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Saturday 14 May 2011

Herding Refugees’ Cats Moves To The New Forest – 2

The Dacre hackery has clearly decided that the sacking of ticket clerk Ian Faletto by South West Trains (SWT) is a bone it will not let go: another piece has now appeared on the affair, this time under the by-line of Julia Lawrence. As before, the culprit is “elf’n’safety”, and the claim that Faletto’s actions saved lives is restated.

The assertion that some kind of terrible accident would have happened, had the shopping trolley not been removed from the track, is bogus: Lymington Pier station, where the incident occurred, is approached by trains at just five miles an hour, for the very obvious reason that overshooting the buffer stop would mean ending up in the harbour.

Also, the suggestion that there was some kind of urgency about removing the trolley is equally bogus: the first train was not due for half an hour, and it would not have begun its journey from the junction station of Brockenhurst for another twenty minutes. And the Mail still cannot get the job title right: Faletto is first called a “conductor”, then a “stationmaster”. Neither title is correct.

Moreover, the Mail does not appear to realise that not only has Faletto been dismissed, but that his appeal against dismissal has been unsuccessful. So as far as SWT is concerned, the matter is closed. The protestations over how much effort Faletto put into his work, how much of his own money he spent on flowers, sweets and books, how many have signed the petition for his reinstatement, and what the local Tory MP thinks are to them not material.

One aspect of the affair, though, is not being trumpeted by the Daily Mail, and that is that of Ian Faletto’s religious preference. This may be thought an inconsistency, given that in the case of electrician Colin Atkinson, his Christian belief was trowelled on from the start. But Faletto is a Scientologist (website HERE), and on that, the Mail has a problem.

Scientology, which is not in the established mainstream of religions, is not part of the Middle England mindset of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, and so Mail readers have to be scared of it, hence a variety of frighteners (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE, for instance). So in this case the Mail will not be trading on the “religious freedom in the face of aggressive secularism” angle.

And, unlike the case in Wakefield, they may find it more difficult to get a photographer to barge into SWT’s offices, or send a hack to pore over the staff car park. The Mail may yet discover that there are limits to the aggression so memorably recorded by Nick Davies in Flat Earth News.

[UPDATE: the Maily Telegraph, not to be outdone, has returned to the story with a comment piece by Jenny McCartney. This, too, does not dwell on the thought that Ian Faletto has not only been dismissed, but has lost his appeal against that dismissal. As far as is known, the now former ticket clerk has not yet decided whether to take his case to an industrial tribunal, where he would be liable for costs if defeated yet again. Perhaps the Mail and Telegraph, if they are so concerned, will join forces and underwrite any potential cost to him]


Reuben said...

He could do with updating his profile. The Mail article says he is 49 whereas his Scientology profile says he is in his 30s.

Anonymous said...

he problem with Ian Faletto is that he " assumed " that he was dealing with a railway from nearly 20 years or so ago .

He was a South West Trains Employee , they merely operate the service using trains leased from the Banks . The station and the land belongs to quasi private company but state underwritten Network Rail , all South West Trains own in that station are bits of Office Furniture and equipment .

The track is NOT his concern end of . The Bobby ( Signalman ) who works for Network Rail can't switch the juice off , that can only be done by Control . They'll only switch the juice off if there was a fatality etc .

You needed insulation gloves , wooden paddles , wooden bars to put over the juice rail etc even in BR days .

We used to get contradictory waffle about PTS cards , you could run the risk of a Form 1 for being on the track even if a train had hit someone and killed someone .

Network Rail have got MOM staff that come out in a van if there is due course for concern .

There is a lot of politics , some of it you would not believe , in BR days there was a top down Military chain of command , now the chain of command is long and convoluted . The fragmented and dysfunctional railway is held together by contracts instead .

All the different interests work against each other , fining and blaming each other . The culture is very paranoid . You do not get involved in that ! , and Management can be very spiteful and vindictive re all the petty politics .

It is true that Stagecoach ( Parent Company ) of SWT would love to get rid of station staff to cut costs , they are out to make a profit .....they don't give a flying one about anything else ; but the franchisee does not allow it . However the smart game is to give the barstewards nothing .

What does smell about this is that the District apparently had to examine a CCTV tape where a passenger went under a stationary train to retrieve something .

It is true that some managers wouldn't dare say as much as boo to a goose and would cowardly throw their own staff to the wolves to save their sorry asses , he might well be a jumped up expletive deleted hawk ! promoted under the Peter Principle beyond his ability . .
However with all the politics , I'd be very careful if there was a CCTV camera .

However as regards to a Industrial Tribunal , I feel Ian would only have a case if SWT Management have been less than truthful re the justification for his dismissal . Or ! if adverse inferences can be drawn with all the cost saving politics with or without a small " p " .

If SWT have followed their own due procedure and not botched anything by dotting the i's and crossing the t's , giving Ian enough rope to hang himself with warnings , SWT would be seen as acting reasonably .

Secondly SWT could argue that with the unprecedented adverse publicity that the District Manager has been harassed and they'd have a duty of care to protect him . Most organisations biggest nightmare is a disgruntled manager breaking ranks and blowing the whistle damaging corporate image .

As for the Union Bashing comments from another century , I very much doubt that Ian is a RMT member , if you do things well out of your remit and come in on your days off for nothing ; it gives the reps problems when representing / protecting their members . His loyalty to SWT was very misplaced or naive at best .

Given the poor standard of some ! Railway Management , even some ardent right wingers concede unions are a necessary evil and you could argue some of these Train Operating Companies get precisely the union they deserve due to their confrontational style .

Please don't shoot the messenger !! Thanks

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9034966.Sacked_rail_worker_gets_full_support_of_union/ depends if the RMT CAN get access to the minutes of the hearings , they'll go through them with a fine toothed comb to see if they can find things wrong with them . That's their job .

It makes me laugh as the core readership of that paper would normally be frothing at the mouth at the mere mention of unions . " Damn them for their impudence ! "

However giving SWT free time and not taking annual leave etc , stuff that the RMT / NUR has fought for over the years , ( SWT's purpose is to maximise profit full stop , they don't give employees anything out of the goodness of their hearts !} is likely to be an issue .

Tim Fenton said...

@3, Thanks for the heads up. I note that the article doesn't have any direct quotation from the RMT, though.

Interestingly, the Daily Mail has not yet picked up on the item.