Rail strikes discussion thread

gazr

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Have to agree here.

I’ve intentionally been walking up and down the train more often than usual both before and after the strikes, speaking with passengers about the industrial action (not the politics - but what to expect service wise, what’s running etc).

I’ve not had a single person give me any grief at all, and even had a pensioner go out of her way to come up to me whilst at a station and say “Good luck for tomorrow”
How many 'normal' people would go up and shout obscenities at others in public? Most who disagree just get on with things, knowing it's not worth arguing with people who are incapable of reason. Would hardly call your observations a metric of what people think.
 
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Wolfie

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Yes & for decades we paid with tax revenue for the pensioners that came before us & some of us pensioners to this day contribute whilst still working.

God forbid pensioners should be entitled to a point of view.
Funding issues with the state pension date back to it first being established in the UK in 1909. Obviously those first pensioners had contributed nothing towards it. Since then the state pension has always been funded from current Government revenue rather than on an investment basis.
 

GB

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Certainly at the TOC I work for, the agencies don't recognise the union, so any agency staff that joined would be wasting their money as the union couldn't rep them.

Not entirely. They can still be represented during disciplinary proceedings and would still have access to legal advice/support as far as I am aware. They just couldn't be represented for T&C and pay disputes.
 

bramling

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I think that the Government will have difficulty painting it all as a union problem to passengers because we've already been experiencing the short forms and missing trains as a result of the treasury's beef with the industry.

Similarly, the closure of ticket offices just sounds like another cut directed towards passengers, however much they try to dress it up as "progress".

That does rely on good comms for the unions, which to be fair RMT haven’t been doing too badly on this time round for the most part. It possibly helps that this government has a pretty bad reputation at the moment, so anything Johnson comes out with is less likely to be well received.

Certainly the vibe I get is that many people seem to see this as simply another symptom of the rather ineffective and chaotic government we’ve been seeing for some time now. If you wind up one group of people then it may be one thing, however Johnson seems to be causing problems across the board, and there comes a point where it simply can’t be the rest of the world that’s the problem.
 

Monty

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So it seems we're stuck in an endless argument on here now, yet nobody seems to be posting what has been offered and what that equates to.

Hopefully this allows people to understand why it's so divisive;

NR - offer is 2% plus 2 payments of 0.5% of salary this year, changes to T&Cs
- ~2500 compulsory redundancies
- increase weeks on nights (28-39)
- reduce night shift pay from 1.25x to 1.10x rate
- reduce weekend shift pay from 1.50x to 1.10x rate
- no mention of new tech in moderation so far
Also talk of fire and rehire for mobile operatives, onto self employed contracts requiring own vans, no guarantee on fuel allowance.

As you can see that it quite a hit to someone's earnings in the name of modernisation.

TOC - off is 2% plus extra 1% in exchange for T&C's
Not a lot of detail discussed yet, but in today's meeting TOCs have explicitly stated their desire to change to DOO on 'all applicable routes and traction on a date to be specified'.
Also mention of the 'creation of a customer service grade' which I believe was in GBR documents earlier this year.
Pensionable age to be raised 62-65

This information has been shared by RMT Secretary via Regional reps.

Got a similar message from a rep this morning. Disgusted doesn't even come close, to think I've given this industry my heart and soul for the last 15 years, striving to do my best during really challenging times.

I'd rather the whole network burns before accepting such an insulting offer.
 

SCDR_WMR

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How many 'normal' people would go up and shout obscenities at others in public? Most who disagree just get on with things, knowing it's not worth arguing with people who are incapable of reason. Would hardly call your observations a metric of what people think.
You'll be surprised at how many people engage with you as you walk through trains, especially if you're open to having conversations. Took me about 30 minutes to walk through 2 coaches the other day because I said I'd be happy to discuss it. And tbh, it's normally those who aren't happy that make themselves known
 

thedbdiboy

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The railway is always bringing in new technology. No one, not even the RMT, is disputing this. And everyone accepts that this affects jobs. Ticket office staff have gradually reduced as TVMs and now e-tickets become more common. The number of signalling staff is reducing as control is passed to ROCs. New and better kit is developed which reduces the need for manual work. And for the most part modernisation has been brought in through good faith negotiation.

But over certain things the RMT has stuck their foot down, like keeping a second safety-critical member of staff on board trains. And the same applies to maintenance work. We have been here before with Railtrack who thought they could automate and outsource safety-critical operation and maintenance work. With fatal consequences. The most recent fatal rail crash was largely due to failures in on-site supervision of a new drainage system. How can you automate that?

Automatic trains are a fantasy on anything but a new line built specifcally for the purpose and hermetically sealed from the external environment. For an existing railway to become automatic, you'd need an AI so smart that the first thing it would do is join a union!
Agree that the 'Automatic trains' thing is a complete red herring; however, the second safety-critical member of staff on train in every case is difficult to defend as a line in the sand given the already extensive DOO operation in place, in many cases for decades. This is where there needs to be care in working out what the actual red lines are.
 

Moonshot

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It's not what this fake 'modernisation' plan is about though is it? so not relevant to what we're talking about.


Indeed but we've got to keep printing money for the banks quantitative easing programme. They get our buddies in the city fat cat deals who then donate to our political campaigns - the circle of life for these rogues.
In 5:years time, there will be less signalling staff than there are today. ..superceded by technology. The same goes for maintenance staff.......that's the reality
 

adc82140

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So it seems we're stuck in an endless argument on here now, yet nobody seems to be posting what has been offered and what that equates to.

Hopefully this allows people to understand why it's so divisive;

NR - offer is 2% plus 2 payments of 0.5% of salary this year, changes to T&Cs
- ~2500 compulsory redundancies
- increase weeks on nights (28-39)
- reduce night shift pay from 1.25x to 1.10x rate
- reduce weekend shift pay from 1.50x to 1.10x rate
- no mention of new tech in moderation so far
Also talk of fire and rehire for mobile operatives, onto self employed contracts requiring own vans, no guarantee on fuel allowance.

As you can see that it quite a hit to someone's earnings in the name of modernisation.

TOC - off is 2% plus extra 1% in exchange for T&C's
Not a lot of detail discussed yet, but in today's meeting TOCs have explicitly stated their desire to change to DOO on 'all applicable routes and traction on a date to be specified'.
Also mention of the 'creation of a customer service grade' which I believe was in GBR documents earlier this year.
Pensionable age to be raised 62-65

This information has been shared by RMT Secretary via Regional reps.
This is interesting to read. Thank you for posting it. Are you able to share the RMT's counter offer? I fully understand that you won't be able to if it's confidential.
 

Wolfie

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Do you know taking this to a level of insults isn’t helping this thread.
If you don't think "poor little boomers" is insulting.....

Despite the exaggerated claims of 'our members resorting to foodbanks', it's actually agency workers such as yourself who are amongst the biggest victims of this strike - and with whom I have an enormous amount of sympathy.

Mr Lynch couldn't care less; if you put this point to him, he would no doubt glibly say that you should be joining the RMT and striking too...
I completely agree.

There is only so much you can help those who follow low quality media. I know plenty of Labour voting OAPs, many of them credit the same media sources I rely on.

It’s very expensive for either party to purchase OAP votes. It should be a disgrace to waste public money like we see currently. Pride in a well run country isn’t as appealing as it used to be when there’s cash thrown around.

This is way off topic. The point that the triple lock exists while the government says other public fundees cannot be so lucky is about as relevant as this line of argument can be.
I wouldn't argue.
 

jon0844

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Hardly a good measure of polling.
It is also likely that those that disagree will typically avoid confrontation and quietly pass by.
As for the 90 odd percent of people who don’t use the train probably don’t care either way.
The government will always try to get us to think what they want us to whatever the political bias.
Good luck with your fight.
Usually there's absolutely no trouble at all finding people attacking unions and its 'greedy' members, but it seems everyone has struggled to find them this time around.

Plenty of Tory MPs or councillors, or some retired business leader, sure, but even GB News struggled to find someone and when they thought they had, it turned out he was frustrated at being disrupted but still supported the strike. Quick, back to the studio...

In the end, it has been GB News' own broadcasters attacking the unions and anyone daring to want better working conditions or pay.
 

matacaster

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Watched a video on YouTube yesterday of Yanis Varoufskis being interviewed by Owen Jones. Sorry, I'm rubbish at links on here; but at about 9 mins this is, discussed.

Apparently (according to Varafoukis) wage inflation is mentioned a lot by the powers that be when it comes to poor people wanting to survive, but it not mentioned in regards to awarding banker bonuses and director bonuses. Nor is it discussed in connection with property price increases in some very affluent areas. So it's an attack on ordinary people.

Also he says the rate of inflation works out more for the poor than for the very rich.
Boardroom pay is, I agree, far too high. This is partly because the chief execs are often savvy enough to investigate, make new plans, get them approved and make sure they get out before the sh*t hits the fan. The reason say a ftse100 boardroom of say 12 people might get say £20m between them is that these people are considered to have the confidence of investors and banks. If 100, 000 railway works get 10% increase in their salary (say £35000 average) as an increase its like 3500x100000= £350,000,000 and that isn't allowing for increased pensions etc
 

Wolfie

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Well at least we're returning to the important stuff again. Can you now tell us what working practices should change and how the changes benefit the railway?
Your logical fallacy is to assume that the interests of "the railway" and those of staff are the same. They are not.
 

Lost property

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I don't understand the question, but will explain how Sundays work even though the clever propagandists that are NR and the government know that while they've got you explaining stuff, you can't be attacking their rank hypocrisy. So they put out loads of false nonsense and know the public will ask questions about it. However, I get rostered Saturdays and Sundays the same as every other signaller. The only difference with the Sunday is that I can refuse to work it and then it goes to the next relief signaller to work. There is never a situation where signal boxes close due to signallers being unavailable to work Sundays. Sundays do have an enhanced rate compared to other days. If the argument is they can't run a better service on a Sunday because of this, they are lying. There are no shortage of signallers willing to work Sundays. So any argument that the railways aren't 24/7 7 days a week is false.

As for the modernisation plans reducing fares for passengers which the Prime Liar has been suggesting. I believe fares rose each of the last 2 years and there was no increased staff expenditure at all. They, the senior management, waste the money with crackers plans and it's time they were brought to task for their profligacy. The same as this useless government. It is not the workers on strike that are responsible for spending the money or increases in fares.
Many thanks for your reply. As I will reiterate, I was not being contentious just curious as to how, and why, this is still a practice given it plays straight into the hands of the right wing media and "management " alike .

I would also say I don't believe the propaganda / PR "spin " offered to the public...I could fill pages with the same from airline "management " which bore no resemblance to the reality including, in one instance, a change to my T's and C's induced by an act of duplicity that was staggering with its arrogance and implementation.
 

Wolfie

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I am not involved in the negotiations so it is not for me to say exactly what should change. But changes which enable the same outcome to be realised with fewer roles increase productivity, and hence open the door to a bigger pay increase.

It sounds like you are fundamentally opposed to any change, and yet still want the higher pay increase that increased productivity would unlock. Surely you can see that this is not a realistic position to adopt?

At the moment it seems that the negotiations are not really progressing because both sides are refusing to enter into proper discussion without pre-conditions. Which is not good news.
That is balanced.
 

Islineclear3_1

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It's not what this fake 'modernisation' plan is about though is it? so not relevant to what we're talking about.
Eh?

As already mentioned, there has been a rolling program to modernise old signalling equipment and centralise operations, so the little signal boxes will go. What is fake about that !? And what has quantitive easing got anything to do with this discussion
 

quantinghome

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Take Elon musk. Yes, he fits your definition of elite. Now he has become rich by having ideas (was involved heavily in PayPal) and tesla, spacex and various other things. He has risked everything he has several times. He works insanely long hours himself. He has created many thousands of jobs, some not well paid I accept, but he is an innovator. Some pension funds have made a lot of money on tesla.

The vast majority of people do not have the ideas, brains, education, drive and risk taking to do things like Elon musk has done or even open a very small business. People who just think that it is someone else's job (govt or company) to provide them with a good well paying job when they take no risks and just stick to a rigid contract in which every minor change should get more pay are really like dinosaurs.

I'd still like someone to publish the 'rule book' which unions use to demand extra payments for change or refuse to do tasks. It must go into microscopic detail or is it actually just the shop stewards opinion as to whether the staff can do it. Let management manage, let the unions be consulted.
Yes, Elon Musk became rich entirely off his own bat. Nothing to do with his family owning an Emerald mine in Zambia.

I don't think he is an innovator - he has a good eye for investment opportunities, but Paypal and Tesla at least were the work of others which he has then profited from.

Has he risked everything he has? Not kept a few million back just in case it doesn't work out? He can afford to throw money around and has plenty to fall back on if it doesn't work out. Manned Mars mission, the boring company and hyperloop are all incredibly bad ideas. There are far better things to spend money on.

I am very happy for people who are genuine inventors who have worked their socks off and have then succeeded. Less so 'tech geniuses' who justify themselves with reheated Ayn Rand tripe arguments.
 
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In 5:years time, there will be less signalling staff than there are today. ..superceded by technology. The same goes for maintenance staff.......that's the reality
That's the trend generally. Those changes will be driven by demand for more capacity though. The costs required to resignal just aren't cost effective at the moment
 

Wolfie

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I don't know anyone that voted on Covid or the Ukraine. These are irrelevant and are both a huge drain on resources that the government decided to do. So the government should take responsibility for the financial situation that those policies have caused for us.


I've explained why it is asset stripping as I've said. Still waiting for anybody to argue this is wrong and why - as you're able to if you want. So I'd like you to now defend this plan and it's apparent benefits for the industry because that is what you claimed. You're not getting out of this by quoting me. Explain why you think it's good...
The government "chose" to do a global pandemic! Utterly pathetic bilge from someone completely self-interested with the empathy of a brick.
 

gazr

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Usually there's absolutely no trouble at all finding people attacking unions and its 'greedy' members, but it seems everyone has struggled to find them this time around.

Plenty of Tory MPs or councillors, or some retired business leader, sure, but even GB News struggled to find someone and when they thought they had, it turned out he was frustrated at being disrupted but still supported the strike. Quick, back to the studio...

In the end, it has been GB News' own broadcasters attacking the unions and anyone daring to want better working conditions or pay.
In this lovely digital social media age, who in their right mind would want to go against Unions on live TV? You'll be identified and doxed in no time. Better to just keep walking.
 

SCDR_WMR

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This is interesting to read. Thank you for posting it. Are you able to share the RMT's counter offer? I fully understand that you won't be able to if it's confidential.
Unfortunately that hasn't reached my level, I doubt there was much in a way of a counter offer as it does very much like NR in particular are playing hard ball given this offer hasn't changed since Friday (apart from the compulsory redundancies that were added on Monday!)

Having watched a lot of the news coverage and ministerial interviews, it really doesn't seem like the DfT care right now given the treasury said a decent and fair increase was acceptable to them
 
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Eh?

As already mentioned, there has been a rolling program to modernise old signalling equipment and centralise operations, so the little signal boxes will go. What is fake about that !? And what has quantitive easing got anything to do with this discussion
Must I explain everything because you're too lazy to look at the original post?

If you read the original post you would know the QE part was related to another message posted by someone else to which it was relevant.

The 'modernisation'' plan has nothing to do with the closure of signal boxes.
 

Starmill

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Apparently that will, at least in part, change for working pensioners from 2023.
I suppose that's a move in the right direction then. Small steps and all that. But against the revenue that could be raised from one consolidated rate of income tax, and the simplicity benefits it would bring...
 

TwoYellas

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Boardroom pay is, I agree, far too high. This is partly because the chief execs are often savvy enough to investigate, make new plans, get them approved and make sure they get out before the sh*t hits the fan. The reason say a ftse100 boardroom of say 12 people might get say £20m between them is that these people are considered to have the confidence of investors and banks. If 100, 000 railway works get 10% increase in their salary (say £35000 average) as an increase its like 3500x100000= £350,000,000 and that isn't allowing for increased pensions etc
Varafoukis is an economist, so I take when he says that there's an attack on the poor going on very seriously. And to be frank, the amount the Gov't wastes and lies and adopts the "not my fault gov'ner approach" on nearly everything they do wrong especially Johnson and Patel. I don't want to list a whole list of immoral behaviours by this Gov't because I don't want to go off topic. But I'm with my striking colleagues; not the Gov't and their powerful media baron friends.
 

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