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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Who is surprised,? Again settling old scores, Thing is, this, Standing for trustee ship is not against the rules of the WSRHT, so therefore any action surely has to be illegal, and could be very damaging for those persons both as directors / trustees, and personally if they can be held liable for these action's, if those who have been wrongly penalised decide to seek legal advise, I just hope they were not so stupid as to illegally remove the card from someone who is a employment specialist barrister, because, it may very well work out very expensive for them,
     
  2. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    There are some very misleading assumptions in there! As I am sure an employment specialist barrister would advise volunteers do not enjoy the protection afforded to employees. There is not right to volunteer. It is an opportunity that can be withdrawn or withheld for any reason. Specifically the Equality Act does not apply to volunteers so they cannot allege discrimination. Unlike employees they do not have the right to take a case to an employment tribunal.
    Understandably there are those who believe that volunteers should be offered more protection. A challenge on the grounds that the organisation concerned is offering a service to volunteers (to which the Equality Act might apply) is forseeable. However as the Law stands at the moment withdrawing the opportunity to volunteer from members of other legal entities is not illegal.
     
  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Without wishing to wade too far into potentially muddy waters, I think there are two separate issues here which have become conflated.

    Assuming that there is at least some truth in the rumours, then IMHO:-

    1. AFAIK those who stood for election as Trustees in the then WSSRT but failed to be elected have - quite correctly - not been subject to any form of disciplinary action within that Trust simply on the basis that they held different views from those who were elected, and remain as members of that Trust.

    2. An entirely separate organisation - the WSR Plc - would appear to have taken the view that some of those who volunteer for it have allegedly brought that organisation into disrepute and therefore have withdrawn their staff IDs. [ Such action is completely outwith and independent of the now WSRHT. ] The Qs to be answered therefore IMHO are (a) by what pre-defined criteria has such alleged disrepute been decided and (b) has the Plc acted correctly i/a/w whatever rules or policies it has on such matters (noting in passing the unknown status of any current PLC HR policies).
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Oh well, that's alright then, it's legal so it must be fine!! Surely the HRA must take a pretty dim view of a member organisation unjustly throwing out volunteers? Does it not bring the movement into disrepute?
     
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  5. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Don't think that matters to the HRA. Many of the regulars on here will well remember the managements record, some of the foul things that have been said, some of the disgusting personal attacks and some remarks so offensive that the threat of legal action was required to have them removed...

    Now there really were several instances where peoples public comments brought the railway into disrepute - but the instigators still have their ID cards (and seats on the board in some cases)

    Not a peep from the HRA, not their problem, they don't get involved in internal members problems, leave it to the local management... But when the problem is the local management.... (or even maybe they are old mates?)
     
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  6. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    That isn't the point.

    Is it really:

    i) a good use of the railway's money
    ii) a move likely to help move the WSR forward?
    iii) likely to help the WSR get running again?
    iv) good publicity for the WSR?

    There are many things that are legal but are neither good, sensible or popular.

    'It's not illegal' is a really weak argument to defend the decision. (If this is what has happened)

    The HRA is part of the problem not the solution. An old mates club out to look after each other.

    I find it interesting, in financial straightened times, railways are telling crews to be as economical as possible, not to waste, to drive and fire carefully to save money, WSR management is burning through money to settle scores.

    But here comes the begging bowl from the WSR....
     
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  7. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    The specific assertion was that withdrawing the opportunity to volunteer is illegal and exposes the PLC to potential liability. I simply clarified that without any observation as to whether doing so may be justified.
    The HRA would expect that its members follow an appropriate disciplinary process in accordance with its guidance note. That incorporates best practice in accordance with ACAS guidelines but it cannot create legal rights where none exist.
     
  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The HRA by ignoring what going on in Minehead brings its self into disrepute, i would say the HRA is a busted flush, and should be disbanded, As regards the continuous problems, at the WSR, at a time when it needs people, to come together has to be pure stupidity, what is the crime those people committed, they disagreed with the status quo, and when you look at the situation now, clearly were seen as a threat to someone's power base, the line can go to hell in an hand cart, as long as people we hate, don't get their hands on it, seems to sum it up , It's not as if the railway already does not have enough problems, without further self inflicted problems.
     
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  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    And that, in a nutshell, has been the problem since your initial report, in my personal view. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing and all that.
     
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  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Under what grounds can a persons right to voluenteer be removed, and what due process should be followed? assuming there are such procedures in place , then there should have been a process followed, , if this process was not followed to the letter of the law, Employment law does not differ from paid employee to unpaid employee .
     
  11. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Hang on. Before we get all legal about this let's clear one thing up.
    If anyone is bringing the railway into disrepute who is it? Is it the members of the WSRHT who properly stood for election at their AGM with a publicly announced manifesto for change? Or is it the WSR Plc who had no right to interfere with the elections but did so anyway and who are now, allegedly, punishing those individuals for standing simply because they (the board) didn't like the proposed changes?

    I wonder if the WSRHT is also member of the HRA? I hope so. I'd be really interested to see what action the HRA will (has?) take(n) against one of their members who so blatantly interferes with the organisation of another.
     
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I suspect we'll find it does Martin, much as I disagree with @Lineisclear I have no reason to doubt his legal expertise. I just wish what was and wasn't legal isn't the end of the matter as far as the HRA is concerned.
     
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  13. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Thinking about it............

    If you had to be a member of the supporting organisation to volunteer on the railway does that create any 'rights' for the volunteer as the law recognises the existence of a contract between an organisation and its members.

    Possibly one reason why the PLC is against reform?

    Perhaps if the WSR is ever reformed, or even survives to be reformed, in view of what has happened is to create some sort of 'contractual' relationship between volunteers and the support organisation so ID cards cannot be removed on a whim.
     
  14. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Question for @Lineisclear with your HRA hat firmly ON

    Re bringing the railway into disrepute:-

    Who is the party at fault here? Who is currently bringing the WSR into disrepute?

    The WSRHT members who properly stood for election and accepted their defeat or

    The WSR board for interfering in that election when it was none of their business and now, apparently, punishing some of those who stood for daring to change the status quo?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
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  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely. Hiding behind the fig leaf of legalism to defend the indefensible. No different than over the SDRT and now this. It shows the moral decrepitude of the HRA.

    The PLC is a repeat offender in this - ie treatment of Andy Norman, the treatment of the SDRT, the treatment of the ten. This isn't a one off event.

    To echo your point, the words of Martin Niemöller spring to mind because as you say, it is the silence of others that allows things to happen.
     
  16. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    I don't understand what people expect the HRA to do in such situations. They have no legal right to intervene in the internal actions of one of their members. They could try to mediate in a dispute between members, but that only works if both sides are willing to participate in the mediation process. The only real sanction they can apply is to evict them from the HRA, and that wouldn't achieve anything useful would it.

    DISCLAIMER: Although I do work as a volunteer for the HRA, I have no inside knowledge of the Board meetings and/or actions of individual Board members. The above is therefore just my personal thoughts on the subject and I have no authority to speak on behalf of the HRA.
     
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  17. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I was told about this months ago!
     
  18. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    They can speak out against bad practices and condemn actions. The failure of the HRA as an organisation and of individuals within it means that they have green lit bad practice in the industry. Not really what you expect from an industry body.

    It isn't about legal authority but moral authority, and the HRA has shown its inability to provide that.

    To say 'We think that to treat volunteers/groups in this way is unacceptable. We call on the WSR to rethink these actions.'

    But instead they hide behind legal arguments to protect their mates (and also because of the embarrassment of being played like a fiddle by the PLC).
     
  19. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Two problems with that:

    a) You don't know what my personal view is.
    b) On what basis do you assert I have done nothing?

    My post simply corrected the erroneous assertion in an earlier post that removing the opportunity to volunteer is illegal. Clearly from Martin 1656's later post the fact that there is no right to volunteer is still not understood.
     
  20. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    What is your view and what have you done?
     
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