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Author Topic: Shortage of train crews on Great Western Railway since September 2017 - ongoing discussion  (Read 133451 times)
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1185 on: August 26, 2019, 04:53:41 pm »


Have the Unions come up with a figure/% for the salary increase that they consider reasonable to bring Sundays into the working week?

I would imagine so but I don't know an exact figure, I'd guess you'd be looking at a minimum of £5k based on a straight payrise but then you have to take into account tax.  You wouldn't see much of your £5k payrise after tax which is why they are so reluctant to give up Sunday's (the tax situation is probably one of the reasons as well that there's a lack of volunteers to work them)
You'd get a greater benefit from £5k worth of improvements to conditions such as a shorter working week and a lot of drivers are aware of this.  You can't fix everything by simply throwing money at the problem.  

That's interesting, given your line yesterday was  "It all comes down to money.  If the offer is good enough Sunday’s will become part of the working week. The DfT are the ones preventing this from happening by not stumping up the cash to get it resolved" - clearly there is considerable flexibility, even over the course of 24 hours!  Smiley
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a-driver
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« Reply #1186 on: August 26, 2019, 04:56:33 pm »

Quote from: a-driver
I'm guessing as well, but bringing Sunday's into the working week will also effect pensions so its not just a straight forward pay rise. 

How would such a change affect pensions?

Pension contributions are normally a percentage of gross salary, so to simplify if its 10% then if you earn £500pw its £50 or if you earn £1000pw its £100. It would make no difference at all what day of the week you earned it on.
 Huh



Sorry, i'm not that clued up on pensions, even though at my age I probably should be!  It was explained to me and I've totally forgotten it, but's its effects the company more than the individual.  Currently Sunday pay overtime isn't pensionable, so by bringing Sunday's into the working week means you would need to recruit substantially more drivers, therefore the company finds themselves contributing more (I think!)
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a-driver
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« Reply #1187 on: August 26, 2019, 05:02:17 pm »


That's interesting, given your line yesterday was  "It all comes down to money.  If the offer is good enough Sunday’s will become part of the working week. The DfT are the ones preventing this from happening by not stumping up the cash to get it resolved" - clearly there is considerable flexibility, even over the course of 24 hours!  Smiley

It does all come down to money.  Wether you go for a straightforward payrise or an improvement in conditions it all costs the company money.  The age of your workforce is also factor. 
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grahame
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« Reply #1188 on: August 26, 2019, 07:07:31 pm »

That's because they quote the root cause
Then perhaps they should stop it. Try looking at this from the passenger's perspective

I'm not sure they're quoting the true root cause even in saying "staff shortage".  Haven't we established a strong view that the staff shortage is caused by a failure to update a system which fails to provide enough staff to run all the trains timetabled, especially on Sundays, and that this failure is due to lack of government funding for a solution. "This is due to insufficient funding to provide the service scheduled" may be the true root.   But perhaps not helpful

The immediate cause?  For all service bar the first on a diagram "This is due to the incoming train being short" ...

It needs to be somewhere in between, I think - a matter go judgment of what will give the typical passenger (and many members here are not typical passengers!) a quick idea of whats going / gone on.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1189 on: August 26, 2019, 07:20:19 pm »

Quote from: grahame

The immediate cause?  For all service bar the first on a diagram "This is due to the incoming train being short" ...

It needs to be somewhere in between, I think - a matter go judgment of what will give the typical passenger (and many members here are not typical passengers!) a quick idea of whats going / gone on.

For the average Joe Public who knows nothing about these matters:

"This is due to trains being in the wrong place after disruption yesterday"
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1190 on: August 26, 2019, 07:49:12 pm »

Quote from: a-driver
Sorry, i'm not that clued up on pensions, even though at my age I probably should be!  It was explained to me and I've totally forgotten it, but's its effects the company more than the individual.  Currently Sunday pay overtime isn't pensionable, so by bringing Sunday's into the working week means you would need to recruit substantially more drivers, therefore the company finds themselves contributing more (I think!)

Apologies in advance for this post going into deep technical matters that ought really to be posted in “How Stuff Works”  Smiley

As I have always understood the situation, contributions to private pensions operate in the same way as NI contributions which pay for your State Pension ie. The more you earn the more you pay. Therefore ay overtime earnings you make will attract the same percentage pension deduction as would an ordinary day’s work. I might be wrong on that, and it’s now been 15 years since I contributed to a private pension so even if I checked mu old payslips the system might have changed by now. Perhaps someone currently paying in to a railway private pension scheme could let us know whether the in-payments are a fixed monthly sum or whether they vary depending on income in any given month?

Employer’s contributions may be different in any case, but there are only two realistic alternatives:

A) They are a percentage of the total salary bill, or
b) They are based on the basic salary for each post, irrespective of any enhancements or overtime

If (a) applies then including Sundays in the working week would make no difference at all. The employer’s contribution would be a percentage of the total salary bill, irrespective of how large or small that bill might be in different months.

If (b) applies then any increase in staff – for whatever reason – would increase employer’s total pension contributions. However, as this thread has been rattling on for 80 pages and is about staff shortages, it is abundantly clear that the current establishment is too small, and that this matter needs dealing with pronto anyway.

Finally, we are really talking about small sums of money where large companies are concerned. “We can’t possibly do that because it will cost us X million” is often the cry. But whilst “X million” is a huge sum of money to the likes of us and our personal finances, it is loose change down the back of the sofa to First Group…
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a-driver
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« Reply #1191 on: August 26, 2019, 08:23:27 pm »

Quote from: a-driver
Sorry, i'm not that clued up on pensions, even though at my age I probably should be!  It was explained to me and I've totally forgotten it, but's its effects the company more than the individual.  Currently Sunday pay overtime isn't pensionable, so by bringing Sunday's into the working week means you would need to recruit substantially more drivers, therefore the company finds themselves contributing more (I think!)

Apologies in advance for this post going into deep technical matters that ought really to be posted in “How Stuff Works”  Smiley

As I have always understood the situation, contributions to private pensions operate in the same way as NI contributions which pay for your State Pension ie. The more you earn the more you pay. Therefore ay overtime earnings you make will attract the same percentage pension deduction as would an ordinary day’s work. I might be wrong on that, and it’s now been 15 years since I contributed to a private pension so even if I checked mu old payslips the system might have changed by now. Perhaps someone currently paying in to a railway private pension scheme could let us know whether the in-payments are a fixed monthly sum or whether they vary depending on income in any given month?

Employer’s contributions may be different in any case, but there are only two realistic alternatives:

A) They are a percentage of the total salary bill, or
b) They are based on the basic salary for each post, irrespective of any enhancements or overtime

If (a) applies then including Sundays in the working week would make no difference at all. The employer’s contribution would be a percentage of the total salary bill, irrespective of how large or small that bill might be in different months.

If (b) applies then any increase in staff – for whatever reason – would increase employer’s total pension contributions. However, as this thread has been rattling on for 80 pages and is about staff shortages, it is abundantly clear that the current establishment is too small, and that this matter needs dealing with pronto anyway.

Finally, we are really talking about small sums of money where large companies are concerned. “We can’t possibly do that because it will cost us X million” is often the cry. But whilst “X million” is a huge sum of money to the likes of us and our personal finances, it is loose change down the back of the sofa to First Group…


Payments into the pension are a fixed monthly sum based on the basic salary.

Staff levels are correct, actually in a lot of depots they are overstaffed, according to the depot establishment calculators as defined by the DfT.  This doesn't take into consideration large levels of training which is currently ongoing.  To include Sunday's in the working week wouldn't require just a handful of additional drivers, you would need hundreds then you need to factor in the cost of training these extra drivers, the fact they would be non-productive for about a year.  Believe it or not, "X million" is the difference between profit and loss for some franchises, the operating margins are extremely small.  This is why you see companies sharing the financial risk when bidding for franchises.  Operating trains is high risk for little reward.  If you want to be in the business of making large amounts of profit you need to be in the business of leasing trains. 
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Celestial
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« Reply #1192 on: August 26, 2019, 08:25:10 pm »

I'm not sure that is correct.  When I got overtime, I didn't pay pension contributions on it. Which seemed fair, as my "final salary" would not be increased by any amount of overtime I had done over the years. So I would have been paying it for nothing.

Not sure about the employer though. That could be different, but if it isn't then I can see that having part of earnings without pension contribution would be a big saving. I seem to recall being told that the reason my final salary scheme was closing was because the employer couldn't be expected to pay 20pc+ of salary.  It was obviously too good to last (for most of us anyway).  
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grahame
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« Reply #1193 on: August 26, 2019, 08:49:05 pm »

Apologies in advance for this post going into deep technical matters that ought really to be posted in “How Stuff Works”  Smiley

Not a bad idea ... except for the small problem that (and I need to go back and check) that several of the active posters in this thread aren't there ... no reason at all they couldn't be, but the idea of that area is to let people choose whether they want a heavier technical feed.

Let's keep it as it is ... but in a separate thread put another reminder or two to people to ask to be added to "transport scholars" group.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1194 on: August 26, 2019, 10:29:11 pm »

Thanks to both Celestial and a-driver for their input. Now this is making a lot more sense.

If Sunday working is currently not costing anyone anything in pension contributions then to include it in the working week would put employers contributions up by 16.66% (ie up by one sixth from the present situation). I can therefore see the logic in GWR   trying to introduce the concept of Committed Sundays into contracts of employment to save themselves some money.

There are however a number of significant downsides to that position:

1.   By keeping Sundays as extra work (by whichever name) they are expecting/ hoping that staff are willing to do additional hours over and above their basic contracted hours
2.   Some staff may be unwilling to do extra hours for personal reasons, be they family-related or not wanting to pay nearly half of it in tax. Other reasons are no doubt available
3.   If GWR (and presumably other TOCs) are reliant on staff being willing to work overtime to cover Sunday turns of duty they can never fully guarantee that their advertised service will in fact run, because it relies on staff willing to work and not contracted to work. There is a big potential difference

A-driver tells us that “a lot of depots are overstaffed, according to the depot establishment calculators as defined by the DfT.” Whilst he qualifies that by saying that training is not taken onto account, there may well be other factors that are not being taken into account by the DfT either. What I am saying is that just because the DfT has a formula for calculating depot establishment levels, the situation in the real world away from Whitehall ivory towers may be a little different. We are effectively being asked to believe that depots are overstaffed because the DfT says so according to their formula. Um... – yeah right…

In the meantime and in the real world, significant numbers of trains are being cancelled day in day out. Personally I couldn’t give a monkey’s what the DfT computer model says about establishment requirements when this shambles is going on.

It strikes me that if GWR and other TOCs (and the DfT come to that) are unwilling to grasp the nettle of incorporating Sundays into the working week, they need to stop pretending that they can guarantee to run the service they are currently advertising in their timetables. Reduce the service – let the politicians deal with the complaints – and see how they get on come the next election…

Either that or the government in general and the DfT in particular should get out of trying to micromanage railways and leave it to people who understand how these things actually work
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TonyK
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« Reply #1195 on: August 26, 2019, 10:37:52 pm »

On the point in question, I don't think it is reasonable for someone who joins at 18 the day before a change making Sunday working contractual should expect to go the next 50 years without moving into line.   


Sunday's will become part of the working week, I have no doubt.  The C or E's will only be changed when both parties accept the agreement and for that to happen, both have to receive some benefit to the new C or E either from increased salary to take into account the additional or other improvements to conditions such as time off. 
I'm guessing as well, but bringing Sunday's into the working week will also effect pensions so its not just a straight forward pay rise. 

In a similar situation, my former employer decided that the department needed to move with the times, and proposed extending closing time to 8pm (from 5pm) weekdays and opening on Saturdays. People would work the unsociable hours, as they were seen, in rotation, so you could expect maybe one Staurday and two evenings in a month, but would not work any more hours. This was achieved by making the change of conditions a part of the pay offer. Anyone who signed up to it by the end of April 2016 would receive a pay rise of 2½%, effective from 1 July, with the new rostered hours coming into force from 1 October. Anyone who didn't sign up retained their former contracted hours, but received only the ½% payrise. I enthusiastically signed up for the new regime with its small bonus, then retired on 11 July, with a pension 2% higher than it would have been otherwise. I was followed over the following couple of months by many others of my former colleagues who thought likewise. Those left now take it in turns to read a book for a couple of hours, waiting for the public, for whose benefit this arrangement was devised, to do their bit, which they seem reluctant to do.
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« Reply #1196 on: August 29, 2019, 02:09:31 pm »

Journeycheck reporting more cancellations this evening including the last TV stopper (2327 Paddington-Didcot) and the last Gatwick-Reading (d2334) with no hint of an alternative service.
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« Reply #1197 on: August 29, 2019, 04:13:18 pm »

The last Gatwick to Reading train now reinstated at the expense of the previous one.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1198 on: August 30, 2019, 04:13:31 pm »

Numerous cancellations/alterations listed this afternoon/evening again due to crew shortage.

I assume Friday is within the working week,  even when the sun shines?
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broadgage
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« Reply #1199 on: August 30, 2019, 04:44:01 pm »

"Friday is the new weekend"
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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