Update for ASLEF members on Tramlink.
On Thursday Feb 16th, the ASLEF local and safety reps and I met with Tramlink Operations Director to discuss the many issues that members have been raising.
We pointed out that since the tragic incident at Sandilands there has been huge pressure on Tramlink staff. Drivers in particular feel under constant observation. Management acknowledged this but pointed out that there were now multiple investigations into the operation of the system and scrutiny from different sources. The reality is that this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
Among the issues we raised were:
Management of fatigue: Management said that they do have a policy in place but we pointed out that this is not well known to staff. Although drivers are briefed during initial training this is not covered again on a regular basis. Management acknowledged this and said they expected this to change.
Spare roster: We pointed out that drivers on the spare roster have duties changed without notice and are unable to plan time off. We argued that it would be more effective to incorporate much of this coverage into the main roster and use spare roster drivers to cover long term absences. This would make it much easier for individuals to organise their life and have quality time off. Management will consider this and respond.
Excessive overtime: Since the Sandilands incident staff shortage has meant an increased use of overtime. Management said that a recruitment campaign is taking place and that no one will be pressured into working overtime.
Consultation on rosters: We believe that the current consultation process on roster patterns is inadequate as reps are not given information in time to make any changes before introduction. There are too many occasions where there are changes between early and late shifts without proper recovery time. Management agreed that changes can be made without waiting for a timetable change and they are happy to look at any proposal and implement if possible. This includes ending seven day working stretches if there was general support for that but that this would have implications for the number of four day weekends.
Management of safety critical incidents : We argued that incidents such as speeding and SPA’s should not be treated as disciplinary matters but as errors that should be dealt with via coaching, monitoring and support. Management said that the aim of the disciplinary procedure was to be corrective rather that punitive but especially given the current scrutiny they were not prepared to move away from disciplinary warnings where they felt they were justified. We will continue to dispute this and your reps will defend any member threatened with unfair disciplinary action.
Speed Guns. Speed gun testing was introduced without any consultation with your reps. We believe drivers should always be advised if staff are working near the track. Management confirmed that drivers do not have to accompany managers doing this testing.
Introduction of new policies: As well as the speed gun testing, a new mobile phone policy was introduced without any consultation. Management said this policy had to be introduced at short notice and amendments had now been made. They accepted that consultation should have taken place.
Safety and machinery meetings. We argued that at the root of many of these issues was the failure to hold regular meetings with H&S and IR reps. Management have agreed to provide dates and agree time for reps to carry out their duties including H&S inspections and reports
Absence Policy. No one should feel forced to return to duty before they are able to do so. We raised concerns about the treatment of individuals who are long term sick and your reps are dealing with a number of cases
This is just a brief summary of the issues discussed. Dates are now being arranged for follow up meetings. There are also other issues and individual cases are being dealt with by reps. A full report will be given at the branch meeting.
Your reps will always do their best to pursue any issue members raise but we can only do this if issues and complaints are documented. So if there is something you want us to raise please put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and give your reps the information they need to pursue issues,
ASLEF District Organiser