If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. fred

    fred New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    84
    Sounds as though the WSR is resuming normal service. :rolleyes: I had hoped that there might have been some sensible changes after all the previous animosity - silly me.
     
  2. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    14,663
    Likes Received:
    8,972
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    This settling of old scores will only damage the standing of the WSR, It will make some people think twice before deciding to visit the line and spending money on it, I certainly would not visit it, nor would I spend any money supporting it, where I have in the past, if I was in Somerset, I would most likily go to woody bay instead, or to the ESR, that's how strongly I feel,
    If the WSR were to go the way of the Llangollen, It would be no ones fault, except those in charge in the board room of the WSR, but you can bet they won't accept an ounce of the blame, they will say you did not support us, Some people do not deserve support, there was no need to take the action they did, but i guess they don't care, its only once the penny drops, and they are made to care will things change.
     
  3. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    513
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worcestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    If that analysis were to be proved correct it would indeed improve the position of volunteers. It hinges, as the post confirms, on whether individuals have a legitimate expectation if being allowed to volunteer. No doubt many have such an expectation but is it legitimate? Guidance form the National Council of Volunteer Organisations is helpful:
     
  4. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    17,209
    Likes Received:
    15,959
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As the WSR edges towards a restart, the debate continues. What is unclear is exactly how many of the people who are chuntering on here about change are also active working members on the railway.

    If those who support the WSR by working on the line but feel it needs to change were to withdraw their physical support then that might trigger a response. As it stands...and it's been like this for years, there are plenty who seem to be unhappy but actually do nothing tangible to demonstrate their unhappiness. If 22nd May arrives and there is nobody prepared to staff the signal boxes or supervise safe movement on stations then that will bring matters to a head. But it seems that even those who are unhappy think that the show must go on.

    It's not as if the WSR is the only heritage show in town or even the only GWR show in town. So I really don't see the point of it all.

    I know that this is only a discussion thread and judging by outcomes it's not even very good at that. Coombes, Bailey. Nothing changes and nothing said on here seems to either. Very sad, whichever direction you view it all from.
     
  5. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    513
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worcestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    If that analysis were to be proved correct it would indeed improve the position of volunteers. It hinges, as the post confirms, on whether individuals have a legitimate expectation if being allowed to volunteer. No doubt many have such an expectation but is it legitimate? Guidance form the National Council of Volunteer Organisations is helpful.
    That confirms:
    As a volunteer you won't have a contract. That means you won't have the same legal status or protections that paid workers have in the UK. Volunteers don't usually have the the right to have an organisation follow proper investigation procedures when things go wrong. They also don't have the right to appeal a decision made by the organisation.

    Anti discrimination legislation applies to employment and the provision of goods and services so doesn't cover volunteers because they are not employed.


    That seems a pretty clear explanation of what legitimate volunteer expectations should be. It points to one potential change that would improve the lot of volunteers. If it could be argued successfully that the organisation is providing a service to its volunteers then the protection of the Equality Act would apply.
     
  6. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,978
    Likes Received:
    5,220
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As a 'For Example' there are a number of volunteer roles that are

    1. Essential to opening the line, and
    2. There is only a very limited number of volunteers qualified for that role

    If those people go/get thrown out/lose interest or motivation because of what is happening then you cant open, its as simple as all that.

    As a 'For Example' @Andy Norman was a fireman, how many footplate crew did the WSR have, how many does it have now?
     
    Mike S likes this.
  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,998
    Likes Received:
    6,097
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A cynical tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist might look at the recent churn of PLC directors and wonder whether the resignation of the Director charged with implementing Bailey (and others) might be connected to the decision to kick Bailey into the long grass, or to withdraw the passes of volunteers. An example of people withdrawing their support and of course the loss of key skills and competence.

    Even if there were a shortfall of volunteers, the WSR has created a strong 'bunker mentality' among some volunteers who feel that the world is against the WSR and that can easily be exploited by the PLC to cover gaps.

    Orwell once wrote that nothing short of dynamite will convince some people of which century they are living in, I think nothing short of insolvency is going to change the WSR.
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    16,166
    Likes Received:
    13,217
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Because of the costs involved, I’d be surprised if it went far through the courts. However, I think the concept of legitimate expectations runs slightly wider than you allow, or the advice cited considers.

    The question for me would be whether a volunteer of long standing and with good performance in their roles would have a legitimate expectation of being able to continue in that role when performing it, especially when they are providing their labour to a trading company. As a layman, I think that case would be more arguable than the stock advice allows and, if the circumstances are as suggested, the WSR might make a good test case.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  9. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    513
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worcestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I have a lot of sympathy with that. It flags up a problem with the current structure where volunteers are members of a distinct entity but not ((unless they are shareholders) of the one that owns and operates the railway on which they volunteer. Although volunteers lack rights as such they may have some as members. Where that relationship is absent that option is too.
    The irony of the Natural Justice argument, based on legitimate expectations, is that applying an investigation and disciplinary process in line with HRA guidance would demonstrate compliance with natural justice principles. If that is what is happening now ( and it's only a rumour) then the PLC is being castigated for doing exactly what its critics suggest.
     
  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    16,166
    Likes Received:
    13,217
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Natural justice requires that the investigation is fair. My concern, given the recent history of the WSR, is over the fairness of any such investigation, considering both “offence” in question and process.

    The ultimately unsuccessful attempt to take control of the WSSRT did not bring the WSR (plc or any other component) into disrepute. It reflected the issues surrounding the railway that already gave rise to that disrepute, in which (among other matters) the plc board (as an entity) had been instrumental.

    For that body to then determine that individuals opposed to their strategy were bringing the WSR into disrepute undermines any suggestion of fair process. In my view, the disrepute of the WSR lies in the inability of the various factions to resolve their differences with amity, and the abuse by dominant factions (a few years ago, the “Ex6”; today, the plc board) of their positional power to oppress those who disagree with them.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Major Midget, MellishR and ghost like this.
  11. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    3,178
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    You have no idea what would have happened if the HRA had been absent from the negotiations. Just becasue things didn't go the way you wanted with them there, doesn't mean that they wouldn't have gone even less how you wanted if they hadn't been there. We all have our ideas about "what might have been" and usually they involve the best or worst possible outcome, depending on your viewpoint.
    What there is a lot of evidence in the public domain for is the idea that, whatever influence the HRA had over the Plc board, that influence would have been lost the moment they came out in public against them.
    You only say that because they wouldn't wade in with a big stick like you wanted them to. They are at the sharp end, actually talking to the board and they know how the members ill react. You are sitting in front of a computer anonymously displaying the reckless courage of the non-combatant.
     
    mdewell and jnc like this.
  12. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    3,178
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    OTOH, it might not, but what it would very likely do is bring an end to any influence the HRA had over the WSR Plc board. Given that the HRA representatives have actually talked to the board members and have a pretty good idea of how they would react, perhaps they have a better idea than you or I how the balance of probabilities lies.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  13. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    16,166
    Likes Received:
    13,217
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    They may, and the policy of "jaw jaw" appeared to be working late last year. Recent events suggest that this may be an optimistic interpretation, and it has always been the case that some do not enter into discussion in the best possible faith, and then use that discussion as a stalling mechanism.

    Peacemakers have to believe in the good faith of the parties, and have often found that trust misplaced.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,164
    Likes Received:
    39,596
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Just taking the bit in bold - my understanding is that in fact the situation is not even as clear cut as that. My understanding is that there is no requirement to be a member of any body on the WSR in order to volunteer: you simply need (if working under the plc's SMS) to hold a plc ID card. There is no requirement as far as I am aware to be a shareholder of the plc; member of the WSRA, member of the WSHRT or of any other organisation.

    That is a weakness (in my view) that many people have been flagging up for years, but which is often batted down by many volunteers on the railway. I can't help wondering though how much the suggestion "to volunteer, you must to be a member of the (singular) railway supporters' association" is rebutted less because of the logic of that position, and more because - given the existing structure - that inherently implies "must be a member of the WSRA". In other words, the factionalism inherent in the situation prevents people seeing the logic of the proposition.

    The logic to me is a clean sweep: A new membership-based charity, owning the operating company outright, and with volunteers required to be members of the membership charity. But that seems to be as far away as ever.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    Geoff May, 5944, MellishR and 14 others like this.
  15. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    3,178
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It seems to me that the Plc board is a mixture of hotheads and moderates. As the makeup of the board continually changes, sometimes the moderates have the upper hand and sometimes the hotheads. I am sure the HRA representatives could tell which were which. The fact that "jaw jaw" no longer seems to be working, does not necessarily make "war war" a viable option, especially when one side has few weapons and less ammunition.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    jnc likes this.
  16. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    3,178
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That is it in a nutshell.
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,998
    Likes Received:
    6,097
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Can you point me to the evidence of the HRA having a positive impact on the WSR in the last twelve months? ie tangible things.

    I can't help but think that all this discussion about 'is it legal' is designed to kick the discussion into the long weeds and distract from the fundamental questions as to whether it is good for the WSR as a railway to actually do this. Does it help the railway run better, does it make financial sense, does it help resolve the inherent tensions within the WSR community? It is a good way to divert criticism away from the PLC for the decision.

    The approach of creating peace by getting rid of your enemies is the policy of every wannabe tin pot authoritarian.
     
    Breva and jnc like this.
  18. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    2,007
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Over the hills and far away
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I would have to suggest that the NCVO guidance you quote may be misleading as it would appear that volunteers who are summarily dismissed still have recourse to remedies under the Natural Justice provisions if they can show that they had reasonable grounds to expect to continue their volunteering. I emphasise "continue" as you seem to be addressing a right to volunteer, which is a different issue. The legal position appears to be that the provisions of Natural Justice take precedence over other Laws where they are in conflict. (Unless, of course, you have Case Law which says otherwise, in which case I would welcome a reference.)

    You further say "The irony of the Natural Justice argument, based on legitimate expectations, is that applying an investigation and disciplinary process in line with HRA guidance would demonstrate compliance with natural justice principles. If that is what is happening now ( and it's only a rumour) then the PLC is being castigated for doing exactly what its critics suggest."
    What is being claimed, and what several of us are addressing, is that the volunteers allegedly have had their ID cards withdrawn without warning, in effect being summarily dismissed. If this is not the case, and such an investigation and disciplinary process has, in fact, taken place then we have no further argument on that score, however you are the only poster to have suggested that and even then you qualify it by claiming it is "only a rumour " !
    Perhaps somebody with a clearer view of what has happened can enlighten us ?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    MellishR and jnc like this.
  19. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,474
    Likes Received:
    3,178
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
     
  20. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    513
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Worcestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It could make a fascinating and potentially helpful test case. Is there a Natural Justice based right to continue to do what there was no right to do in the first place? The ramifications of a Yes answer would be pose some interesting challenges. If a volunteer offers to do rostered turns on HOPS but isn't given the ones they asked for, or any, would that be actionable? The distinction between withdrawing an ID card and just not rostering a volunteer who still has one seems hard to draw.
     
    jnc likes this.

Share This Page