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Author Topic: Shortage of train crews on Great Western Railway since September 2017 - ongoing discussion  (Read 74473 times)
a-driver
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« Reply #765 on: June 18, 2018, 08:31:47 pm »

I think it was mentioned albeit on another thread, and if it is indeed the worst Sunday of the year for driver availability, surely that strengthens the case even further for a properly Planned, realistic and workable emergency timetable, rather than the chaotic farce we saw yesterday?

The problem with producing an emergency timetable is that far fewer services would be scheduled to run than there currently is. It would be a bare minimum skeleton service because they won’t know driver availability far enough in advance to produce a timetable. Train crew rostering don’t know numbers of drivers available until Monday/Tuesday therefore a timetable won’t be able to be published until about Thursday.  Once the roster is published it will still be “fine tuned” right up until Sunday when drivers book on for duty and they’re asked “would you mind working a bit longer to cover x” which is why you often see some services reinstated during the day. 

The question really boils down to wether it’s better to have a vastly reduced service which leads to severe overcrowding but is reliable or to run as many services as you can with the resources you have available on the day.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #766 on: June 18, 2018, 10:11:00 pm »

The whole situation is ludicrous and almost beyond parody. GWR "management" and the Unions should be locked in a room, have their heads repeatedly banged together & supplied with enough beer and sandwiches to keep them there until they get an agreement on this ridiculous Sunday issue....a few boots to the arse on both sides wouldn't go amiss either. I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage of volunteers to deliver them.
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Wizard
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« Reply #767 on: June 18, 2018, 10:15:50 pm »

I don’t see what the unions have to do with anything.
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ellendune
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« Reply #768 on: June 18, 2018, 11:13:09 pm »

The whole situation is ludicrous and almost beyond parody. GWR "management" and the Unions should be locked in a room, have their heads repeatedly banged together & supplied with enough beer and sandwiches to keep them there until they get an agreement on this ridiculous Sunday issue....a few boots to the arse on both sides wouldn't go amiss either. I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage of volunteers to deliver them.

Are you trying to create a strike? Or do you subscribe to the Genghis Khan school of diplomacy?  I suggest that sort of pressure - the sort applied by DfT on the Southern dispute - would produce very similar results to that!

Also if you had been reading other posts on this site you would know that:

1) GWR have more drivers than they would need were it not for the accelerated training programme;
2) Drivers are already doing rest day working to undertake the training;
3) Making Sunday working part of contracted hours would require the recruitment of more drivers and it would take at least a year to train them even if they could all be trained at once.

So even if your approach got agreement it would not provide the instant solution you seek.   

Much as I would like a solution by next Sunday it is not going to happen and it is far better that GWR pursue it in a manner that does not make the weekday services even worse than they are at the moment. 
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bignosemac
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« Reply #769 on: June 18, 2018, 11:46:16 pm »

How do you propose GWR pursue the matter then?

Sunday working has been an issue since BR days. Many TOCs have got a handle on it. The majority of the Greater Western franchise area has been in the hands of the same parent company almost since day one of privatisation. The expanded franchise has been with FirstGroup since 2006.

Let's let GWR continue to pursue the matter at their current glacial pace shall we? They've only had 12 years to achieve something.  Roll Eyes

I'm with TG on this one. Time for some toecaps to connect with fundaments.
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ellendune
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« Reply #770 on: June 18, 2018, 11:55:28 pm »

I don't know how fast they are pursuing it as I don't know at what stage in the last 12 years they actually started!

All I know is that it can't be solved overnight with or without a boot. And previous applications of a boot in these sort of circumstances have left us ordinary passengers coming off worst.   
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #771 on: June 18, 2018, 11:58:30 pm »

The only way I can see to resolve this in the short term is to chuck money at the drivers. They ‘only’ get time-and-a-quarter for working a Sunday.  Make that time-and-a-half, or even double time, until you’ve got on top of the problem, and you might persuade enough to tip the balance back to where it should be with more drivers making themselves available than exercising their contractual right to say no.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #772 on: June 19, 2018, 06:38:06 am »

The only way I can see to resolve this in the short term is to chuck money at the drivers. They ‘only’ get time-and-a-quarter for working a Sunday.  Make that time-and-a-half, or even double time, until you’ve got on top of the problem, and you might persuade enough to tip the balance back to where it should be with more drivers making themselves available than exercising their contractual right to say no.

That's a good short term solution to treat the symptoms, but the cause is these outdated contracts, which do not reflect the 7 day nature of the business, and need to be brought up to date - that will require said isolation of GWR/Unions with headbanging/arsekicking/electrodes etc applied to BOTH sides as necessary until a solution is reached. I'm sure it won't be cheap.  Smiley
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Timmer
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« Reply #773 on: June 19, 2018, 07:09:16 am »

So is it cheaper for GWR to cancel services at the rate they’ve been doing on Sundays then to pay their drivers time and a half to work Sundays?

Or is the dead hand of Dft stopping GWR from doing just that because it will tip the franchise into loss making teritory meaning which Dft will then have to pay for?
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ellendune
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« Reply #774 on: June 19, 2018, 08:05:16 am »

The only way I can see to resolve this in the short term is to chuck money at the drivers. They ‘only’ get time-and-a-quarter for working a Sunday.  Make that time-and-a-half, or even double time, until you’ve got on top of the problem, and you might persuade enough to tip the balance back to where it should be with more drivers making themselves available than exercising their contractual right to say no.

If drivers are already working on rest days to do training would even that be enough?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #775 on: June 19, 2018, 08:17:24 am »

Not enough for everybody, no.  You only need to tip the balance a little bit though as even on the worst Sunday’s there’s still usually over 90% coverage of shifts.

I suppose it could backfire in that drivers might be more inclined to work a Sunday instead of a Rest Day which they would otherwise have applied for, leaving us shorter in the week.

There will be no major movement on this, electrodes or otherwise, for a couple of years as more drivers are required, so it might be worth trying as a quick temporary fix.
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a-driver
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« Reply #776 on: June 19, 2018, 08:42:52 am »

The trouble with offering Double Pay for a Sunday is that most of it is lost in tax!  You’ve also got the issue where Sunday is shift changeover day. Those working late shifts on a Saturday might then be rostered earlies on Monday so you lose a proportion of your drivers there. 

Any changes to contracts probably also need to be agreed by the DfT
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #777 on: June 19, 2018, 08:44:58 am »

The trouble with offering Double Pay for a Sunday is that most of it is lost in tax! 

As they say, you've got to earn it to pay it! 🙂
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grahame
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« Reply #778 on: June 19, 2018, 08:48:53 am »

I suppose it could backfire in that drivers might be more inclined to work a Sunday instead of a Rest Day which they would otherwise have applied for, leaving us shorter in the week.

I wondered this - would such an action just be shifting the problem?

To better understand (not that it's my business!) I would love to see figures for how contracted hours, rest day hours and Sunday hours worked for a typical driver or train manager have changed over recent years.  And with that table, a column showing training hours and other hours which are not immediately productive (such as traveling to duty.

A classic story told me by an old-school bus operator of many years experience.  His yard-man worked consistently Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings and did a superb job.   Such a superb job that the bus operator gave him a nice salary rise.  "Wow - thank you.  That means I can now afford not to work Saturday mornings ...."
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« Reply #779 on: June 19, 2018, 12:12:43 pm »

Was talking to a friend who works at a local station, won't name to save them getting into trouble

They said last Sunday there were 90 cancellations between WSM and BTM due to a lack of drivers

This Sunday there is an airshow at WSM, and many drivers are choosing not to work on that day because of England playing in the world cup

It will be fun getting those extra thousands of people home on Sunday !
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