RMT ScotRail conductors - Strike action regarding overtime payments

the sniper

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Well the RMT seem to think so. They lost the original ballot so they re balloted the guards *only* (no other grades) and got the mandate they wanted.

So they were included in a ballot. You're under the impression those other grades weren't interested in industrial action, yet, you are, upset (?) that they 'soldier on, but now without a bonus', having seemingly chosen to accept that?

What difference does it make to other grades if another grade carries out industrial action that they weren't interested in?
 
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scotraildriver

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I'm not upset at all. It's nothing to do with me. But it if was an RMT member who is now excluded from any ballots in favour of the guards I'd be a bit peed off. The RMT is supposed to represent all members. There's no proof it was the non guards who voted against industrial action. But that the view the RMT have taken.
 

energol

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Other grades such as depot drivers are being asked their views on action this week by ASLEF.
 

Bald Rick

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Is the "dispute" thus merely a money grab by the RMT itself to have more rail employees, and thus more members, and thus more subscription income for the union? Are the subs a fixed amount per member per week/month?

Subs are indeed a fixed amount per week / month; a lower rate is available for the lower paid.

In my (very cynical) opinion, the strike is as much about politics than anything else. It’s a remarkable coincidence that the strike is for the 6 weeks leading up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections.
 

Carntyne

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I should clarify that Sundays are indeed overtime with ScotRail (for Drivers, Conductors, TEs, Station Staff etc), the contract is 35 (36 if you're a driver) hours a week, Monday to Saturday. You will be rostered to work 'booked Sundays', however these are paid at a premium and not part of your salary. If those Sundays are not being worked due to an industrial dispute, then that is 'action short of a strike', not strike action because you have withdrawn your labour on a day that you are not required to work within your 35 (or 36) hour week.
I know its a strange arrangement, and a bit of a grey area, but as previously mentioned, the company won't touch staff who take constantly avoid working their booked Sundays throufh calling in sick etc with a bargepole - and that's precisely because of the ambiguity of the system. Its a can of worms they really don't want to open, because the system of mandatory overtime that booked Sundays is would, I'd imagine, be legally dubious in a court.
The RMT has made it clear on their news website that the strike action is "rock solid". Why would they say that if it is not a strike?
 

scotraildriver

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The RMT has made it clear on their news website that the strike action is "rock solid". Why would they say that if it is not a strike?
It is strike action because at Scotrail you are contracted to work your booked /rostered Sundays, albeit for an overtime payment, however by not working them you are in breach of contract. The confusion occurs on forums such as this because so many companies have different agreements. Also people always think of "overtime" being "voluntary" which isn't always the case. Some TOCs are staffed by volunteers on Sundays, some are committed, some are part of the working week with another day off instead. At a TOC where Sundays are voluntary refusing to work them wouldn't be strike action. But because they are committed at Scotrail then it is.
 

43066

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There is a massive difference between a private sector business where employees are pulling well beyond their weight and are negotiating for their fair share of the success, and the situation the rail industry currently finds itself in - making enormous losses but temporarily propped up by the taxpayer.

Now is just about the worst time imaginable for any rail union to be demanding more pay. They should be focusing on protecting jobs and conditions wherever possible, not making the industry even more unsustainable than it already is.

To be clear I don’t disagree with your second paragraph but what’s happening here is (at least on the face of it) rather more nuanced than stereotype of “greedy rail-staff demanding extra pay”.

As for the first paragraph, I’m not sure that’s a good comparison. We all know the railway doesn’t really operate as a commercial business and is more akin to an essential service provided by the public sector (albeit provided by a hotch potch of private and public sector organisations). As such it is *always* propped up by the tax payer! That’s just more noticeable than usual at the moment because subsidy has been increased to offset the drop in fare revenue.

Passenger numbers will recover and indeed the railway will help to drive the wider economic recovery. The whole point of the railway being provided at all is that it generates economic benefits over and above what it costs to run. Focussing on the fact the railway itself is operating at a loss rather misses this point.

The “there’s no money” argument also looks rather hollow when there apparently is enough money to nationalise the economy, pay people full time salaries to sit at home, to give Scottish NHS workers a 4% pay rise etc.

I wouldn’t say it’s expected.

However, I really care about getting people to their places of work, to their choice of leisure destination etc, and will work the hours I need to to give them the best chance of them having a good journey. And I know that most of my ‘management’ colleagues are similarly inclined.

I would think (hope!) that view is universal across most railway employees whether front line or “back office”. In my experience it generally is.

As a general point (not limited to the railway) workers in the U.K. work some of the longest hours in Europe. People in other European countries tend to work fewer hours and have a much better work life balance. People should also consider who it is that benefits from doing those hours of unpaid overtime.

It’s also notable that long hours spent at work don’t imply high levels of productivity, often quite the opposite. In my experience of office based employment long hours are generally a product of poor time management skills and presenteeism.


I've been known to step up to guard trains to and from my home station (or beyond!) too during disruption. I once arrived back at my depot on a 10 hour shift to find the world had gone to pot and 3 Saturday night full and standing piss head expresses had no guard and/or driver and there were hundreds of people milling around waiting for buses - I rang Control and offered to jump on the back of a unit if they found me a driver to deal with a 3rd of the problem and agreed to me working over our normal maximum hours if they made sure I got home and that was what we did - the train was so packed I could hardly squeeze in the door and the empty stock working afterwards dropped me off at a station a short walk from home.

Indeed. And of course there are good reasons why operational staff aren’t required to do overtime as a matter of course (and why any we elect to do is subject to the usual requirements to be fit for work, not fatigued etc.). Our “four day week” is the same number of hours as a five day “9-5”, and at extreme start and finish times.

Passenger numbers may be low for now but by and large railway workers have still been going to work throughout the pandemic in order to get those whose do need to travel from A to B. Sadly we get precious little gratitude or respect for that, in contrast to other public sector “heros”.

I know its a strange arrangement, and a bit of a grey area, but as previously mentioned, the company won't touch staff who take constantly avoid working their booked Sundays throufh calling in sick etc with a bargepole - and that's precisely because of the ambiguity of the system. Its a can of worms they really don't want to open, because the system of mandatory overtime that booked Sundays is would, I'd imagine, be legally dubious in a court.

As far as I’m aware there are three basic systems: Sundays inside the working week, Sundays outside the week, and committed Sundays.

Committed Sundays (which might attract a premium overtime rate if worked) means you are contractually required to work a certain number of Sundays per year, subject to booking annual leave or finding cover. Calling in sick to avoid working them would usually be treated as part of the normal attendance policy, with all that that implies.

What has been described above is clearly unsatisfactory for all parties. It sounds like committed Sundays arrangement which management is failing to enforce, and perhaps reflects a failure of both management (and union) to properly agree the position.
 
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scotraildriver

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The ticket examiners have today voted to join the industrial action. Given that they have been on full pay for a year for doing literally nothing and their absence won't result in any trains not running I'm not sure where the RMT are going with this one apart from their own members losing money.
 

47271

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The ticket examiners have today voted to join the industrial action. Given that they have been on full pay for a year for doing literally nothing and their absence won't result in any trains not running I'm not sure where the RMT are going with this one apart from their own members losing money.
Yes, this one left me wondering too.

So no tickets are getting examined for the foreseeable future due to Covid, and yet the examiners are withdrawing their non existent examining services. Zero impact on anyone other than on those wishing to make a point.

As if to reinforce the irrelevance of the upset, I haven't travelled on a Glasgow area service in over a year now. Are the examiners even on board doing nothing, or are they being paid to sit at home doing nothing?
 

scotraildriver

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Yes, this one left me wondering too.

So no tickets are getting examined for the foreseeable future due to Covid, and yet the examiners are withdrawing their non existent examining services. Zero impact on anyone other than on those wishing to make a point.

As if to reinforce the irrelevance of the upset, I haven't travelled on a Glasgow area service in over a year now. Are the examiners even on board doing nothing, or are they being paid to sit at home doing nothing?
They are on board to assist with disabled ramps etc but anyone disabled would just get a taxi at Scotrails expense. I don't get this one at all. I actually think the RMT have lost it.
 

lordbusiness

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The future's looking rosy for Scotlands railway once nasty capitalist abellio are gone...
 

380101

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The ticket examiners have today voted to join the industrial action. Given that they have been on full pay for a year for doing literally nothing and their absence won't result in any trains not running I'm not sure where the RMT are going with this one apart from their own members losing money.

The Strathclyde manning agreement requires a 2nd person onboard at all times except in extenuating circumstances ie; member of staff takes ill and they can't cover the train.

Strike action is pre-planned action and with 14 days notice required to be given to the company by RMT, the company will have to either put a plan in place to ensure a 2nd person on the trains to cover the TEs or the trains won't infact run. So the TE action will in fact have an impact and even more so if the RMT choose to carry out strikes on alternative days to the Conductors. The company can't just wantonly ignore long standing agreements over train staffing because of RMT strike action.
 

320320

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The Strathclyde manning agreement requires a 2nd person onboard at all times except in extenuating circumstances ie; member of staff takes ill and they can't cover the train.

Strike action is pre-planned action and with 14 days notice required to be given to the company by RMT, the company will have to either put a plan in place to ensure a 2nd person on the trains to cover the TEs or the trains won't infact run. So the TE action will in fact have an impact and even more so if the RMT choose to carry out strikes on alternative days to the Conductors. The company can't just wantonly ignore long standing agreements over train staffing because of RMT strike action.
Train services travel the north Clyde on a daily basis without a second person on board and have done since long before covid was a factor.

Nobody has made an issue of it as yet so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.
 

scotraildriver

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of interest - do you think that once the franchise moves to operator of last resort that all pay rises and conditions will be met?
They would need to be but no deals are currently in place beyond that time so they would need negotiated.
 

380101

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Train services travel the north Clyde on a daily basis without a second person on board and have done since long before covid was a factor.

Nobody has made an issue of it as yet so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Same on the south side of the river out of the High Level. Interesting times ahead indeed.
 

Starmill

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I wouldn't want to be going on strike personally if I were a ticket examiner. After only twelve weeks of dispute there's no more 'automatically unfair' protection against dismissal for everyone who is on strike. The dismissal may still be unfair of course, and no doubt the Tribunal would hear the claim, but I wouldn't want to be in that position.
 

Watershed

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I wouldn't want to be going on strike personally if I were a ticket examiner. After only twelve weeks of dispute there's no more 'automatically unfair' protection against dismissal for everyone who is on strike. The dismissal may still be unfair of course, and no doubt the Tribunal would hear the claim, but I wouldn't want to be in that position.
With barriers only being in place at the major city centre stations, I think everyone would agree there's still a role for a ticket examiner on most of those services. Dismissal seems unlikely to me, although in the current circumstances nothing can be ruled out.
 

AY1975

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Train services travel the north Clyde on a daily basis without a second person on board and have done since long before covid was a factor.

Nobody has made an issue of it as yet so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.
The Strathclyde manning agreement requires a 2nd person onboard at all times except in extenuating circumstances ie; member of staff takes ill and they can't cover the train.

Strike action is pre-planned action and with 14 days notice required to be given to the company by RMT, the company will have to either put a plan in place to ensure a 2nd person on the trains to cover the TEs or the trains won't infact run. So the TE action will in fact have an impact and even more so if the RMT choose to carry out strikes on alternative days to the Conductors. The company can't just wantonly ignore long standing agreements over train staffing because of RMT strike action.
Same on the south side of the river out of the High Level. Interesting times ahead indeed.
Looking at Real Time Trains, it would appear that ticket examiners joining the strike from 18th April had very little effect on EMU-operated Glasgow suburban services on that date, so I can only assume that they operated without a second person on-board (as often happens anyway by the sound of it).

See also this now closed thread on the Strathclyde manning agreement from 2016: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/strathclyde-manning-agreement.131671/
 
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scrapy

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I wouldn't want to be going on strike personally if I were a ticket examiner. After only twelve weeks of dispute there's no more 'automatically unfair' protection against dismissal for everyone who is on strike. The dismissal may still be unfair of course, and no doubt the Tribunal would hear the claim, but I wouldn't want to be in that position.
I would have thought they would struggle do justify dismissing the ticket examiners without dismissing the guards.
 

380101

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Looking at Real Time Trains, it would appear that ticket examiners joining the strike from 18th April had very little effect on EMU-operated Glasgow suburban services on that date, so I can only assume that they operated without a second person on-board (as often happens anyway by the sound of it).

See also this now closed thread on the Strathclyde manning agreement from 2016: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/strathclyde-manning-agreement.131671/
Ticket Examiners don't start their strike action until Sunday 2nd May.
 

Horizon22

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Looking at Real Time Trains, it would appear that ticket examiners joining the strike from 18th April had very little effect on EMU-operated Glasgow suburban services on that date, so I can only assume that they operated without a second person on-board (as often happens anyway by the sound of it).

Running services without the 2nd member of staff on-board to no detriment certainly won't help the public perception that DOO isn't the way forward.
 

Starmill

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Running services without the 2nd member of staff on-board to no detriment certainly won't help the public perception that DOO isn't the way forward.
The public perception is overwhelmingly that railways offer poor value for money, both for public funding and for user funding (fares paid). And industrial dispute does not do anything to improve that. Of course, nor would that be served by paying higher rates of overtime.
 

Kite159

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The public perception is overwhelmingly that railways offer poor value for money, both for public funding and for user funding (fares paid). And industrial dispute does not do anything to improve that. Of course, nor would that be served by paying higher rates of overtime.

And no doubt the public perception within the SPT area is that the ticket examiners have been furloughed the past year due to no revenue checks
 

Dryce

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The public perception is overwhelmingly that railways offer poor value for money, both for public funding and for user funding (fares paid). And industrial dispute does not do anything to improve that. Of course, nor would that be served by paying higher rates of overtime.

I haven't used my nearby local suburban station for 14 months.

Most of my neighbours haven't been using it. It's likely that the those who were commuting will not return to 5 day commuting.
 

Southsider

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I haven't used my nearby local suburban station for 14 months.

Most of my neighbours haven't been using it. It's likely that the those who were commuting will not return to 5 day commuting.
Same here. I honestly have doubts as to the long term future of much (all?) of the railways. Just reading on these forums about how much they cost to run versus the drop in use and forecast lack of recovery must have governments questioning the subsidies involved.
 

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