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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    And why would the PLC feel inclined to engage on here? It's just a talking shop. Next thing is that you would be hoping that the TOCs for main line steam answer questions on here about their policies and the routine issues that crop up over steam charters. It really is a crazy thought.
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Because they've complained about "undesirable attention" on this forum? They've even said they intend to put out "factual statements to rebut these unfair, unbalanced and unjustified remarks." So we know the Plc board read these comments and have a stated intention of responding to them in one form or another.
     
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  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    The current version of the WSR's over-arching SMS document does reference a HR Policy. However the reference for that Policy shows that it is located in an area of HOPS which currently is 'locked'. Therefore it is not possible to tell - other than by specifically asking the Plc (and hopefully getting an answer) - whether that policy actual still exists or not.

    But more to the point surely - if a volunteer wanted to raise a grievance, how would they know how to do that if the Policy which governs such thing is not accessible to them? After all, not every volunteer (especially at the moment!) has ready access to a Policy which may be on a noticeboard in an office or mess-room somewhere on the Railway?

    IMHO this situation means that the SMS is defective, insofar as it describes a procedure which currently is non-functioning/non-accessible. As has been commentedalready, if I were tasked to review such documentation then this sort of thing would imagine ring warning bells and cause me to examine the rest in greater detail.
     
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  4. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    What has been claimed is that the WSR's HR policies are part of the SMS but were withdrawn, first as they apply to volunteers and then in toto.
     
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  5. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    I'll just add a little more to the puzzle for you.
    1. The WSR HR Policies were unlocked on HOPS prior to circa Feb 19 and available to all. Indeed I took copies of them all for the HPC Bid Due Diligence process in Oct 18.
    2. When I tried to raise a complaint against two PLC Management people under those policies I was told by email from the PLC HR department that the HR Policies did not apply to Volunteers only to paid staff.
    3. My reply to the person concerned was: a. They were the only HR Policies available. b. The Policies specifically stated that they did apply to Volunteers in a number of places from an overall comment (all policies apply to both paid & volunteer staff) and individually (some numbered policies individually stating they included volunteers).
    4. The HR department stated they didn't, my complaint couldn't be dealt with under the policies and the policies would be removed for 're-writing' (after a further email exchange they relented and accepted my complaint and allocated a PLC Director to deal with it in Mar 19, I'm still waiting for that person to start my complaint.).
    5. A few days later the HR Polices became locked and greyed out and remain that way until now.
    6. After escalating it within the PLC and stating my concerns I escalated it to the WSRA & WSSRT (all groups on the WSR operate under PLC policies).
    7. Nobody felt they needed to act and one WSRA Trustee told me to "go off and have a six month holiday, as it would be sorted later". (verbal)
    8. My ID card was removed, and I was again told I could not raise a complaint under the HR Polices because they did not apply to Volunteers and Volunteers didn't need HR Policies (verbal).
    9. I haven't seen any official communication since then that new policies are now available or that there are new HR Polices for Volunteers, the last written communication I have seen is that they did not apply to Volunteers.
    10. I have no issue with putting this on here under the Whistle Blowing Policy (one of the HR Policies) as I have given everybody involved more than one opportunity to rectify the situation over the last year and so passing this on to a wider audience is the next step in that Policy.
    I have the email chains confirming all this other than that marked 'verbal'. As has been said the SMS references the HR Policies in places which aren't there to apply.

    Now I'll be quick to add I am not saying the WSR is an unsafe place to operate, in my opinion the policies as they stood were very good, very comprehensive and very fair. And having worked on the WSR I also think the WSR is a physically safe place to work on and I have always been impressed with the on the ground safety culture, the rule book and the training.

    There was a clear email chain link between me complaining using the policies and the policies being stated as not applying to volunteers and then withdrawn, the PLC made that link themselves.

    I'm sure if there had have been an issue then volunteers would have had some recourse, the HSE or a Solicitor would have seen to that I'm sure. In my opinion this is another management issue where nobody holds anybody to account and people just do anything to stop people talking without realising the side effects of their actions.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
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  6. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a flashlight.”
    “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
     
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  7. Piggy

    Piggy New Member

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    This is not management, Andy but crass mismanagement.
     
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  8. Downline

    Downline New Member

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    A talking shop which is evidently unliked by the PLC, but they do engage with posts on here via there 'Board Statements' or whatever they want to call it.

    Perhaps the PLC dont like National Preservation as discussions on here reveal what they are actually upto?
     
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  9. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Dear me. Bad management in all its glory.

    Quite clearly a heritage railway needs appropriate polices that cover volunteers and paid staff, and obviously some sections will only be applicable to paid staff. For an HR member of staff to not understand that, or to understand the contents of their own policies is ridiculous but sadly not unusual.

    Rather than addressing the issue, giving all parties the opportunity to comment and seeing what lessons can be learned, the organisation has instead closed ranks and tried to frustrate the process and isolate the complainant. That can only have been instigated by the senior management team. It’s exactly how the clique running my local railway in the Peak District operates.

    If I was being charitable I’d say it’s perhaps because some people are operating out of their depth but I can’t help thinking that just like in other walks of life, some people have questionable ethics.
     
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  10. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Not only questionable ethics but a serious lack of common sense, because their actions bring them and the railway into disrepute and discourage potential supporters from contributing the funds that are alleged to be desperately needed.
     
  11. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    Over 300 new posts in less that a week - is this a record??

    Do the posters expect their regular and lengthy contributions to actually be read by anyone?? I certainly don't have the time??

    Maybe, they should just pause and think what this thread can actually achieve. It may provide some personal therapy for those who feel they have been let down by the WSR in some way, or that the WSR no longer meets their expectations or dreams.

    Maybe they could hold off on their assumptions, instant conclusions or judgemental responses for a while?

    And give the mod team some time off??
     
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well, clearly they're being read by the board of the Plc...
     
  13. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    So? Has this changed anything?
     
  14. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    If you read the posts, you might find out....
     
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  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    SMS 16.2 specifically refers to a grievance policy for 'staff'.

    The document does not contain any specific definition of the term 'staff'.

    There are various references throughout the document to 'staff', 'staff (paid and volunteer), 'paid staff and volunteer staff', ' staff and volunteers' etc, so there would appear to be at least two instances (which I have highlighted) where volunteers are clearly considered to be 'staff'.
     
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  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    But they do engage with here.

    Firstly, they talk about here and what is being said and they feel the need to state that their press releases are an attempt to respond.

    Secondly, there are plenty on here do defend the PLC and their actions. So again, this is indirect engagement.

    TBH, I tend to think that given the track record of the upper echelons of the WSR, direct engagement on here would result another PR disaster for the PLC.
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Are they? I must admit that, although I generally find your posts interesting and worthwhile, I gave up reading your posts on here quite a while ago, along with Martin's and quite a few others.
     
  18. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    ...... that as you surmised, nothing at all has changed. The same old points being made over and over again by the same posters.. Talk about a stuck record.

    Peter
     
  19. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Then are you claiming to be a representative of the Plc - or stating that if you no longer read the posts then the Plc is responding in the same way ?
     
  20. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Of course they are Stvee - it says so here on Nat Pres so it must be true:)

    Peter
     
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