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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    Fair comment, its the use of words. employment rights and treating both the same through policies is different. If you generate employment rights by de-fault you leave yourself open to an implied employment contract, if you do that you have to pay people at least minimum wage, sick pay, etc. I'm talking about the treatment of both the same, not the employment of both the same. The WSR for example didn't get me to sign a contract of employment when I joined as they would a paid member of staff or make me sit an interview to get the 'job' which may have generated rights, as the volunteer induction is different. The setting of rights is more about the induction than the treatment ongoing. It is however a very complex area which can be interpreted different ways.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  2. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    No moaners please!
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    IMHO this is a divisive step. AIUI volunteers MUST be covered by a set of rules comparable to those of paid staff.
     
  3. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Well-Known Member

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    Maybe , but I don't have to like it . Rather see them in soot .
     
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  4. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    From what I've seen in 'Red Panniers' some of them looked a bit purple towards the end? This won't last long but as a distraction I rather like them in Red.
     
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  5. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    I may have missed something, but when is the next WSR plc AGM? Normally I get notification of this and it is usually around 23rd June. I've not yet had any communication about the 2019 AGM.
     
  6. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Well, it has been quite interesting the last 2 days with the posts on here!

    Mel explaining why he is no longer involved as a volunteer in a crucial role, and Andy in effect indirectly inferring Jonathan Jones-Pratt is a dictator, and mentions Hitler in some sort of comparison, arguably, and allegedly I hope, and walking on a tight rope for a libel case against him, and in my experience of such matters, attempting to nudge Jonathan Jones-Pratt to respond.

    And Frank Courtney is now off the WSR PLC Board - someone who did so much to help get rid of the Ex-6 trustees of the WSRA at a critical moment.

    Not a satisfactory state of affairs.

    And Coombes seems to have been all but forgotten once the removal of the Ex-6 trustees of the WSRA had been accomplished.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  7. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    I've always found the shop at BL fascinating, and my wife has to drag me out before I've spent too much money!
     
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  8. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    Clever Julian, if I may say so, you have picked up on a subtlety here in my words. Firstly it’s only Libel if it’s not true, and secondly the WSR has a very good policy which ensures such potential ‘nudging’ as you call it stops (if indeed that was what I was doing, which of course if I did was not deliberate on my part!). The WSR Bullying and Harassment Policy covers such things, it covers outside of the workplace and social media so it applies here as well, as in this case it’s between two WSR Volunteers so is covered under the WSR’s overall duty of care.

    As I’ve mentioned previously the policy used to cover volunteers but now it doesn’t, the new HR Manager who immediately replaced the redundant one said so. So as both people you mention are volunteers then, oh well it must be ok to do it then, and after all, all I would be doing (if indeed I knew I was doing it) is following an example set by my leaders (in my opinion), a couple of months ago.

    Now of course if the person you mention wishes to raise a Bullying & Harassment case against me under the said policy I would of course still apply it to myself as bullying is wrong, wasteful and hurtful. The first stage under the policy is an ‘informal stage’ where the person who feels bullied says to the person who they think bullied them “this is how I feel can you stop please”. If that were to happen to me I would very quickly say, “Sorry, I didn’t realise I was doing it and I will go onto Nat Pres and say sorry openly”. So it would have only have taken a few words and no further deeds on the part of the ‘Volunteer’ and everybody could play nicely in their hobby as a nice and safe place to be in.

    I’ve said before that this is not about me, I’ve gone not to return. This is about good governance and behaviour, the people of the WSR should perhaps think about what they want, but its up to them to consider and decide. The bigger issue is that Funders look at these areas very closely (HPC did in a lot of detail, I sent them 52 documents as a part of the application) if the WSR doesn’t act in a legal or more importantly a morale and inclusive way then they won’t fund. In addition if they don’t follow simple, sensible rules & policies already in place then they also won’t fund.

    However the WSRA have now taken the mantle of looking after Volunteers within its remit, clearly authorised to do so by both the PLC & WSSRT I assume otherwise Mike wouldn’t have made the announcement here yesterday. This means that Volunteers will in the future be culturally safe (I think the WSR has always been operationally safe) from bullying each other and an improving, positive culture that can allow volunteers to want to come and spend more time on the WSR.

    For my part I’ll leave this subject alone now, although I am a PLC Shareholder so look forward to the AGM. Funding and Volunteers, that’s the important thing, both need an environment in which to flourish, the people of the WSR deserve both and the WSR needs both. This is a declaration made under the Whistle Blowing Act.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  9. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    But when is the AGM? I am a WSR plc shareholder, although only a small one, but I have had nothing in the post about the 2019 AGM, nor can I find out on line. I'm feeling a bit left out.
     
  10. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    PS - is there now a minimum shareholding, in order to be given notice of the AGM? It would have been nice to have at least been told.
     
  11. Yesterday, observers at the country end of the line were dazzled by the appearance of GWR 0-6-0PT no 7752 which spent the afternoon running between Minehead and Blue Anchor. Likewise folks using the very useful webcams will have witnessed same. These visual experiences help bring people to the line for a trip. Who knows when 7752 will start working service trains ;)

    Steve
     
  12. tracker

    tracker Member

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    Andy mentioned above
    "....the new HR Manager who immediately replaced the redundant one...."
    If that is the case, then the job still exists, and the term "redundant" cannot apply surely?
    I'd like to know what a tribunal might view it as!
    Robin L.
     
  13. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    I seem to recall that I read somewhere and now can't find the reference that the AGM of PLC is likely to be in September. Perhaps others will confirm or otherwise.
     
  14. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    The reason IMHO this thread continues is that the issues being faced by the WSR are being faced to some degree or other by all. WSR is suffering all of them (culture, organisation, entrenched views, lack of investment in infrastructure and equipment, management dysfunction, poor governance, financial pain) all at once.

    From a distance and with few other sources of information it seems from this thread that the most important element needed to sort the mess out - everyone feeling included and pulling to a common goal - is not yet addressed. The new chairman has little choice but to be dictatorial in the short-term, but would be well advised to focus on the culture of the relationships between the organisations very rapidly. As an outsider I would say that his style has been really very open, and he deserves a full year in post before too many conclusions are drawn.

    There are bound to be some hiccups, and moving the entirety of the management of volunteers including various policies into the WSRA is maybe not a great idea. Consider that operationally volunteers are still unavoidably employees of the company (it doesn't matter to the RAIB or ORR if the driver is paid in £s or rewarded by the love of the job). But if their conduct as individuals is managed by a separate organisation then the discipline system is broken up. How does the company sanction a volunteer? How does a volunteer treated badly by a paid employee seek resolution? Recruitment and retention of volunteers is something which WSRA could do, but I don't see how they can manage their activities except within those places where the WSRA is the operational business (Williton and WSRA shops).

    The simple plain fact of the matter is that the structure of the WSR is really no structure at all. It is a loosely knit agglomeration of organisations with vaguely aligned objectives. There are too many of them, and there is too much history between them. My personal opinion is that you need the amalgamation of the trust and the association into one new charity "West Somerset Society" and formal Memorandum of Understanding signed with PLC with the PLC accepting that a significant proportion of its Directors need to be appointed by the Society. Only then will you achieve the singularity of purpose needed to survive. Sorry to be so blunt and no disrespect intended or implied to the people on the various boards trying so hard to save this railway. Such a lot has been achieved over the last couple of years, but it is only the tip of the iceberg of what must be achieved going forwards. I want the WSR to succeed. We all need it to, because it will very likely be the blueprint for the rest if it does.
     
  15. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    You have to seperate the person from the role in terms of managing them.
    e.g. WSRA can manage the volunteer as a person etc. But as soon as they take on an operational role on the railway, then for the duration of them performing that role they must abide by the rules and reg etc of whichever organisation is responsible for operating the railway. So a driver would only be responsible to the railway management while on a rostered turn and when not on duty they are managed by the WSRA.
     
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  16. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    The WSSRT minutes published on STEVE Edge’s site refers to it.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  17. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    It is common practice on many heritage railways for volunteers to "belong" to an organisation other than the operating company. Much of this posting appears to be solutions searching for a problem.
     
  18. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

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    In the last few years I have made some small financial contributions to help with particular projects, including getting rid of the ex-6.

    No more, unless and until I see that the issues being discussed here have been resolved; ideally to the satisfaction of all parties, though it seems likely that some individuals will be left still unhappy.
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think that’s probably less of an issue than you might be making out.

    On my own railway, if you volunteer (or indeed are paid staff) the SMS defines a line management hierarchy that eventually ends up with the directors of the company. That is entirely correct, since the company is the sole operational authority. However, the Society rules state that one of the privileges of membership is “the entitlement to join in the activities of the various departments of the railway” but goes on to caveat that by saying that when doing so, you have to follow the company rules and while thus working, be subject to the authority of the Company directors. (It’s all here in section 9b: https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/soc/rules_may03rev16.html)

    In other words, working on the railway as a volunteer is governed by the rules of the company, but volunteering is seen as a privilege that is earned by being a member of the membership society.

    Tom
     
  20. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    I'm going to say this.

    Thank you to all those who seem to understand what the WSR has to do to sustain itself. It's not a quick process and I am encouraged by the occasional words of support I read here.

    Members of the WSRA have an open invitation to write to me for clarification about anything the WSRA is doing to support the railway. No need for endless speculation, all that you need to do is ask. If you're not a member then it's quite cheap to join and I think good value.
    Perhaps then this thread could focus on things that might help the WSR or actual operational matters like the first steaming of the pannier yesterday. We need your support, either as a volunteer, donor, patron or passenger. To paraphrase a well known saying - "Help it or lose it!"
     

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