RMT Strike Action - Virgin West Coast

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by mde, 1 Nov 2019.

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  1. mde

    mde Member

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    The RMT have called a strike for train managers on 19 November over an alleged 'victimisation' issue.

    It appears, going by their previous press releases, that it refers to the issue at Crewe back in May (discussed on this forum here), which resulted in a TM at Holyhead being sacked over what Virgin are calling 'gross misconduct'.

     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    They really are bonkers.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    What's the other side of the story, if anyone knows it?
     
  5. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    I wonder if the train manager has made a claim at the Employment Tribunal? I also wonder if the passenger has made a claim against Virgin Trains for unlawful discrimination.
     
  6. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    A disabled passenger was refused travel by a train manager. The passenger claimed this was unlawful discrimination against them.

    I wonder if it is possible that VT settled a claim with the passenger, and, holding the train manager responsible for that, dismissed them.
     
  7. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    Which 'they' are you referring to?
     
  8. mde

    mde Member

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    The customer's perspective is on a video which the Metro have (I can't find the original source link); however, based on the hyperbole that the RMT have published it seems there is some suggestion of malfeasance on the customer's part.

     
  9. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    Rebecca Hughes decided she didn't have to deal with a "difficult" customer, Rebecca Hughes stopped doing her job, Rebecca Hughes faced the consequences of her behaviour. The End.

    The RMT would make me vote Tory :lol:

    Still, if the brothers want to lose a few hundred quid each in defence of a woman who clearly isn't capable of doing her job professionally and properly, fill yer boots.

    I work with "difficult" people all day every day, as some of you will know. Don't like it? Don't do the job.
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2019
  10. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    It's amazing that the RMT's own statement admits that "Sister Hughes" chose not to allow the customer to board the train without a legitimate reason. The only reason given is that the RMT and "Sister Hughes" dislike the customer. Refusing travel because you have a personal vendetta (and thereby likely committing breach of contract against a customer) is obvious criteria for gross misconduct. And that's the just what is included in the RMT's statement. What we don't know is if the train manager had previously had any warnings.
    It's strongly in RMT's interest for the customer to have done something wrong. There doesn't appear to be any particular evidence that this is the case, however.
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    The RMT of course!

    Quite. I've faced all sorts of challenging behaviours but you have to respond professionally at all times.

    Every member of VT staff depicted in the video was a credit to the company, and dealt with a challenging situation very well... except for one.

    Well done to Virgin for doing the right thing.

    As for the RMT... they couldn't sink any lower in my opinion (not that they care what my opinion is; I am sure the feeling is mutual on that!)
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2019
  12. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    The RMT probably want to see Virgin out with a bang. Maybe a warning at what to expect depending on the results of the vote in December.

    At least they are not striking over someone getting sacked for turning up to work drunk, turning themselves into laughing stocks in the public eye
     
  13. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Does anyone know if the dismissed employee has been to an industrial tribunal and if so what was the finding?
     
  14. mde

    mde Member

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    Oh indeed; there is a suggestion the video isn't quite the whole story, but, that's hard to prove…

    Something smells a bit fishy here.
     
  15. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Do a Google search for her. "Agony Autie". There are some interesting comments from other autistic people who don't have a lot of time for her.
    Difficult to repeat whats claimed without opening the site to legal action, but based on what can be read online about other incidents I'd be disinclined to believe her.
     
  16. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Not having a lot of time for someone, and choosing to prevent someone from travelling on a train, in representing your employer and without an appropriate justification, when they've paid for the right to travel on it, are quite different things.

    The RMT even tried to imply that the customer filming the station is wrongdoing, and that's pretty ridiculous.
     
  17. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Agreed, but "Not having a lot of time" was a euphemism. As I said before, its difficult to repeat what others say without causing legal problems - but theres enough to suggest that justification could be expected
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2019
  18. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    If the passenger in question has indeed been rude or aggressive it seems like a legitimate reason to refuse travel, the fact they may have an impairment seems like a bit of red herring. I would just like to point out that in my experience the union has rarely balloted for strike action when a member of staff has been dismissed, not unless they think there is something to it. So until further information comes to light this is all just speculation.

    That said I feel the need to express my disgust at the notion that I should tolerate aggressive behaviour at work and just do my 'job'. It's that kind of thinking that ends up with gateline assistants getting suckerpunched or guards being grabbed by the throat or spat on by unruly children. Abuse be it physical or verbal should not be tolerated under any circumstances, it should be of no consequence if the person is able bodied or not.
     
  19. embers25

    embers25 Established Member

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    As everyone knows I despise the RMT with every bone in my body but I agree with Monty on this. I agree its not grounds for a strike but it is surely the thin end of the wedge and every guard's job is in danger, particularly in todays "I'm a vlogger, you'd better treat me better than anyone else" society.
     
  20. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    Did the TM have witnesses that the passenger was abusive? That's grounds for refusing entry.
     
  21. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Established Member

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    Industrial tribunal, not industrial action. Trades unions exist to better their members not to cost them money. Any strike is a failure for any trades union.
     
  22. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Somehow you will have difficulty in convincing a certain Mr Cash of the truth of that...:rolleyes:
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Ah, that incident. I'm in full support of VTWC and the passenger, then.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I don't think there is any evidence in any of the media about her (either done herself of by anyone else) about her being actually abusive. She is clearly awkward at times, but it is not within an individual member of staff's power to refuse someone travel on those grounds, so tough on the member of staff. If you don't like dealing with customers, go and be a non-DOO driver or something. It's not like the railway is in any way short of jobs that don't involve customer interaction.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Being simply rude is NOT grounds to refuse travel; people should use their Ps and Qs but they are not a requirement of the National Rail Conditions of Travel. Being aggressive in a manner that the guard may feel physically threatened is, but she does not come across that way in anything I have seen regarding her, just a bit loud. Some may take this the wrong way (please don't), but someone in a wheelchair is already at a considerable physical disadvantage by being lower down and not being able to move as quickly as an able-bodied person, so unless she spat or something (and there is no evidence at all of that) it is difficult to see how she would pose a physical threat to anyone at all, either actual or perceived. She's just a bit awkward, and awkward customers are part of a customer service job.
     
  26. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Depending on the passengers conduct and what was said they may be in breach of Byelaw 6 of the Railway Bylaws which the NRCoC clearly state that everyone on the railway is subject to.

    The crux of the issue is that the RMT alledge the video has been edited for effect and doesn't tell the whole story. Video editing is becoming easier and easier to the point a relative novice can chop and change mobile videos without any specialist software. As I said previously it's actually quite unusual for the union to ballot for strikes for cases of employment dismissal unless they are pretty certain the process was flawed.
     
  27. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Many people who are disabled can, at times, come over as 'grumpy' and frustrated with all around them - and who can blame them in today's 'Me Me Me' attitude to life. Thankfully, there are many others out there who are more than happy to go out of their way to help anybody who is less able and, hopefully, most train staff readily fall in to this category.
     
  28. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    The TM made an error and was probably having a bad day/journey and dealt with a situation badly. Question would be whether it's a sacking offence or not. Unless the TM was already on a warning/previous misconduct charges surely a warning and customer service/disability awareness training would have sufficed. You've got to be professional but people aren't robots, they make mistakes and can't handle every unreasonable and difficult customer perfectly. If she was abusive to the passenger then it's more clear gross misconduct.

    Staff do worse and get away with it because the customer isn't uploading it to social media and it becomes a trial by social media with the staff member made an example of. That's not fair either.
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2019
  29. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN On Moderation

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    Okay, so perhaps DOO strikes are arguably over customer safety. But strikes over this? I think the RMT are mad.
     
  30. nedchester

    nedchester Member

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    I am not a great fan of the RMT and their trigger happy attitude to industrial action but I have some strong suspicions here that the video doesn't tell the whole story.

    I worked for many years with kids with severe autistic spectrum disorders so no more than a bit about the condition. While their autism might be a reason for their behaviour it should never be an excuse.
     
  31. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I certainly 100% agree that staff (at any place of work!) should never have to put up with abuse or aggression but I suspect the problem here is that the TM made the call on the basis of previous incidents. This passenger wasn't being abusive directly before travel or on trying to board. They had behaved inappropriately before on a different journey. The TM was aware of this and for that reason, even though they were seemingly behaving appropriately this time, refused travel. I'm not so sure that that is a tenable position for the TM to take.

    If the TM had rolled into the platform opened the doors the passenger had immediately gone something along the lines of: "Oh it's you again you ****, get the ******* ramp out!" then I'd have had no problem with them refusing travel. 100% that is unacceptable and grounds for refusing travel. But that's not the way it played out and that's why I find it much harder to justify what the TM did.
     
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