants'.
 
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