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Author Topic: "Shortage of train crew"  (Read 12587 times)
TaplowGreen
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« on: June 25, 2017, 09:45:16 am »

Without wishing to kick off another debate about the whys and wherefores of rail staff being allowed to refuse to work on a Sunday, the number of cancellations attributed to shortage of drivers/crew is now becoming endemic - not only on Sundays, but increasingly on Saturdays and also on (especially but not exclusively) early morning services during the week.

Is there any reason for this worsening problem and what (if anything) are GWR doing to address it?

The holiday period is rapidly approaching and presumably the situation will only get worse bearing this in mind unless there is something in place to address it.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 09:54:51 am »

Unless you're willing to pay the excess in costs that will incur through (another) hike in fares, very little/nothing
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2017, 10:22:16 am »

Unless you're willing to pay the excess in costs that will incur through (another) hike in fares, very little/nothing

An interesting (if predictable!) response.............surely it's incumbent upon GWR to ensure that they have sufficient staff available to run their advertised service as specified?
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AMLAG
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 10:46:57 am »

Bear in mind that many staff, drivers in particular, at most depots on the great Western are having to learn to maintain and operate new traction, something entirely foreseeable for some years now, and you begin to realise the ongoing scale of the problem.

First Group's primary reason for existence, like other PLCs, is to make money for its shareholders, you could be forgiven for not realising this, judging by some recent significantly serious failures in its services to its customers, or rather passengers as the Government correctly describes rail travellers.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2017, 10:55:58 am »

One reason perhaps?

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=387700548249573&substory_index=0&id=174679842884979

 Wink Tongue Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 11:54:55 am »

Without wishing to kick off another debate ...

We thrive on debate. Please do not be put off if you start one.  Grin

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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2017, 12:09:41 pm »

I wonder if today may be a day where the available resource is stretched to the extreme.
* Glastonbury, with extra services around
* Sunday with the whole service being run by crew volunteering for overtime
* Long diversions via Gloucester because of the emergency engineering works in Patchway Tunnel.
And that last (at least) can't have been planned weeks in advance, and was dropped on GWR by Network Rail. There was less excuse yesterday ... it wasn't Sunday, so the crew is rostered as part of their normal work, and Patchway tunnel was open.


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BBM
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 01:57:04 pm »

Also extra demand to Cardiff today with the England v South Africa T20 cricket match starting at 1430.
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 03:19:30 pm »

Without wishing to kick off another debate about the whys and wherefores of rail staff being allowed to refuse to work on a Sunday, the number of cancellations attributed to shortage of drivers/crew is now becoming endemic - not only on Sundays, but increasingly on Saturdays and also on (especially but not exclusively) early morning services during the week.

Is there any reason for this worsening problem and what (if anything) are GWR doing to address it?

The holiday period is rapidly approaching and presumably the situation will only get worse bearing this in mind unless there is something in place to address it.

Its not a case of being allowed to refuse to work Sundays, they are actually not contracted to work Sundays.  If it went to a 7 day roster then GWR would need to increase the number of drivers, 35 hour week and all that.   

Also within the Railway industry we can only work a max of 12 hours and the must have a 12 rest between shifts, traveling time to and from work has to be included in the work hours and not the rest hours and on top of that after 13 days there must be a clear whole days rest (24 hours)  these hours are mandated by law

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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 03:24:17 pm »

It's about time the railway who want to provide a Sunday service come out of the 1980s and put staff onto 7 day contracts the same way any other business that operates Sunday manage. If it takes a cash compensation payment to each affected member of staff then that's what it needs.
A former workplace offered £2k per employee to make Sundays compulsory- reduced operations meant we only worked 1 in 5 Sundays under compulsory working. Admittedly no interfering unions but only 2 individuals declined the offer. Both of them were people I knew as strong religious types. A large majority of my colleagues spent the money on a week in the sun. I went to Tenerife myself.
Offer a useful sum of money and the majority will accept a variation (until the union put a negative spin on it)
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bignosemac
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2017, 04:20:28 pm »

Channeling ChrisB...

"Oooos gunna pay for it?"

 Wink Tongue Grin
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2017, 04:33:30 pm »

There was an opportunity to bring it into the working week when the recent traction package was accepted by HSS to drive the new IET trains, and be reclassified as IET drivers.  It wasn't taken up for whatever reason though there is a commitment from both sides for 'more discussions' regarding Sunday working - whatever that means.

Couldn't agree more that it needs sorting as we have the same discussions every year.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 05:35:57 pm »

Channeling ChrisB...

"Oooos gunna pay for it?"

 Wink Tongue Grin


Quite happily a small adjustment to fares, to ensure a reliable Sunday service.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 06:14:03 pm »

Channeling ChrisB...

"Oooos gunna pay for it?"

 Wink Tongue Grin


Quite happily a small adjustment to fares, to ensure a reliable Sunday service.

I wonder how the sums would work.

From "How to become a train driver" at http://www.traindriver.org/what-the-job-involves.html#

Quote
Sunday Working: The guaranteed working week on the railway has always run from Monday to Saturday with Sundays counted as voluntary overtime. This means you can opt not to work a Sunday or even opt not to work Sundays at all. However, you are required to indicate that you do not wish to work a Sunday by early the preceding week in order that your turn can be covered by a spare or volunteer driver.

This applies to most railway grades and it comes as a big surprise to outsiders to learn that the Sunday train service is run almost entirely on a voluntary basis. The low rates of pay in the past meant that most drivers worked all the Sundays (and often Rest Days) they could in order to earn a living wage, with the result that the Sunday service was reliably covered. The fact that train driving is very much better paid today means that many drivers (or their wives!) have made the lifestyle choice to forgo the extra money and have every Sunday off. This has meant that at some depots the management are having a real struggle to cover the Sunday service and are sometimes cancelling trains because no staff are available.

Because of this some companies are moving to including Sundays in the four (or five) day working week so that it is rostered as a normal day. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because doing this effectively involves taking driver hours out of the Monday to Saturday roster in order to transfer them to the Sunday service. This either requires a reduction in weekday train services or requires more drivers to be employed. Because of these difficulties some companies are trying to change the Conditions of Service so that drivers work an agreed maximum number of committed Sundays each year on a compulsory overtime basis. This is deeply unpopular and has only been introduced at a few firms (such as Virgin) at the price of very much higher salaries. More of these changes can be expected though.

Very interesting comment about drivers being better paid these days so no taking so much overtime; very common in other areas outside rail too.   As recently told to me by a non-rail transport company owner: "Would you like to do some work on Saturdays to earn some overtime"  ... "No thank you - that recent rise was great, and so I don't need to ... much better quality of life and chance to spend time with the family"
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ChrisB
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 09:09:31 pm »

Indeed, it'll either get covered by increased fares (remival if the super off-peak, anyone?) - so by the likely users of weekend services (not sure it would seem to be fair to load it onto commuter peak fares), or by taxpayers with a lower take from franchise payments.
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