This afternoon (Tuesday Oct 24th) your Company Council reps and I met with senior management at FirstTram Operations Ltd. We once again told them about the numerous reports from members about the symptoms experienced since testing of the “Guardian” device began. These range from headaches and dry eyes to potentially serious damage to eyes.
Management claimed that they are “100% confident” that the system is safe and that they do not believe that it could be responsible for the symptoms drivers are experiencing. They accepted that so far, 20 drivers have filled in incident reports. They said that to provide extra reassurance they intend to provide an eye health check to all drivers and that additional monitoring and checks on the “Guardian” device will take place in the cab.
They then told us that, although these additional steps have not yet been taken, they intend to switch the system on from tomorrow (Wednesday Oct 25th). We made clear that this was unacceptable to ASLEF and that we are completely opposed to this decision. Despite our position they intend to bring the system into full operation.
Our view is that the underlying issues that cause fatigue and distraction events need to be dealt with. Simply recording video clips of drivers is just an excuse not to install a proper automatic tram protection system.This system would have done nothing to prevent the terrible tragedy last year. It is a tokenistic attempt to be seen to "do something" while not dealing with the real issues
A report is now being provided to the ASLEF Executive Committee who will decide on the next steps we will take. There will then be a further update for members.