Here come the cool 66 cabs!

22 March 2010

The union has made a major breakthrough in our SQUASH campaign with an agreement on Freightliner Intermodal (FLIM) and Freightliner Heavy Haul (FLHH) to provide cab cooling equipment on all the Class 66 locomotives in the Freightliner group.

Lead officer Andy Morrison says, ‘I got a phone call from the company’s General Rail Manager. He wanted to talk to me about the progress of the air-cooling trials on the 66s in both Intermodal and Heavy Haul.

‘He told me that the company was satisfied that the trials had been successful and that they now wanted to begin fitting the units into locos across the fleet.

‘The only stipulation was that he wanted confirmation that the units involved were acceptable to ASLEF. Freightliner and the leasing company were reluctant to fit any more units without the union’s agreement that they were fit for purpose.

‘I have to say, I was delighted. The 66s have been the worst example of poor cab conditions. It’s been a long haul but I felt we had made real progress at last - and I willingly recommended agreement to the executive committee.’

Before doing this Andy had final talks with Keith Martin, the health and safety rep at Intermodal at Eastleigh. Keith has represented the union working closely with Freightliner engineers throughout the trial. He was very positive about the effectiveness of the air cooling equipment after a few minor complaints had been resolved.

Keith’s careful assessments included a five-hour trip from Southampton to Crewe during which he says the equipment worked very well.

Last month’s the executive committee were happy to endorse Andy’s recommendation and the company have been informed. As a result the units will be fitted to 66s as soon as possible.

Keith Norman was warm in his praise of the Andy and Keith, but also to all the members in the company who had refused to let the issue rest. ‘It shows that persistence is one of a trade unionist’s finest virtues,’ Keith said. ‘Never give up, and never take ‘no’ for a final answer.’

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