New law will enshrine ‘right’ of commuters to minimum service during strikes, says Grant Shapps

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by CentralTrainer, 17 Dec 2019.

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  1. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske On Moderation

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    The RMT has no God-given right to hold everyday ordinary passengers to ransom, particularly when commuters earn so less than drivers and guards.

    As ever with industrial action, both sides have to find a balance between representing members and providing a service.
     
  2. setdown

    setdown Member

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    Forgive me if I’m missing something here. But if the railway workers started a work-to-rule in protest, couldn’t the railway companies just say “right, from date X, your contract now says you work 45-hour week minimum” (for example). In response, a strike is called, but the minimum service level dictates that some trains still run, so the new contract comes into force eventually anyway?

    Unless workers’ contracts have provisions in to stop the above happening, this new law could be very dangerous indeed.
     
  3. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    And they can go further than that; any minor fault on a train, and refuse to take it out.

    Many signallers, who I note don't seem to be included in this legislation, have worked out that if we worked to the absolute letter of the Rule Book we could quite quickly bring the system to a grinding halt.
     
  4. Raul_Duke

    Raul_Duke Member

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    No, the same way your employer couldn’t turn round and go, “right, from next week your contract says you work for free.”

    They could set new starters on on that contact (and I doubt they’d have difficulty)
     
  5. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Not if their current contract stipulates a 38/40 hour week, no.
    And trying to impose those hours would potentially cause other problems, such as 12 hours between shifts.
     
  6. 45107

    45107 Member

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    Just the response the Torys want. The politics of envy and race to the bottom.
    What do wages have to do with protecting your working terms & conditions ?
    Are you saying that because they have a good wage that they should not challenge things ?
     
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Member

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    But you have a god given right to force people to go to work? Worrying logic.
     
  8. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    Isn’t it also DFT & TOC dithering, indecision & backtracking over DCO that’s gifted RMT significant leverage in persuading more of its moderate membership these issues are winnable, provided you demonstrate a willingness to strike for long enough .
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  9. Mordac

    Mordac Established Member

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    "Minimum service" requirements for public service strikes are widespread in much more union-friendly countries, like Spain and Portugal, as has already been mentioned. It's the UK that is the anomaly here. Trying to portray this as extreme Tory union bashing is disingenous in the extreme.
     
  10. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske On Moderation

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    What I'm saying is, there should always be a balance. We all know in this forum that the RMT protests against anything and everything, even if the same terms and conditions have been in place elsewhere without a problem.

    Ordinary everyday workers who just want to earn a living shouldn't be held at a platform because the RMT demand yet more money, yet more concessions, yet more special treatment.

    Drivers and guards do have a good wage, and here in the NW, they're already well served in terms of weekend/Sunday working. A lot of ordinary passengers would kill for the money, terms, and conditions of an RMT guard. Sometimes I think Unions should consider the plight of those who earn less than their members before going on strike.
     
  11. option

    option Member

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    What about the management that put in place timetables that fall apart straight away?
    Or those that order trains that dont work?
    Or those that cut infrastructure funding so it keeps falling apart & causing delays?
     
  12. Raul_Duke

    Raul_Duke Member

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    You’ve literally just described having the balls to set up your own union....
     
  13. virgintrain1

    virgintrain1 Member

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    Why don't they join us then? We also don't work Monday-Friday 9-5
     
  14. theking

    theking Member

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    Indeed. The government should have stuck it out and taken the pain but the RMT have zero compromise because of their 1970's harping leader and their delusion that Corbyn would be PM and labour would renationalise.

    Hopefully it goes that way and with SWR is when the trains arrive they will just move the guards onto the new contracts and thats the end of it.
     
  15. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    Deja vu anyone?

    Boris 'promised' this when he was London Mayor. He would stop Underground staff striking.
    He said it would happen in 2010 once Dave was in power.
    10 years on he has full control of the levers of power, but he still has to negotiate to get it approved.
     
  16. londonboi198o5

    londonboi198o5 Member

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    And this is the issue. Trying to find that balance to avoid such strike.

    people don’t strike for the fun of it they strike because they have no other option.
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  17. NorthernSpirit

    NorthernSpirit Established Member

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    The RMT need to realise that its not 1979 or 1985 anymore. In my view it should be three strikes about the same issue before they (the RMT) are suspended from any strike action for up to six months. What I'm saying is, is that members of the RMT can still strike but it can't be about the same subject after three times in a row it would have to be about something else.

    The problem with skeleton services is that not everywhere would be served so some routes are bound to be covered by rail replacement buses but I can see why the Conservatives are looking at introducing this new law. The RMT needs to think long and hard about the direction that they are going and do they want to become the Cortonwood of the railways. Whereby Cortonwood, the original pit where the miners strike started, is now a site of a retail park.

    I'm also going to add that not all Conservatives are wealthy, most are working class and would rather live in a country of liberty, opportunity and inovation which explains why the late great Mrs Thatcher won three terms. Fair enough she did tear most unions a new one and Boris may well do the same with the RMT.
     
  18. james_the_xv

    james_the_xv Member

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    I think the argument is the RMT are too 'strike happy', and don't exhaust all other options before striking...
     
  19. londonboi198o5

    londonboi198o5 Member

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    RMT are probably the least strike happy union. How many strikes have been called off compared to the strikes that take actual place. People are quick to remember the strikes but forget about the vast amount that get called off.
     
  20. bunnahabhain

    bunnahabhain Established Member

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    It does seem to have been fairly effective, although the 4th day wasn't really necessary. All I can see these Tory proposals achieving is far more working to rule when relations sour between employer and employee, and of course working to rule on an individual case doesn't require a ballot so can be far more unpredictable for company and passengers. At least with an all out strike everybody is able to plan somewhat for the day in question, work to rule can result in folk getting in to work, but there being no train home for hours in the evening.
     
  21. bunnahabhain

    bunnahabhain Established Member

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    Before the EMT strikes in the summer our reps, co-opted members and activists spent over 18 months digging through paperwork and having many meetings with management, seeking legal advice and so on. In this situation I was perfectly satisfied that every available option had been tried before a ballot was even thought of.
     
  22. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    Schapps is barely more trustworthy than Johnson.

    The major issue underlying most significant railway industrial action over the last few years has been the retention of guards on trains, which the public have supported strongly. The strikes have not been about greed or unreasonable demands, but about safety and, yes, job security (one of the fundamental reasons for Unions' existence). The strikes have not been all-out wild demands for, say, the re-introduction of wheel-tappers; they have been about a serious and pivotal issue - the adequate and safe staffing of trains. They have also thrown into sharp relief the reliance of the railway on non-core hours working and the lack of worthwhile/realistic staffing margins to cover absences.

    The need for the TOCs to post their shareholders' profits means that they need to shed costs, and the Tories' dogged adherence to the failed privatisation model means they support the drive. During the interminable GTR industrial action of recent years, I and other users endured vast inconvenience, but I didn't see public support for the cause vanish.
     
  23. devonexpress

    devonexpress Member

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    To be honest with you SWR need to back down a little to using DOO, GWR had the same problem and quickly sorted it, why is it other TOC's such as Northern, SWR etc seem to think they are in the right. At the same time the unions etc need to back down and find a compromise.
     
  24. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    Perhaps it’s claimed RMT ballot more frequently than many other unions (I don’t know the answer )
     
  25. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    Maybe those "ordinary passengers" would relish the training required (to be a proper guard, not a train captain/train manager/customer service advisor, etc.), the frequent abuse/threats from the public, the working in all weathers and hours, and the responsibility and accountability for hundreds of passengers' safety each day.
     
  26. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    That may be so, but I suspect our version will be politically motivated and trumpeted by the government as an early attack on the forces of socialism.

    But the public perception is that the RMT have called numerous strikes over the years, and the fact there is a 27-day strike currently in progress just reinforces that. Remember, like most doings of the Johnson government, this is about playing to their audience. Not helped by the involvement of Cash, and Crow before him, in political causes having little relevance to the interests of the membership - and of course the Tory press seizes on such things and keeps them in the public eye.
     
  27. virgintrain1

    virgintrain1 Member

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    Here here!
     
  28. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Strikes by Sector 2018 ONS figures:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentan...orkingconditions/articles/labourdisputes/2018
    (Figure is days lost per 1000 employees in 2018, i.e. length/size of strike) then Number of Strikes

    Agriculture forestry and fishing 0 0
    Mining, quarrying and Electricity, gas, air conditioning 1 1
    Manufacturing 1 5
    Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities and Water Supply 21 4
    Construction 0.8 3
    Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, and Accommodation and Food Services 0.3 6
    Transport and storage
    30 25
    Information and Communication 8 2
    Financial and Insurance, Real estate, Professional, Scientific, Technical and Admin Activities 1 5
    Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
    12 4
    Education
    67 17
    Health and Social Work 1 6
    Other 1 3

    The industries highlighted have consistently been the big three for over a decade.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  29. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Established Member

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    If the RMT used strike action as a last resort and there was a strike very rarely, this legislation wouldn’t even be being discussed.

    As it is, the RMT seem to use strike action as a first resort, there is never a week goes by where they aren’t either having a strike, ballotting for a strike, or threatening strike action in a press release.
     
  30. carriageline

    carriageline Established Member

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    I don’t disagree about the 1980s jibe, as a younger union member I cringe at some of the wording and phrases used. It is about time they got up to the times.

    But I disagree completely with a strike being the first action. Can you provide any evidence of this, as I’ve never seen it! I see months upon months of continual communication backwards and forwards, ballots on whether XYZ is acceptable, email and letters, ACAS intervention. Then when there is nothing left, they ballot for strike. What you have to remember is the members choose to go on strike, and ultimately lose money. If they believed the cause was not being handled well, or wasn’t worth striking for, they wouldn’t vote for it!



    As above, can you provide anything to back that up? As I’ve never seen anything like that, but perhaps it’s different for different grades.
     
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