October 2013: Zero hour contracts are a cancer in our industry

07 October 2013

I have touched before in this column on those zero hours contracts that are a cancer in our industry and our concerns for safety, conditions, and pensions – and the undermining of legitimate operators. Now the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union is taking on Hovis in the north-west over the replacement of what are really full-time jobs with zero hours contracts, and we have sent them our fraternal greetings and support.

The Labour Party says it will look at the problem where those contracted to full-time roles can be left at home on a whim and, although they have no right to work, are barred from taking other work! What sort of nonsense is that?

Look at the Rail Accident Investigation Branch investigation into a Devon & Cornwall Railways SPAD at Stafford. We are demanding a public inquiry into DCR and its total negligence in relation to competence and operational safety.

We are concerned that this incident would not have been investigated but for repeated requests, from an individual, and about the Office of Rail Regulation’s role in supervision of new operators’ safety management systems.

Everyone should read the RAIB report – there is a summary on our website – because it is quite clear the person operating the Class 47, a senior manager at Amtrain, working on a zero hours contract with DCR, was not conversant with the traction, his only experience was on a low speed heritage operation, and he apparently developed a massive route card which he had never been tested on, in line with current industry standards, and, therefore, cannot be deemed conversant with the route.

So experienced was this operator that he apparently did not realise he was doing 100mph on a light engine with a defective speedo? What crap!Our members have lost their livelihoods for less. Will someone explain to me how these people are still in operation and when are the industry bodies going to look at themselves?

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