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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Totally unsubstantiated, inaccurate and misleading. Medewell had it absolutely right in his post
     
  2. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Can you point me to the public statements by the HRA and those involved with the HRA in condemning this action?

    What is inaccurate and misleading in my post?
     
  3. thequantocks

    thequantocks New Member

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    Who are the 4 ?
     
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  4. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Hanlon's Razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity".
    To me it is quite obvious that the management of the Plc are convinced that their way is the only way and thus that they are the only people who are fit to run the railway. Anyone who holds views contrary to theirs is only going to get in the way of their plans and is thus a danger to the continued existence of the WSR (Colin Wilson's "Right Man" syndrome). This makes the removal of dissenting views of the utmost importance in the plan to save it.
    All of which might be excusable, if their plan consisted of more than just carrying on as before whilst borrowing lots of money, making a few easy savings like sacking paid staff and wriggling out of expensive obligations.
     
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  5. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    There is something called "The Art of the Achievable". It would be pointless for the HRA to do as you suggest. The WSR Plc would just ignore them or suggest they combine travel with pleasure. What would that have achieved, apart from some giving some people the warm feeling of occupying the moral high ground?
     
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  6. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Clearly the HRA can 'advise and counsel' behind the scenes but despite being a critic of the PLC, I cannot see that it is their duty, or helpful to the situation for the HRA to go 'public' on the issue except perhaps in the most 'Delphic' terms
     
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  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I disagree. Drawing a moral line over what is acceptable behaviour is important. The WSR PLC can ignore it as you say, but their deviant status is affirmed in public discourse. It carries some financial leverage.

    The WSR PLC needs donations to survive, who donates to an organisation that has been morally condemned? Certainly some do but some will hold fire. The only thing that will change the behaviour of the PLC (if anything will) is the financial bottom line, and if that won't change it then going out of business will.
     
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  8. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    It strikes me that the HRA are largely irrelevant in this latest saga. Their brief, according to their website, is (amongst much else, of course) to offer:

    Guidance on governance, leadership, operating and safety, employment and volunteer matters

    Now if the WSR does not wish to avail itself of this service, so be it. The HRA are not policemen. The ire should be directed closer to home IMHO, towards those taking questionable decisions.

    I must admit I didn't give these latest revelations much credence when I first read them because I thought the railway could not be so stupid as to repeat earlier own goals but the more I read, the more convinced I am that sadly, all is not as it seems nor as it should be in Somerset.
     
  9. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    I would take the opposite view, that it is the HRAs duty to make known where bad practice and unethical/unjust actions are taking place. If the HRA is designed to represent the heritage railway sector, it must have standards and hold railways to those standards. Railways failing to do so should be removed from the HRA and volunteers (and potential volunteers) warned of the possible problems of working there.
    Look at it this way, if the Vale of Timbuktu railway was found to be over charging its passengers or fiddling its books,would the HRA stand back and do nothing?
     
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  10. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Oh, L-rd, the WSR soap opera, episode 173.

    I think I'm going to sit this one out. Life's too short.

    Noel
     
  11. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    I just don’t get it with you lot.
    Somebody posts to report a rumour which they claim to have heard and within a few hours we have almost 50 replies (from the usual suspects) slagging off the West Somerset Railway again.
    As far as I am concerned this is currently unsubstantiated tittle tattle.
    Knowing this thread as I do, I’m surprised that none of those allegedly involved have come on here to substantiate the claim.
     
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  12. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    Removing members from the HRA does not really acheive anything with regard to the behavior of (ex)members. Losing members (regardless of the cause) just weakens the HRAs own position as the trade association for the whole heritage railway industry.
    'over charging its passengers'? Railways can charge whatever they like, so why on earth would you think the HRA should try to influence that? People will soon vote with their wallets if they think something is too expensive.
    'fiddling its books' would I assume be a legal issue and something for the relevant financial authorities to deal with. No reason for the HRA to be directly involved with that.
     
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  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    It's not that simple and clear cut surely? Take an organisation that gets volunteers to undertake PTS training. That's essential for specific activities. These people are, to my mind, tacitly part of the organisation and therefore likely to feel entitled to a measure of support and 'employee protection'?
     
  14. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    And if it is true what will you do?

    Also, I'd assume that if those involved are engaged in legal action against the PLC over the issue they will have been advised not to comment publicly on the case, in which case it is not surprising no one has come forward and talked about it.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  15. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    Be very surprised.
     
  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    And after that?
     
  17. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Of course volunteers should expect to be treated fairly and valued as the essential underpinning they are of most heritage railways. Whether individuals are volunteers or employees is not as clear cut as many assume. Training which is not reasonably necessary for the role they perform, and which makes them more attractive as potential employees, may be one of the indicators of unintended employed status. PTS training would not fall into that category as long as it is a reasonable requirement of the volunteer role they undertake.
    Whilst most heritage railways try to limit the distinction between employees and volunteers to one of pay only ( we're all one big happy family!) there are dangers in this approach. It's one or the other, although there is a sort of half way house of "worker." What you shouldn't do is confer on volunteers any contractual right not to have their volunteering terminated as it risks their being deemed employees ( whether they want it or not) entitled to the minimum wage, pension contributions etc. Volunteer handbooks and the like should make clear that the organisation will act fairly and reasonably ( it needs to if only to attract and retain volunteers) but stop short of conferring contractual rights on volunteers. For the same reason its is inadvisable to impose obligations on volunteers. They should be told what is expected of them and that a proper disciplinary process will be followed if they fall short of those expectations.
     
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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    " A Proper disciplinary process" that is indeed the key phrase is there currently a proper disciplinary process, with the right of appeal, in place and being adhered to on the WSR?
     
  19. Lenny

    Lenny New Member

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    One would assume they could state that its true but unable to comment further?

    Until the full facts are known its pointless writing reams about what might or might be true.

    If proven to be true then we can all decide what our next step will be. I know what mine will be.

    If proven to be untrue what will you do?
     
  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I have been informed that the allegations that 4 volunteers have had their PLC ID Cards withdrawn are indeed correct.

    The only thing that isn't correct is the amount of money that the PLC is spending to get rid of them is greater than the amount quoted, £10000.
     

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