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Author Topic: 2019 - TransWilts cancellation and amendments log  (Read 71599 times)
Celestial
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« Reply #330 on: August 18, 2019, 09:56:52 am »

So how long before GWR management are making comments again that they are disappointed at the continued slow growth in passenger numbers (as I think you commented has happened before Grahame).

I don't think we have seen any answers yet from the questions that Mark wasn't able to answer on the 5th, including the one on cancellations due to staff shortages.  Maybe those preparing a response could have today's debacle drawn to their attention for particular comment?
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martyjon
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« Reply #331 on: August 18, 2019, 10:05:08 am »

Are there any penalties in the franchise letting / agreement from a financial aspect regarding cancelled trains.

Are there any GWR / union agreements in force to allow stand by / call in payments to be made to staff who volunteer to 'stand by' on rostered days off even though their attendance may not be required.

The recent power outage has prompted the energy regulator to threaten NG with a huge fine in the form of  a percentage of their annual something.

Thats wrong, why should the company 'pay the price' of the people at the tops decisions, i.e. lack of / stifling investment.

Company Law should include for penalties for directors whos actions cause distress to others, whoever they are, customers or shareholders.

Take the case of Woolworths, their £800 million deficit didn't occur overnight, it was building up for years.

Take the case of Carillion, their deficit was increasing after the first set of accounts were published. I have long believed that bankruptcy occurred when bills couldn't be paid when they became due, yet didn't Carillion put back their payment terms from 30 to 60 days, then 90 days, etc. I have not seen reports of many directors of any company compulsory wound up taken to task and losing their million £ mansions to recompense suppliers for their losses, the Pension Fall Back Fund (or whatever they're called) and the Insolvency Service who have to pick up the bill for redundancy payments for failed companies. Philip Green is the only one widely reported but he got off lightly, has he still got his 3 in number multi million £ yachts and his villa in Monte Carlo to prove a point ?

Rant over and whilst starting off as a reply to the thread title strayed a bit off '2019 - Transwilts cancellations and amendments log', sorry.

 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 10:10:20 am by martyjon » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #332 on: August 18, 2019, 10:22:23 am »

So how long before GWR management are making comments again that they are disappointed at the continued slow growth in passenger numbers (as I think you commented has happened before Grahame).

I would characterise it currently as "disappointed but totally understanding" from GWR and indeed comment has been as to how it earth passenger numbers haven't done worse over the last couple of years.  The big danger comes not initial from the GWR team who, however, really should be able to provide the staff ... but rather from the various third parties who give them and their associates direction / support.   

Organisations such as the Department for Transport, the Western Gateway sub National Transport Body, the LEP and Wiltshire Council - all of which have fare wider interests than just train services across 297 stations - will see the stats and the end of the meteoric growth without realising it's because of serious supply problems rather than a peaking of demand.

Quote
I don't think we have seen any answers yet from the questions that Mark wasn't able to answer on the 5th, including the one on cancellations due to staff shortages.  Maybe those preparing a response could have today's debacle drawn to their attention for particular comment?

Correct.   The questions were delayed (at the Coffee Shop end) prior to being forwarded and unfortunately for us (but not for him - I hope he is enjoying and recharging batteries) Mark is on leave.    I don't know what the remaining questions were - rather I stood back to allow me to actually ask a question;  reading between the lines, you asked one staff shortages, Celestial.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #333 on: August 18, 2019, 10:29:18 am »

Are there any penalties in the franchise letting / agreement from a financial aspect regarding cancelled trains.

Are there any GWR / union agreements in force to allow stand by / call in payments to be made to staff who volunteer to 'stand by' on rostered days off even though their attendance may not be required.

The recent power outage has prompted the energy regulator to threaten NG with a huge fine in the form of  a percentage of their annual something.

Thats wrong, why should the company 'pay the price' of the people at the tops decisions, i.e. lack of / stifling investment.

Company Law should include for penalties for directors whos actions cause distress to others, whoever they are, customers or shareholders.

Take the case of Woolworths, their £800 million deficit didn't occur overnight, it was building up for years.

Take the case of Carillion, their deficit was increasing after the first set of accounts were published. I have long believed that bankruptcy occurred when bills couldn't be paid when they became due, yet didn't Carillion put back their payment terms from 30 to 60 days, then 90 days, etc. I have not seen reports of many directors of any company compulsory wound up taken to task and losing their million £ mansions to recompense suppliers for their losses, the Pension Fall Back Fund (or whatever they're called) and the Insolvency Service who have to pick up the bill for redundancy payments for failed companies. Philip Green is the only one widely reported but he got off lightly, has he still got his 3 in number multi million £ yachts and his villa in Monte Carlo to prove a point ?

Rant over and whilst starting off as a reply to the thread title strayed a bit off '2019 - Transwilts cancellations and amendments log', sorry.

 

I think you're conflating a number of issues but as I understand it (II please keep me honest!), despite the railways being a 7 day business, in their Ts & Cs GWR drivers do not have Sunday as part of the "working week" so can opt out of working them, if they do work them they are regarded as overtime but as train drivers are now extremely highly paid (relatively speaking given the nature of the job) the overtime rates are not particularly attractive.

This has been an issue for several years now with Sunday services regularly decimated.and you do get the impression that GWR have placed it at the bottom of the "difficult to deal with" pile, as the Unions will no doubt see it as an opportunity to screw more money out of the employer for the bruvvers to bring them in line with every other 7 day operation in the country.

Meanwhile, customers suffer and have to stuff themselves onto whichever (if any) massively overcrowded services are still running.

Try a Penzance - Paddington on a Sunday afternoon when 50% of the service is cancelled (it's bad enough when they all run!), the A38 will seem like paradise.

It's increasingly however becoming an issue in the working week too, which on many levels is more worrying.

Ultimately it's basic workforce management, which the likes of Hopwood and those at the top should be across and resolving. It's the sort of thing Directors get paid 6 figure salaries for.

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Celestial
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« Reply #334 on: August 18, 2019, 10:30:44 am »

reading between the lines, you asked one staff shortages, Celestial.
No, mine was to do with battery trains greening the Cornish branches. But I think TaplowGreen suggested that a question had been asked on the subject.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #335 on: August 18, 2019, 10:33:37 am »

reading between the lines, you asked one staff shortages, Celestial.
No, mine was to do with battery trains greening the Cornish branches. But I think TaplowGreen suggested that a question had been asked on the subject.

I asked if a question on crew shortages had been put forward by anyone, if memory serves, Graham wasn't sure.

If one had been, I'd be amazed if it didn't make the cut for the "live" event, but then again I'm not privy to the others which were put forward or the criteria used to select them.
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phile
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« Reply #336 on: August 18, 2019, 10:47:50 am »

Twitter exchange on alternative arrangements

Quote
Myself 08:16
What arrangements are in place for people travelling from Melksham today?

GWR Help (08:16)
Thank you for providing this information, a team member will be in touch with you shortly.

GWR Help (09:20)
Hi there, there are taxis at all affected stations to take passengers to their destinations. - Michaela

I'm noting "to their destinations" ... which is a rather bigger and better offer for passengers headed for a day out in Weymouth than might have been expected.


Edit to add ...   Sadly, Journey check somewhat contradicts, as it suggests that the taxis will only be ordered on demand (and you need to know to demand).   Extraordinary for a station which has passenger getting on to virtually every train

Quote
Additional Information
If you are travelling from an unstaffed station please use the Customer Help Point or contact National Rail Enquiries on 03457 484 950 detailing the total number of passengers in your party and your intended destination. This will enable us to get suitable replacement transport to you as quickly as possible.

Now a Twitter reply:-

I'm sorry to hear there isn't enough staff. Surely it can't be cheaper running taxis back and forth opposed to hiring people? Can you confirm that the taxi service will be running all throughout the day? Even the 8pm return back to Trowbridge? Thank you.

GWR Help
@GWRHelp
Replying to
@CalveIsEpic
The taxi service will run between the affected stations only but this will continue for services that are understaffed in the evening. Please keep an eye on our journey checker to see whether this service will be affected. - Michaela
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bobm
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« Reply #337 on: August 18, 2019, 11:19:25 am »

GWR have set up a new driver's grade which includes Sundays as part of the working week.  All new recruits go into that grade.  Existing drivers have been offered incentives to join the grade (and therefore have Sundays in their contracts).

Some have taken up the offer but others, particularly those near the end of their service, have opted to remain with their current conditions.  This is particularly the case at Plymouth and Penzance depots apparently.

I am not sure what arrangements are being made for guards/train managers.
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Celestial
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« Reply #338 on: August 18, 2019, 01:19:36 pm »

GWR have set up a new driver's grade which includes Sundays as part of the working week.  All new recruits go into that grade.  Existing drivers have been offered incentives to join the grade (and therefore have Sundays in their contracts).

Some have taken up the offer but others, particularly those near the end of their service, have opted to remain with their current conditions.  This is particularly the case at Plymouth and Penzance depots apparently.

I am not sure what arrangements are being made for guards/train managers.

That's encouraging, though sounds as though it could take a very long term for a large enough number of drivers to be on the new grade for it to make a difference.  Do you know whether those drivers would (or could) be allocated more than their fair share of Sundays as this would solve the problem sooner.  But if the union agreement insists that they only get allocated the number that they would if all drivers were on the new grade (and I can see why that could have been a point of discussion), then it will still take a long time. (Hope that question makes sense!)
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Charlie (in Gloucester)
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« Reply #339 on: August 18, 2019, 01:26:39 pm »

GWR have set up a new driver's grade which includes Sundays as part of the working week.  All new recruits go into that grade.  Existing drivers have been offered incentives to join the grade (and therefore have Sundays in their contracts).

Some have taken up the offer but others, particularly those near the end of their service, have opted to remain with their current conditions.  This is particularly the case at Plymouth and Penzance depots apparently.

I am not sure what arrangements are being made for guards/train managers.

As for guards, there is currently work going into Conductors and Train Managers being brought into a grade of On Board Train Manager. Currently TMs work HSS services and Conductors work shorter journeys, but whether this will go through depends on whether Train Managers vote for it as they currently earn about 6k more than Conductors.
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RA
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« Reply #340 on: August 18, 2019, 02:11:04 pm »

GWR have set up a new driver's grade which includes Sundays as part of the working week.  All new recruits go into that grade.  Existing drivers have been offered incentives to join the grade (and therefore have Sundays in their contracts).

Some have taken up the offer but others, particularly those near the end of their service, have opted to remain with their current conditions.  This is particularly the case at Plymouth and Penzance depots apparently.

I am not sure what arrangements are being made for guards/train managers.

All former 'West' and 'Thames Valley' drivers are now in the 'GWR Driver' grade. 'High Speed' drivers (no commitment to work Sundays) have the option of transferring to the new grade or remaining ringfenced until the grade is redundant through natural wastage. For the 'GWR Drivers' Sunday working is however still not in the working week but has 'Committed Sundays' which are still worked as overtime but with the understanding that the overtime will be worked. This normally averages out at 1 Sunday every three weeks. The problem is that unlike a weekday where two thirds of the  grade will be rostered on duty, Sunday will only see one third of the grade rostered on. Extra Sunday services on most routes has put this model under strain. If several of those rostered on are on annual leave, you already have a shortage of crew with volunteers required to maintain the service level. The problem is exacerbated during school holidays with minimal volunteers.
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« Reply #341 on: August 18, 2019, 03:53:01 pm »

Excellent summary by RA.  I’ll add to it if I may. 

Very few HSS drivers have taken the option of transferring to the GWR driver grade.  As there becomes less and HSS drivers through natural wastage it might reach a tipping point where the rest will follow.  Also, next year, pay parity is achieved - currently GWR ones earn thousands less than HSS ones.

Finally, with all drivers, no sick pay is paid if they don’t come in for their committed Sunday shifts.  The extra money has been traditionally enough to get enough volunteers in.  Higher basic wages mean less people are inclined to volunteer at the sane time as more trains are needed to run.  Come December’s timetable and pay increases next year, that is only likely to get worse.

I really can’t see how Sunday can be effectively resourced, summer time especially, with all the additional trains in the new timetable unless Sunday shifts are brought into the working week. 

Even if all drivers are on the GWR grade committed Sunday deal - note that most cancellations today were on services crewed by former West grade drivers, all of which are now GWR grade drivers and therefore have committed Sundays.
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« Reply #342 on: August 18, 2019, 04:44:02 pm »

The detail of driver shifts and Sunday staffing makes for very, very interesting reading and I may well see if I can re-arrange some of the posts into a separate thread "Across the West" as they apply so widely.

I am struck by a number of thoughts ...

a) The problems with reliability based on staff shortage - though with a bias towards Sundays - have been far from Sundays Only.

b) We were told last year that the problem was because so may staff were having to take time away from revenue earning duties to learn the new trains.  How much was that really the case now that it seems that many of the problems may be the working week?    Has just half a problem been cured?

c) I used to run a business with someone on call at least 24x7 and Sunday being the busiest day of the week. We had occasional issues - but never did we have no-one available to do a contracted job (provide a clean hotel room and check people in).  We did not have the issues of geography or long training programmes, granted ... but one of key things was to take on people who wanted to work the days / hours we needed work done.  There ARE people who love working early mornings, and there are people who love every Wednesday off ... I wonder if the railways have any drivers / conductors / train managers who's optional  "Sundays" are perhaps Tuesdays or Thursdays??
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #343 on: August 18, 2019, 05:20:08 pm »

The detail of driver shifts and Sunday staffing makes for very, very interesting reading and I may well see if I can re-arrange some of the posts into a separate thread "Across the West" as they apply so widely.

I am struck by a number of thoughts ...

a) The problems with reliability based on staff shortage - though with a bias towards Sundays - have been far from Sundays Only.

b) We were told last year that the problem was because so may staff were having to take time away from revenue earning duties to learn the new trains.  How much was that really the case now that it seems that many of the problems may be the working week?    Has just half a problem been cured?

c) I used to run a business with someone on call at least 24x7 and Sunday being the busiest day of the week. We had occasional issues - but never did we have no-one available to do a contracted job (provide a clean hotel room and check people in).  We did not have the issues of geography or long training programmes, granted ... but one of key things was to take on people who wanted to work the days / hours we needed work done.  There ARE people who love working early mornings, and there are people who love every Wednesday off ... I wonder if the railways have any drivers / conductors / train managers who's optional  "Sundays" are perhaps Tuesdays or Thursdays??

I think the difference is Graham, especially in respect of your point (c), the likes of us have to deal with competition, and have a culture of customer service excellence both by inclination, conscience and necessity, simply because if we didn't, there are plenty who do and would be happy to take our Clients/customers and business off our hands. We also (thankfully) don't have workforces represented by Unions who are willing to initiate industrial action at the drop of a hat on a spurious premise.

Before anyone starts on the latter point, as a Company Director and Manager at various levels I have worked in highly unionised environments, but always with cooperation and pragmatism rather than guns pointed at heads. I greatly value their role in society and the workplace.

On the railways, (excepting occasional pockets of excellence) you have a culture which has changed little since 1975, enhanced by powerful trade Unions stuck around the same era, where the customer is treated as an inconvenience expected to put up with whatever they get and be grateful for it, weak management unable or unwilling to come up with a solution, all wrapped up in a monopoly with no competition.

That is largely why, year after year, we have to put up with this atrocious service.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 05:33:55 pm by TaplowGreen » Logged
RA
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« Reply #344 on: August 18, 2019, 06:47:54 pm »

On the railways, (excepting occasional pockets of excellence) you have a culture which has changed little since 1975, enhanced by powerful trade Unions stuck around the same era, where the customer is treated as an inconvenience expected to put up with whatever they get and be grateful for it, weak management unable or unwilling to come up with a solution, all wrapped up in a monopoly with no competition.
Very succinct. Regarding the last line, even though the franchising model is currently under scrutiny, I get the impression that the continual awarding of 'Direct Award' franchise renewals instead of full blown competitions means that incumbant operators have little incentive to address issues as they know that they will be retaining the keys anyway.
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