RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

43096

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If that’s the view, it’s generally an inaccurate one. Most rail-staff I know are more grateful than ever to be in what is generally acknowledged to be relatively secure, pretty well paid employment. Many of us have worked in other industries and are fully aware of how precarious things are for many people.

There is certainly a strong bias against unionised industries both in the media and amongst the public at large. Perhaps people should stop to consider why this is, and exactly who benefits from it (clue: it isn’t your average wage slave). Especially at a time when more people than ever are working in insecure, zero hours contract type work.

Unfortunately these discussions often seem to bring out an aspect of human nature where people would prefer to see other groups of workers made worse off, than focus on improving things for themselves.

At a time when the government can apparently afford to pay people £30k to do nothing, so it sticks in the craw a little for workers who have been going to work throughout the pandemic to be told there’s nothing left for them!
Your last paragraph rather proves the point you seek to refute in your first paragraph. Given the additional £billions (somewhere north of £10 billion, isn't it?) that the railway has had through the pandemic, giving staff full pay throughout, you're damn right there should be nothing left for rail staff. It would have made far more sense to have furloughed the majority of the TOCs and hired taxis to ferry those who had to travel around, particularly in lockdown #1.

You have had it damned easy compared to every other industry which has had its income annihilated. Go and ask open access operator rail staff what it's like.
 
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YorkshireBear

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If that’s the view, it’s generally an inaccurate one. Most rail-staff I know are more grateful than ever to be in what is generally acknowledged to be relatively secure, pretty well paid employment. Many of us have worked in other industries and are fully aware of how precarious things are for many people.

There is certainly a strong bias against unionised industries both in the media and amongst the public at large. Perhaps people should stop to consider why this is, and exactly who benefits from it (clue: it isn’t your average wage slave). Especially at a time when more people than ever are working in insecure, zero hours contract type work.

Unfortunately these discussions often seem to bring out an aspect of human nature where people would prefer to see other groups of workers made worse off, than focus on improving things for themselves.

At a time when the government can apparently afford to pay people £30k to do nothing, so it sticks in the craw a little for workers who have been going to work throughout the pandemic to be told there’s nothing left for them!





I have to say I’d be absolutely staggered if Scotrail guards were able to do what @380101 claims, and I would take that claim with a very large pinch of salt.

I’ve worked for two TOCs so far, both have guards and drivers represented by the same unions as Scotrail, both have active and relevant MFA policies. These policies would catch exactly this kind of sickness absence and there’s not a thing the union could do about it (apart from ensure the policy is followed correctly).
When the government can afford billions to prop up the rail industry so that there is still an industry. Just because it doesn't look like furlough doesn't mean we are not being handsomely assisted

Rail staff (including myself) have had a pay rise in the fact our pay has stayed static despite income falling off a cliff. Unlilke our transport colleagues in aviation!
 

43066

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Your last paragraph rather proves the point you seek to refute in your first paragraph. Given the additional £billions (somewhere north of £10 billion, isn't it?) that the railway has had through the pandemic, giving staff full pay throughout, you're damn right there should be nothing left for rail staff. It would have made far more sense to have furloughed the majority of the TOCs and hired taxis to ferry those who had to travel around, particularly in lockdown #1.

You have had it damned easy compared to every other industry which has had its income annihilated. Go and ask open access operator rail staff what it's like.

Well that seems to have touched a nerve! I’d suggest the vitriol and aggression in the above post perfectly prove the point I made in my third paragraph.

You also rather overlook the point that the railway is a strategic quasi public sector industry which *always* relies on subsidy, to the tune of billions of pounds per year. The reason it hasn’t been shut down and the staff furloughed is that it would then take months to get it up and running again, and will be vitally important to the recovery of this country in very short order. Even a fairly hawkish Conservative government can see that.

When the government can afford billions to prop up the rail industry so that there is still an industry. Just because it doesn't look like furlough doesn't mean we are not being handsomely assisted

The railway is an essential public service. It was propped up pre pandemic, and it will continue to be propped afterwards. The government has only recently started paying people employed in non essential sectors £30k per year to do nothing.

Rail staff (including myself) have had a pay rise in the fact our pay has stayed static despite income falling off a cliff. Unlilke our transport colleagues in aviation!

Agreed - I’ve had one too - and I’m sure all of us in this industry count our blessings.
 
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the sniper

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Your last paragraph rather proves the point you seek to refute in your first paragraph. Given the additional £billions (somewhere north of £10 billion, isn't it?) that the railway has had through the pandemic, giving staff full pay throughout, you're damn right there should be nothing left for rail staff. It would have made far more sense to have furloughed the majority of the TOCs and hired taxis to ferry those who had to travel around, particularly in lockdown #1.

You have had it damned easy compared to every other industry which has had its income annihilated. Go and ask open access operator rail staff what it's like.

Less of my colleagues probably would have died if they'd been able to stay at home, a couple more avoid hospital. They just had it too damned easy...
 

43096

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Well that seems to have touched a nerve! I’d suggest the vitriol and aggression in the above post perfectly prove the point I made in my third paragraph.

You also rather overlook the point that the railway is a strategic quasi public sector industry which *always* relies on subsidy, to the tune of billions of pounds per year. The reason it hasn’t been shut down and the staff furloughed is that it would then take months to get it up and running again, and will be vitally important to the recovery of this country in very short order. Even a fairly hawkish Conservative government can see that.

The railway is an essential public service. It was propped up pre pandemic, and it will continue to be propped afterwards. The government has only recently started paying people employed in non essential sectors £30k per year to do nothing.
Ah, the smug entitlement of the TOC railway. The only card you're not playing is the nauseating "key worker" one.

Thing is, for many the railway is no longer an essential public service. Kid yourselves all you like, but the need for trains to take people to work is going to be reduced (particularly in the Tory-voting south east). You'd best hope the Treasury doesn't swing the axe at an industry that is a seemingly limitless drain on cash.
 

43066

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Ah, the smug entitlement of the TOC railway. The only card you're not playing is the nauseating "key worker" one.

Not smug at all, thanks very much (no need for insults). Just trying to have a reasonable discussion (I note you haven’t addressed the points in my last post). You clearly have some kind of bee in your bonnet about TOC employees...

Kid yourselves all you like, but the need for trains to take people to work is going to be reduced (particularly in the Tory-voting south east). You'd best hope the Treasury doesn't swing the axe at an industry that is a seemingly limitless drain on cash.

You’d love that wouldn’t you :).

It’ll disappoint you to know that numbers seem to be picking up nicely, where I am, particularly on the leisure side. And that’s before lockdown has even officially ended.
 

Brissle Girl

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It’ll disappoint you to know that numbers seem to be picking up nicely, where I am, particularly on the leisure side. And that’s before lockdown has even officially ended.
We are digressing slightly but I suspect it is going to be commuter traffic which will never return to its previous volumes, particularly now employers have really seen how much they can save on office space (which can be around 20k pa per employee in the City of London). So where services run more frequently in the peak, I suspect there will be a push by the DfT (and others in charge of financing railways around the country) to reduce the number of peak services run to something more akin to off-peak levels, relying on longer trains to take up the peak load instead. That would clearly have an associated impact on staffing levels in due course, which I suspect would be addressed through normal turnover of staff.

Nationwide tells 13,000 staff to 'work anywhere' - BBC News
Nationwide is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme.
The UK's biggest building society said its "work anywhere" plan would allow employees more control of their lives.
Under the plan, Nationwide is closing three offices in Swindon, with 3,000 staff either moving to the nearby HQ, working from home, or mixing the two.
 
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43066

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We are digressing slightly but I suspect it is going to be commuter traffic which will never return to its previous volumes, particularly now employers have really seen how much they can save on office space (which can be around 20k pa per employee in the City of London). So where services run more frequently in the peak, I suspect there will be a push by the DfT (and others in charge of financing railways around the country) to reduce the number of peak services run to something more akin to off-peak levels, relying on longer trains to take up the peak load instead. That would clearly have an associated impact on staffing levels in due course, which I suspect would be addressed through normal turnover of staff.

Nationwide tells 13,000 staff to 'work anywhere' - BBC News

Agreed.

It was already going that way pre Covid, but the trend has been accelerated. We will see more and more of the traditional “rush hour” demand pushed into the off peak. That’s probably no bad thing.

Tickets need to be reformed to keep up, though.
 

43096

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It’ll disappoint you to know that numbers seem to be picking up nicely, where I am, particularly on the leisure side. And that’s before lockdown has even officially ended.
I'd agree that leisure travel will be the first to come back, though how that will go, when the "do not travel" messaging that the railway has been forced to put out by the DfT over the last 12 months has been drummed in to people, remains to be seen. There has been some advertising by the Government that frankly should not have been allowed in that regard (for example the "Coronavirus takes the train too" highlighted in the current Modern Railways).

What happens with Monday to Friday peak commuting is another thing entirely - until the work from home mantra is dropped and companies are confident to fully re-open offices we won't really know.
 

43066

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when the "do not travel" messaging that the railway has been forced to put out by the DfT over the last 12 months has been drummed in to people, remains to be seen. There has been some advertising by the Government that frankly should not have been allowed in that regard (for example the "Coronavirus takes the train too" highlighted in the current Modern Railways).

Agreed re. the messaging. Don’t get me started. I’m fed up to the back teeth of hearing front line railway staff moaning about passengers undertaking “non essential travel”. How about just shutting up and getting on with the job?!

They’re a minority, though. The sensible ones amongst us are grateful to be doing what we are doing and realise there’s only so far subsidy can go when the industry is actively driving away its own customer base.


What happens with Monday to Friday peak commuting is another thing entirely - until the work from home mantra is dropped and companies are confident to fully re-open offices we won't really know.

I know quite a few who are working from home - loved it at first - all of whom now miss interacting with colleagues and would like to do one or two days per week at home going forward.
 

SuperNova

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However this isn’t an industrial dispute over safety, so to link this dispute to ticketless travel and revenue protection duties boggles the mind.

The primary role of the conductor will at all times be the safety of the train and those onboard. Revenue will never come first, pandemic or not.
And that may be an issue in the long-run.
 

father_jack

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That trusty old tool MFA* sits gathering dust on the top shelf in the HR office. Does it ever get used these days.

* = Managing for attendance
Hello Barty.

You must surely know that MFA is still often used,however speaking as a rep it's usually found that the manglement side has gone and ballsed up its implementation at some point so "offenders" are "gotten off" by us nasty workshy union types :E

Aside, were you to too scared to make this "point" on the other channel :lol:

The railway industry wants more services on Sundays but many TOCs don't have Sunday as part of the working week, so the default solution is using committed overtime to cover Sunday services.

It's obviously a far cheaper way to cover the services than having Sundays as a working day, the TOCs need less staff using this method. But the downside being unless they offer incentives like enhanced premiums to get volunteers to cover leave / sickness & non availability the system fails.

This dispute wouldn't have happened if Sunday was part of the working week, but this method is expensive for the TOCs as staff headcounts have to increase across the operational side of the business. Or ScotRail would have matched the guards rate to what the drivers have, it's not the hourly rate matching it's the incentive premium such as both grades get time & a third as an example.

I think many people struggle to understand that committed overtime is generally used by many TOCs to cover Sunday services, in the future more TOCs will have Sunday as working day as the demand on Sunday travel is definitely increasing. Until then these disputes will carry on & regularly cancelling services due to lack of cover will be the norm.
This is a stations divisional council document issued in 2013 by the unions at a TOC that I used to work for. The situation remains the same today. The document was run past the company asking if they wanted anything added or removed before it's circulation to which they said they didn't. Personally I would add to it that Sunday (or any overtime) pay is not pensionable, you get time and a fifth or time and a quarter depending on the job you do and that you don't get an additional day off in the week.
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380101

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I have to say I’d be absolutely staggered if Scotrail guards were able to do what @380101 claims, and I would take that claim with a very large pinch of salt.

I’ve worked for two TOCs so far, both have guards and drivers represented by the same unions as Scotrail, both have active and relevant MFA policies. These policies would catch exactly this kind of sickness absence and there’s not a thing the union could do about it (apart from ensure the policy is followed correctly).

Sunday being outside the contracted working week for ScotRail Conductors means that it is overtime on a Sunday and despite it being "contracted" overtime there's not really much they can do if you don't wish to work it and give them notice you'll not be out due to being sick. Furthermore if you call in sick for a Sunday you don't get sick pay.

I can assure you this happens regularly across all traincrew grades where I work and as I mentioned, in the time I've been with the company, only once have they ever disciplined someone and that's because they never called in to advise them they wouldn't be out.
 

scotraildriver

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Sunday being outside the contracted working week for ScotRail Conductors means that it is overtime on a Sunday and despite it being "contracted" overtime there's not really much they can do if you don't wish to work it and give them notice you'll not be out due to being sick. Furthermore if you call in sick for a Sunday you don't get sick pay.

I can assure you this happens regularly across all traincrew grades where I work and as I mentioned, in the time I've been with the company, only once have they ever disciplined someone and that's because they never called in to advise them they wouldn't be out.
I have to say that doesn't happen at my depot. Indeed there are usually plenty of people available to work an extra Sunday. I've never known uncovered shifts on a Sunday people calling in sick because they can't get the day off.
 

380101

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I have to say that doesn't happen at my depot. Indeed there are usually plenty of people available to work an extra Sunday. I've never known uncovered shifts on a Sunday people calling in sick because they can't get the day off.

Very rarely do we have uncovered jobs as like you say, there's always plenty of drivers/Conductors available for additional Sundays. I find it's usually the people who think they are "getting one over" on the company who call in sick when in fact it's their hard working colleagues who they're doing over!
 

father_jack

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Very rarely do we have uncovered jobs as like you say, there's always plenty of drivers/Conductors available for additional Sundays. I find it's usually the people who think they are "getting one over" on the company who call in sick when in fact it's their hard working colleagues who they're doing over!
Correct.

Let me say though it's not something a "colleague" will be allowed do very often without "repercussions" :E
 

43066

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Sunday being outside the contracted working week for ScotRail Conductors means that it is overtime on a Sunday and despite it being "contracted" overtime there's not really much they can do if you don't wish to work it and give them notice you'll not be out due to being sick. Furthermore if you call in sick for a Sunday you don't get sick pay.

I can assure you this happens regularly across all traincrew grades where I work and as I mentioned, in the time I've been with the company, only once have they ever disciplined someone and that's because they never called in to advise them they wouldn't be out.

Sorry if I’m missing something, but if you’re entitled to give them notice not to work it, I don’t see what the reason has to do with it?

At both my current and previous TOCs Sundays are inside, so all overtime is voluntary, but if you make yourself available for a rest day and are allocated a job, you are then required to work it (or find cover for it). Going sick would be subject to the MFA policy, and doing a no show would be a disciplinary offence, just as if it was a regular booked turn.
 

the sniper

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I find it's usually the people who think they are "getting one over" on the company who call in sick when in fact it's their hard working colleagues who they're doing over!

Indeed, sometimes leaving a turn open that other people would have been keen to work, because the TCS can cover it with Spares (and save the company money) who now have to do their work...

It's the Union, not the company, who dishes out the punishment here.
 

the sniper

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How’s that in any way legally permissible if the staff member isn’t in the said union ?

There are various functions in many depots that the unions administer (most of them very boring) equally regardless of whether someone is a union member or not.
 

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This dispute wouldn't have happened if Sunday was part of the working week, but this method is expensive for the TOCs as staff headcounts have to increase across the operational side of the business.
But they don't though do they. Offer the guarantee of no compulsory redundancy in exchange for working longer hours on the same pay. There's room for a deal there, because the alternative is a service across Scotland every day of the week that's similar to the one that's running today.
 

scotraildriver

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Indeed, sometimes leaving a turn open that other people would have been keen to work, because the TCS can cover it with Spares (and save the company money) who now have to do their work...

It's the Union, not the company, who dishes out the punishment here.

But they don't though do they. Offer the guarantee of no compulsory redundancy in exchange for working longer hours on the same pay. There's room for a deal there, because the alternative is a service across Scotland every day of the week that's similar to the one that's running today.
There is such a training backlog and staff shortage due to retirements and natural wastage over the last year that the increased service in May that the government want cannot happen without lots of overtime never mind making anyone redundant. Longer term if passenger numbers don't increase might be a different story.
 

the sniper

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But they don't though do they. Offer the guarantee of no compulsory redundancy in exchange for working longer hours on the same pay. There's room for a deal there, because the alternative is a service across Scotland every day of the week that's similar to the one that's running today.

I'm not sure I'd call it a deal, more an ultimatum... The company gains entirely under those circumstances while many staff will take a considerable pay cut, with all having to work far more hours for it!
 

Starmill

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I'm not sure I'd call it a deal, more an ultimatum...
Only if one wishes to see the situation in a combative light. If the industry cannot be commercially generative again it will effectively die, with the subsequent loss of jobs, which is in nobody's interest.

The company gains entirely under those circumstances while many staff will take a considerable pay cut, with all having to work far more hours for it!
But the roles will be well paid and secured long-term, the latter of which I would argue currently they are not.
 

father_jack

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It's the Union, not the company, who dishes out the punishment here.
Yep they could accidentally end up on the ticket window nearest the front of the queue system more frequently than some other colleagues :E Or someone could accidentally spill all the milk the night before they're on the open up shift and no shops are open :E
 

the sniper

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Yep they could accidentally end up on the ticket window nearest the front of the queue system more frequently than some other colleagues :E Or someone could accidentally spill all the milk the night before they're on the open up shift and no shops are open :E

That'd be what their aggrieved colleagues would do, far worse! Officially it can be administered by procedure through equalisation.
 

24Grange

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Well, back to the good old 1970's with tactics, how lovely to see industrial relations have moved on in this enlightened age. "The Angry Silence" springs to mind.
 

the sniper

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Well, back to the good old 1970's with tactics, how lovely to see industrial relations have moved on in this enlightened age. "The Angry Silence" springs to mind.

If you're talking about what we were talking about, this is in relation to people who just don't turn up to work their Sunday, putting out the employer, their colleagues and passengers if too many were at it... It would seem to be entirely at odds with the premises of "The Angry Silence".
 

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