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Unread 18-05-2006, 03:19   #1
dermo88
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Default How to crush the strikers - Any bright ideas?

Ok, I suggested using the army. That was a bit hotheaded. Damn, If I had my way with the strikers I would line them up against the wall and shoot them. Which is extreme. But any bright ideas of getting rid of this problem.

1. In the short to medium term, at a cost of maybe an extra 3 Million in payroll terms, give in to every pay demand. Say, Yes, Yes and Yes again. Three bags full. Grovel. Lure them into a false sense of security.
2. One of the terms and conditions is that 50, 60, 70 extra drivers have to be trained. Maybe this will look suspicious though, so this has to be handled carefully.
3. There will be more drivers than necessary. The extra drivers are under a different set of terms and conditions, but there is a non disclosure clause of salaries, terms and conditions.

Or is the whole in house recruitment process now so corrupt that the only way of curing it is to kill it. A process which should have been done 5 years ago when the ILDA strike took place.

My view is, that the Irish Rail answer to the British miners strike has been postponed. The day of reckoning will have to be faced. It will be bitter and cruel. It will last 6 months to a year. But lets face it. If its not done now, it never will be.

You never saw this nonsense when the railways were threatened. You never saw them go bolshie. Because they knew damn well that every pissy fiddly branch line would close, and the likes of the Ministry of Finance would be glad to be rid of that "Albatros around the tax payers neck". We would be left with only Dublin to Galway, Dublin to Limerick, Dublin to Waterford, Dublin to Cork and possibly Tralee and Dublin to Belfast, and they would be rotting with Park Royals and Cravens doing 60 mph.

The last two days are a lesson. Hard nosed tactics are needed. But I suggest that whoever gets to manage this be sweeter than light and devious at the same time. Because it will mean making friends and stabbing them in the back.

Any takers?
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Unread 18-05-2006, 03:45   #2
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You might be on to something about the army, after all them and the FCA (or whatever they are now) AFAIK are doing toss all at the moment.

However you're forgetting that it takes 70 weeks to train a driver, and they have to have fresh knowledge of the route.

So here's what I think should be done.

1: Train about 70 long-termers in the army/FCA to drive trains, run signalling and all those other skilled positions that take a year or so to train for. Preferably in secret.
2: next time these tossers decide to strike over the Mitsui railcars, the Interconnector, Dunboyne, Navan, various electrifications, new DART trains, refurbished old ones new work practices, new whatever:
3: sack the £@#%ers and bring in the trained army/FCA guys.
4: Recruit new civilan workers as fast as possible under new contracts.

Last edited by sean : 18-05-2006 at 03:48.
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Unread 18-05-2006, 09:54   #3
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None of that is going to happen, the only thing you can get is non union middle management supervisors who would be sufficently quailifed to take over but there ain't enough of them

The strikers shot themselves in the foot
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Unread 18-05-2006, 10:59   #4
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In any event, you cant just hire new worker like that. You need union agreement, and that's where they have real grounds to stop everything, get their way.

And more drivers will be needed. There are going to be extra trains through the interconnector, from Dunboyne/Navan and Maynooth when they are all electrified.

This isnt over yet.

You cant crush the unions, you cant get the army in, and you cant line them up to the wall and shoot them. Unions have a ligitimate right to represent their members, no problem with that, the point here is that the unions knew this wasnt a strike issue which is why is was unofficial.
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Unread 18-05-2006, 11:16   #5
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Crushing the union isn't a possibility at the moment but taming them would be acceptable.

Removing the threat of the Dublin Bus drivers going on sympathy strike is a necessity before any action can be taken.

Dealing with (train) drivers who go on unofficial strike should be a first priority for Irish Rail otherwise this rubbish of leaving the unions blameless while their members go on strike will continue. They're in breach of contract, acting outside of union protection and should be dealt with as such.

Ideally the government would take some strong action similar to the Taylor act in New York but that's not going to happen with the current government/economy.
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Unread 18-05-2006, 11:35   #6
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I think it's time to send in the serious management consultants to IE and look at how these two groups are interacting. There's a worker vs. management mentality that belongs in the 19th century not the 21st.

The key to resolving all of these disputes might be to completely reorganise IE and modernise its whole internal structure.

Let's not forget that IE is, at its core, Great Southern Railways and that corporate structures from that victorian era are still very evident today.

I think management and workers are possibly both at fault. It's a whole corporate culture issue.

I would argue that if the work practices are going to be reformed that the management practices and corporate structures also have to be dragged into the 21st century. This means an end to archiac 19th century job descriptions ... Station Masters, Guards etc.. and a move towards some more customer-centric behaviour from all concerned.
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Unread 18-05-2006, 13:09   #7
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First thing is to spilt up CIE so IE is a separate company. This makes it far less likely that the sister companies go out in sympathy

Second is to reduce the number of bargaining units and unions involved, remember there is a interunion rivalry also. One union for each core business function makes life easier

All the historical muck was removed in 2000. IE where extremely clever with the wording of the 'New Deal', the new technology cause is a catch all statement that covers just about anything, any train IE buy is covered. IE also deleted Howth-Bray out of the electrification section, the maintenance staff will work 'any' IE electrified line. The unions didn't even imagine what was coming in investment terms, IE management did
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Unread 18-05-2006, 15:01   #8
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If IE were to take legal action agaisnt individuals involved in unofficial strikes to recover the financial costs of any strike. After all if its not an official strike its not a union matter. I think wildcat strikes wouldn't be so likely if there was a chance people could be held financially accountable for any disruption they cause.
Outlawing general strikes like the British did in the 20's might help stop the bus unions getting involved in any future strike, remember public transport could always be deemed to be a vital service for the state.

And please stop all this talk of getting D'army involved in public transport, thats just plain scary.
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Unread 18-05-2006, 15:21   #9
Thomas J Stamp
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The theory is all fine, yes IE can take action against the individual workers. However, speaking with my solicitor hat on for a change, there isnt ny real point, they're ordinary joes and would never even bother defending such an action or if they did, the costs of putting IE on their proofs would be fairly huge. They would have to exactly quantify their losses and they may not wish to attract the sort of scrutiny that a court case would bring

Then there would be the martyer issues.

The result would be a clever wheeze like the blue flu, as public sector workers they may have rather generous amounts of sick time they could explot. As long as its certified there would be nothing could be done. Also, as far as i can remember form my Civil Service days, there is some sick leave which doent even have to be certified.


Imagine that.

The best think to come from all of this is the drivers realised fairly quickly they were not getting any support, not even form their workmates. Never mind Connolly/Fairview not coming out the fact is that there were drivers working in Limerick Waterford and the west as well. I am in no doubt that the vast bulk of the talks with Phil Flynn consisted of the union smashing the heads of the drivers about the place before going to have a few words with IE about resolving it.

Also, lots of publicity for P11, that's good.

and, again, fair dues to Derek for doing so much radio work, we should elect him pro for life!

Edit: apologies for my always bad spelling. I really should dictate these posts to my secretary!
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Unread 19-05-2006, 12:29   #10
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Make Michael McDowell Minister for Transport.... then bring in Michael O'Leary as CEO of CIE....
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Unread 19-05-2006, 15:19   #11
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al, that would be something like this, wouldnt it?

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Unread 19-05-2006, 15:35   #12
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Hmm ... training the army seems extreme?

Well how about this then.

When the DRP is completed, or just before it, split CIE into five pieces. The five pieces get a section of the pie on a franchise basis (i.e. if they screw up, they lose control and it goes to a private)

Dublin Bus. (as now but without CIE)
Bus Eireann. (as now but without CIE)
Irish Rail and Property (taking control of physical track, land and signalling)
Irish Intercity Rail. (Providing long distance services)
Dublin Rapid Transport. (Running what is now the DART)
Bulk Freight: charged with attempting to revitalise the railfreight sector.

Each "piece" gives it's workers a New New Deal.

In exchange for ANOTHER ridiculous pay rise, this deal:
Makes unofficial action a sackable offense and/or leaves the participants personally liable for everyone who lost out, passengers, company, tourist industry etc.
Changes the rulebook so that people with experience in foreign railways etc. can be trained-in quickly to drive trains, run signalling, trackworks etc.
Keeps the franchise dependent on service standards: if these fail, for any reason (including a prolonged all-out strike), their employer loses the franchise. The new franchisee is not obliged to take workers from the old.
Disallows workers from one ex-arm from going out "on sympathy" with difficulties in another.
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Unread 19-05-2006, 16:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean
Dublin Bus. (as now but without CIE)
Bus Eireann. (as now but without CIE)
Irish Rail and Property (taking control of physical track, land and signalling)
Irish Intercity Rail. (Providing long distance services)
Dublin Rapid Transport. (Running what is now the DART)
Bulk Freight: charged with attempting to revitalise the railfreight sector.
Thats all happening really, on an accounting basis thats how it currently sits

Quote:
Each "piece" gives it's workers a New New Deal.
There are separate deals for each business group

Quote:
In exchange for ANOTHER ridiculous pay rise, this deal:
Makes unofficial action a sackable offense and/or leaves the participants personally liable for everyone who lost out, passengers, company, tourist industry etc.
That already exists except pushing it will leave you in serious trouble, only IE can take a case, 3rd parties are 3rd parties.

Quote:
Changes the rulebook so that people with experience in foreign railways etc. can be trained-in quickly to drive trains, run signalling, trackworks etc.
Not happening unless they drive for NIR, principle hold up with training is Irish rolling stock is different and route learning, based in Inchicore you more or less have to know everything. Track and engineering is no problem a lot of it is subcontracted anyway. Signalling staff again require training though UK staff would be familar with Irish signalling practice, mainland Europe its a bit different. The entire railtrack master rule book aka GO/RT3000 is online the Irish one is smaller but you must accept this is non trivial

Incidentally in the late 1980's IE where approached by British Rail with respect to the DART ATP system. Several BR drivers came over and where trained and permitted to drive, Derek has the exact details

With respect Sean you can't sack people on francise change the law doesn't allow that, its one of the basic things in the system, sure you can make people redundant but its illegal to do if the job still exists
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Unread 19-05-2006, 17:24   #14
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Don't slag the Defence Forces off. We do more than you know.
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Unread 19-05-2006, 22:58   #15
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There's got to be SOMETHING.

Is every single driver ATM now needed?

Supposing they just sacked one, at random, to make an example of them?
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Unread 20-05-2006, 13:20   #16
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I've often wondered how difficult it would be drive a train.

Surley (well, on the DART anyway), there's a STOP button, a GO button, and an open/close door button?

As for singnialling, GREEN, RED, ORANGE... can it REALLY be any more difficult than that?

I guess there's a heap of stuff to learn about contingencies, and what ifs... but how difficult would it be to have the army run a skeleton service armed with the knowledge above? Anyway, I thought it was impossible to crash a DART?

Maybe we could pump culture club into the cab in case they forgot...

Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
Red, gold and green
Red, gold and green

btw, I'm actually being serious... (maybe not about the music tho)
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Unread 20-05-2006, 22:33   #17
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It is not easy to drive, you need training and practice. Moving the levers around is easy

Imagine you are at 100 mph in the rain dark middle of nowhere and you have to stop for the next station, its 1.3 miles to make a nice stop, you really need to know where you are. DART is fairly easy as the braking performance is extremely responsive and speeds conservative and that is reflected in the much shorter training program. Most people don't realise it can take 7 seconds for the brakes to react on a locomotive hauled train, do the math you could be doing 40 meters a second

There is a rule book and a shocking number of accidents occur because the rule book is not followed correctly

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 21-05-2006 at 00:05.
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Unread 20-05-2006, 23:56   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrX
I think it's time to send in the serious management consultants to IE and look at how these two groups are interacting. There's a worker vs. management mentality that belongs in the 19th century not the 21st.

The key to resolving all of these disputes might be to completely reorganise IE and modernise its whole internal structure.

Let's not forget that IE is, at its core, Great Southern Railways and that corporate structures from that victorian era are still very evident today.

I think management and workers are possibly both at fault. It's a whole corporate culture issue.

I would argue that if the work practices are going to be reformed that the management practices and corporate structures also have to be dragged into the 21st century. This means an end to archiac 19th century job descriptions ... Station Masters, Guards etc.. and a move towards some more customer-centric behaviour from all concerned.
I think people should read the above quote again. It actually sums it up very nicely and communications that Ive had recently would suggest that its true.
The old GSR ways have not been expelled from IE under any agreement. To think that would be very naive. The entire management/staff culture is embedded in a bygone era. I actually made this point on a radio interview somewhere this week. If IE continue to solely rely on Labour court recommendations as "the law", despite over 80 years of developing unionised culture, then they should all resign now.

Its been said above and I'll say it again. To reformed any union culture at staff level in IE, will require a tandem reform of management practice throughout the company.

Plain and simple.
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Unread 21-05-2006, 01:42   #19
sean
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I know it takes a long time to train a driver, but surely ONE of them (as an example) could now be found surplus-to-requirements?
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Unread 21-05-2006, 02:45   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean
I know it takes a long time to train a driver, but surely ONE of them (as an example) could now be found surplus-to-requirements?
To what end? So you can feel better that someone has paid for the disruption?

It is that level of petty stupidity that builds up the sort of resentement that leads to the insane antics of the last week.

What needs doing in IE is to sort out the mess that is management-staff relations once and for all.

All of this talk of how to crush the unions and plan for replacing the drivers with the Iraqi national guard is just stupid childish fantasy.
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