Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Make mine a large double!

Remind me, when did we agree to surrender our lives to these self appointed Puritan kill-joys?

This from the BBC...

There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sports and music sponsorship, doctors say.

Has anyone read the Flying Inn?

Sod the lot of 'em - I'm off for a drink and a fag!

UPDATE: Several Benny-Hedgehogs later...

A bowler tip to Old Holborn for this...

The lead author of this report is one Professor Gerard Hastings, who is not qualified to practise medicine but who does have a PhD in Social Marketing from the University of Strathclyde. He is a member of fake charity Alcohol Focus Scotland, and he is well-versed in the tactics of neo-prohibitionism from his time working for the Cancer Research UK Centre for Tobacco Control Research.

Do any of these quango-monkeys add one jot of value to anything they touch?

A challenge to London Midland!

Telegrammed by The Delver
As London Midland traincrew still have guaranteed Rest Day Working (RDW) on a weekday and get time-and-a-half on Saturdays there is little incentive for them to work Sundays.

If your guaranteed weekday RDW falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday you just turn up, whether there’s a turn to do or not. So a few hours in the mess room, then off home. Happy days and no need to work Sunday!

Unwilling to address the route of the problem London Midland bottled it and in May introduced Double Time payments for Sunday working!

They came in droves. But at what a cost!

So last weekend’s sudden withdrawal of Double Time meant staff voted with their wallets and stayed at home.

And the company did errr… nothing.

As London Midland obviously has little appetite for a fight what’s the betting the extra payments reappear?

You can’t blame the unions, they are merely cashing in on weak management.

Meanwhile the rest of the industry holds its breath. If LM gives in, consider the impact on other TOCs.

So who is to blame?

Perhaps the biggest culprit is the Department for Transport which still insists on short term franchises that breed chaotic Industrial Relations .

With longer franchises the needs of both staff and the business could be addressed, over time. And without breaking the bank.

Meanwhile the taxpayer foots the bill whilst the railway prices itself out the market.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Peters...

This dates back to the dark days of December when LM couldn't run a rail service and were paying drivers for 12 hr shifts when they were only doing 4 hrs so that they were able to operate some kind of service..

London Midland were warned that come September ASLEF would want paying back for helping them through the crisis...

And that did not mean taking away over time payments...

UPDATE: This from a Mr Malins...

Why, Mr Fact Compiler, if we are talking about a traincrew shortage, has London Midland done nothing to rationalise its profligate use of resources, such as the double manning of all services, when Go Ahead and Captain Permatan must have good experience of Driver Only Operation South of the River?

At present we have guards who do little more than close doors, and the drivers do not even open them.

In 3rd Rail territory things are rather more efficient than that.

Unless of course you are on South West Trains, where the same waste applies, and worse as an entire timetable has been built around a working practice that extends station time.

And are the drivers in both cases already being paid the DOO allowance even though in practice they do not do it?

But then who was the Stagecoach man that decided not to have any confrontation over train manning?

Could it by any chance have been your Silver Fox?

UPDATE: This from Shiny Shoes...

Ok Mr Malins have you calmed down from your rather 90's style guard bashing rant yet?

So easy to blame the guard when things aint going too well - but I thought we had left that thinking of the dark, stark days of yore behind.

Lets get this right - the LM problem is not to do with the staffing of trains with a full and correct crew it's to to do with the age old problem of Sunday pay. This has gone on since the very earliest of days. Sundays were always voluntary and certainly in BR days were paid at time and 3/4.

Basic rates were so low that traincrews literally fought to work on a Sunday - so there was never any shortage of willing hands and it was the subject of quite a few rostering arguments and of course banter i.e. 'you've got more Sunday's in than the Pope!!' etc.etc.

Of course this situation was a form of blackmail - you either came for a Sunday or had the prospect of a 'flat' week - hence the trains ran.

Most post privatisation companies saw the folly of and inevitable business implications of this and eventually came to agreements that saw rostered Sundays as part of the working week - granted traincrew guaranteed rates of pay rocketed as a result - but probably only to a level that they should have been years ago.

LM have failed to grasp this nettle, irrespective of what rates of pay are now, if a Sunday remains as 'voluntary' then the inevitable will happen. What other business/service operates on such a basis? Wholly irresponsible, LM will reap what it has sowed i.e there's been a crop failure!

So please don't bring the role of the guard into all this - the correct crewing of a train is not a waste of resources, it is, if managed correctly hugely advantageous - from the shared operation of the train via the traincrew team to a uniformed, well informed, articulate communicator providing customer service, security and revenue protection/collection i.e proper train management.

The fact that this obviously does not happen on LM services (and others) is the consequence of weak or non existing traincrew leadership - especially at the 'tail lamp' end.

Get the right people in the first place, lead them by example, motivate, encourage and above all treat them as professionals not just back cab wallers waiting to become drivers - it's not a wasted resource Mr. Malins, it's an untapped resource.

Save General Election Night

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