Staff down tools at Manchester Victoria following assault 19/12/2019

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 8J, 19 Dec 2019.

  1. 156420

    156420 Member

    Messages:
    132
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2019
    Location:
    North West
    We really are in trouble then, if this incident is being is downplayed like you are talking about.

    If we now work in an industry were it is should be seen as acceptable and “brushed off” for someone shouting in your face, then that is scary.

    Haven’t got a problem at all with people complaining and being assertive when it comes to complaints about the train service, you only have to look around at the UK rail network to see that’s its definitely justified.

    But what happened last night, just isn’t normal behaviour from the member of the public. And the member of staff was rightly justified in their actions.
     
  2. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

    Messages:
    2,013
    Joined:
    7 Aug 2017
    Verbal abuse is assault, plain and simple.

    If it's true about BTP 'declining' to respond to an incident of threatening behaviour against a staff member which, it seems, caused staff to feel unsafe, then the reason for that decision needs to be investigated. There may have been reasons why officers weren't able to immediately be there - e.g. dealing with another, more serious, incident. But, whatever the reason, if that's what happened then changes are needed to make sure it doesn't happen again.
     
  3. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,026
    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    The pre-rebuild atation was a huge, sprawling, uncoordinated mess, no doubt more exposed to the weather in parts, dingy subways and probably lots of remote hidden away corners. Would be a personal safety nightmare.

    I think the real problem was the 92-94 rebuild being sized right for passenger use at the time, but inadequate for Victoria's current usage. Thinks like a secondary footbridge would be useful now. It copes just about OK when the train service is moving, but doesn't take much for passengers to start backing up.
     
  4. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

    Messages:
    314
    Joined:
    2 May 2018
    Train travel in and out of Manchester is horrific at the moment. TPE and Northern are completely unfit for purpose at the moment. The timetables are screwed, the staffing levels are screwed, the rail infrastructure is screwed. The Castlefield corridor is a nightmare.

    Whoever is responsible for the 2018 time table changes with the Ordsall changes as well as scrapping the electrification of Manchester-Leeds and kicking 15 and 16 at Piccaddilly into the long grass has caused the bulk of the problems.

    The other reality is Manchester has grown massively as a city. Manchester and Salford Quays are huge commercial hubs, there's high rise flats popping up on every corner and you've got a 19th century rail infrastructure. You've got people travelling from all over the north west to get to Manchester for work every day and the infrastructure can't cope. The current problems are the result of a stagnant railway amidst massive passenger growth.
     
  5. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

    Messages:
    314
    Joined:
    2 May 2018
    The railways are an absolute mess at the moment, particularly around this region, and customers are increasingly irate.

    There's no defence for abusive customers, they should be removed from the station or arrested, but part of the problem is passengers often aren't treated like customers. It's a bit like going to a football match, you can be treated like a problem rather than a paying customer.

    More problems could be quickly resolved with better customer service skills. A lot of staff either aren't customer service trained or are hung out to dry by such a dreadful service from the rail companies. The way staff speak to passengers is terrible at times.
     
  6. Pro-rata

    Pro-rata New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    9 Dec 2019
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    A couple of nuggets from the MEN follow up piece.

    First, it would be easy to take away the impression that what happened was some kind of wildcat protest. RMT saying that was not the case, and that what was done was in line with Worksafe procedures, i.e. in line with what those staff correctly should have done in the circumstances.

    Secondly, that as well as the main altercation with the injured baby carrying passenger, a witness claims "he did shout but so did the majority of us..." - was it all down to the specific altercation or was there a feeling that a wider loss of passenger control was imminent.

    I wasn't there, so don't know. I've seen plenty of platform staff dealing with frustrated customers at MCV, so clearly something felt different to the staff this time and a judgement call was taken.
     
  7. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

    Messages:
    2,710
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2016
    Its worth restating the only eyewitness report we have of the incident
    No assault
    No claims of threats
    No suggestion that BTP declined to attend

    And to be honest, I think most people in his position would have resorted to shouting in an attempt to get help
     
  8. Monkeyhead

    Monkeyhead Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    21 Sep 2016
    A lad I work with was out in Leeds with us on our Christmas party, lives in Rochdale I think. Left the party at 9.30, and arrived home at 1.17am. I'm not surprised tempers are getting frayed on all sides.
     
  9. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

    Messages:
    3,299
    Joined:
    18 Nov 2009
    It's worth reminding ourselves of the law here. The CPS's guidelines on assault prosecution state:

    Note here that there need not be intention to use unlawful force, or indeed actual use of it: a person can be guilty of assault if they recklessly cause another to apprehend the use of force. In other words, shouting and screaming in someone's face can still be assault. Whether or not a crime has been committed would therefore depend as to whether or not it could be deemed in court that the accuser was reasonable in feeling threatened, and that the behaviour of the accused could be described as reckless, among other factors.

    In some ways, though, I'm not sure it matters whether or not a crime was actually committed here. The incident reveals an underlying frustration and anger felt by both staff and passengers at the failures to provide anything like a reliable service on much of the Northern and TPE networks around Manchester and the north-west in particular (noting that both oeprators have issues elsewhere on their network, as well (Northern in particular) less badly affected areas). Ultimately, blame has to be put jointly at the feet of Northern, TPE, the DfT and Network Rail, and it is up to them to fix this.

    The mistake would be to chalk this up to either unreasonably frustrated commuters, or militant staff. Neither are the problem here.
     
  10. Spartacus

    Spartacus Established Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2009
    Because one witness and things in the paper are ALWAYS the most reliable source of info on the railways...... :rolleyes::lol: The official stuff I'm looking at and info from people working at the time of the incident contradicts all your statements.

    Any threats to the safety of anyone need to be taken very seriously when made in the vicinity of sometimes hundreds of tonnes of moving machinery. Elsewhere last night someone ended up on the tracks and lost a couple of fingers, very very lucky it wasn't worse.
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

    Messages:
    12,123
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2008
    Location:
    No longer here
    If someone was shouted out then it isn’t downplaying things to say, you know, they got shouted at. Or, at a stretch, verbally abused.

    The common definition of assault is someone actually making physical contact. The tendency for unions to class someone being mean or rude or loud to a member of staff as an assault is an internal practice which doesn’t land with most people.
     
  12. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

    Messages:
    2,710
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2016
    As we're not privy to your "official stuff" we only have the press report to inform us, if you know better then please enlighten us. Or is it being hidden from us?
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Though it depends what it is. The above example is homophobic abuse and certainly justifies Police attendance (though I can see them prioritising it down over an immediate physical threat if they are busy, as indeed they should). But often these cases aren't actually abuse, they are simply someone making an angry complaint.

    "You're an F idiot" = abuse
    "This service is F unacceptable" = a bit raw, but to be expected given that that statement is completely accurate

    Dealing with the latter all day every day must be demoralising, but really the only way to stop that is going to be to improve the service, not to start arresting passengers for it. As I've said I would be in support of a strike against Northern demanding a workable emergency timetable to be implemented, but that doesn't seem to be the tone of what went on.
     
  14. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

    Messages:
    2,013
    Joined:
    7 Aug 2017
    Legally, "An assault is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force." That is what it says in the CPS charging guidelines. The clear implication of that is that no physical contact is required for the offence of assault to have been committed, merely a reasonable belief on the part of the victim that they were about to be subjected to 'unlawful force'.

    I agree that being rude or loud isn't assault (subject to the above), and I agree that the language used by certain trade unions is often unhelpful (because it's so hyperbolic when dealing with even the smallest of issues that when something big really does happen it's a 'boy who cried wolf' situation), but if staff genuinely felt unsafe then is getting out of the situation not the sensible thing to do?
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Certainly - though it was fine in 1992 on the background of a declining railway that people genuinely thought would be half closed by now, not one which would experience unprecedented growth as car use becomes increasingly deprecated.

    Of course, that means the plan needs to change. The refurb put a posh roof on, but apart from that it didn't do anything significant to improve the operation of the station, and indeed in some ways (the barriers in their present position) made it much, much worse.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    There is one, and only one, thing that will achieve that - fix the service.
     
  17. jumble

    jumble Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    1 Jul 2011
    Going a bit off topic I suspect neither of you have any real world experience of what actually happens in the Doctors' surgeries
    I will pass on your kind observations to my close relative who went to work last week, is trying her best with a big workload and was on her own and was threatened by a patient who clearly had mental health issues.

    She said she felt like walking out and never coming back and frankly with the general lack of appreciation I don't blame her.
     
  18. mike57

    mike57 Member

    Messages:
    274
    Joined:
    13 Mar 2015
    Location:
    East coast of Yorkshire
    Physical assaults can never be tolerated, but when does verbal communication expressing dis-satisfaction at a failure to provide basic information that they need to complete their journey become verbal assault? It's a fine line which ultimately will have to be decided in court no doubt. My personal view is the line is when it is 'off topic' e.g. calling names.

    I travel through Manchester Victoria once or twice a week and it's a shambles. Last minute platform changes, departure boards keep going offline, overcrowded platforms, cancellations and late running meaning people needing advice on completing journey, no toilets without going through the barriers, lack of seating for waiting passengers. No doubt a few more could be added to the list. Given these deficiencies tempers will fray. On my journies the staff look harassed. Not a nice working environment. My solution, go back to running all TPE service bar Newcastle - Liverpool service into Manchester Piccadilly via Guide Bridge, forget the Ordsal chord or use it for local services until the Csstlefield corridor is sorted. It would also ease the Platform 13/14 problems at Manchester Piccadilly, and Manchester Piccadilly is better able to cope with the volume of passengers that the TPE services generate. Probably politically unacceptable, but it's the only obvious short to medium term solution to my mind. It worked reasonably well for many years up until the changes last year.
     
  19. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

    Messages:
    2,013
    Joined:
    7 Aug 2017
    Oh dear, some people see conspiracy everywhere don't they. I don't believe there's any reason to think that anything is being hidden from anyone - those who need to know the details will know, and that's the way it should be. The people who work on the railway who come on this forum do so in their own spare time, and it's not fair to expect them to share confidential, internal information.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Can I ask that, before making passive-aggressive replies like the above, that you re-read what I said which criticises the NHS for poor mental health provision (i.e. there should be staff present trained to deal properly with such situations) and does not criticise surgeries as they are?
     
  21. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

    Messages:
    2,013
    Joined:
    7 Aug 2017
    Yep, agreed - even if you and I wouldn't see eye to eye, I suspect, about the best way to achieve that.

    What I was getting at, though, was the allegation of BTP failing to attend the incident last night and that, if that is indeed what happened, there's a need to investigate and try to make sure it doesn't happen again.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    That's how I see it, too. It becomes abuse when it becomes personal[1]. Swearing about the service is not personal and staff really should not take it personally - call centre staff manage to handle this just fine. Where staff can and should withdraw is if they feel physically threatened (which is where call centre staff have it easy as they can just hang up). But it seems that a good many staff are either poorly trained in de-escalation of this kind, or are simply in the wrong job and should instead be doing something non-customer-facing.

    [1] I do not accept the term "verbal assault" - "verbal abuse" is a better term. It is not helpful to dilute the term "assault" by changing its conventional meaning. These other offences have perfectly acceptable existing terms for them.
     
  23. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

    Messages:
    2,710
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2016
    So the victims of this removal of labour / wildcat strike aren't allowed to know the cause of last nights problem? How many tens of thousands of people looking for an answer and they aren't to be trusted with it? Where's the conspiracy?
     
  24. Camden

    Camden Established Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2014
    The train companies are putting on derisory services which are even worse for passengers than the rubbish they've had to put up with for well over a year, passengers who were only hanging on by a thread in the first place by the promise and hope that eventually new trains will make it all better.

    Two major cities which together account for half of all rail travel in the north, with most of that lopsided to the west, are having to cope with even shorter and fewer trains than were already insufficient, plus hours of gaps between services as additional cancellations are thrown in.

    And then the companies dress up a handful of people in the company logo, and put them out there to meet those passengers...

    I'm pro-passenger, as you can tell, but I can well understand anyone logo'd up in that position simply thinking "f*** this" and walking off when surrounded by collective upset and anger, regardless of whether they really felt unsafe.

    Additionally I do worry, based on some of the accounts, that a culture dynamic may now have emerged, where passengers and staff are growingly contemptuous of each other as a cause and effect result of the past year. When that dynamic emerges, it doesn't take much provocation on either side to result in cumulative and misdirected unreasonableness.

    It's been my concern for some time that something that started getting better with such promise risked turning very sour with disruption, strikes, etc.

    How things come back from that is out of the hands of the passengers, I know that much.
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2019
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I am on one of the anti-LNR FB groups and am generally defensive of the staff who do seem to be handling the mess rather better than the Northern staff, probably because the issues have not been going on quite as long so they haven't got quite as demoralised yet. However, quite a number on there do seem to be scapegoating them, so it should not be surprising that this is occurring.
     
  26. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

    Messages:
    314
    Joined:
    2 May 2018
    It's a perfect storm. You've also got passengers who are annoyed from early in their morning when their trains are cancelled/delayed/overcrowded and they're late for work and either get bollocked or have to stay later to make up the time. Then after finishing late they get to the platform to find their trains been cancelled. Commuters by nature are disgruntled because they've either got a day's work ahead of them, or they've just finished a day's work. Then you've got staff who've had to deal with the fall out of a shambolic rail service all day and everyone's fed up and angry.

    I work 7-3's purposely to avoid the rush hour chaos.
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Commuters will never be happy (other than the odd one none of them want to be doing it), but they can be pragmatic about odd one-off major disruption if the basic service is decent - that is, punctual and they get a seat. LM by and large achieved that, and so they were not so much of a target for ongoing bile. Northern do not - not even close.
     
  28. Camden

    Camden Established Member

    Messages:
    1,717
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2014
    Nor TPE
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,730
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Nor LNR. Nor I hear ScotRail. It does seem we have a particularly bad bunch at the moment, and at least three of those failures (Northern, TPE, LNR) have the same root cause - overoptimistic timetabling and diagramming.
     
  30. Spartacus

    Spartacus Established Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2009
    Want someone to post a screenshot of the control logs and lose their job? You've been told the cause numerous times by numerous people, but you don't want to believe it, you want to believe your conspiracy theory that staff walked out because they couldn't be bothered any more. Just like any conspiracy theorist no amount of evidence will be enough to convince you otherwise, as all evidence contrary to your view is considered part of the conspiracy.

    If you want people to engage with you, you have to be willing to listen.
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2019

Share This Page