Fed Up with “Reggie Perrin” excuses for staff late arrival?

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said in December that the government would be introducing a Bill to provide a “basic right to get to work each day”. The Bill that the government is proposing will enshrine in law minimum service levels on key transport services, such as buses and trains. This will mean employees will still be able to travel to work on public transport during industrial action. But before you get too excited about this, it will only apply to commuters using public transport. So, if your employees come to work by other means it won’t have much of an impact.

The legislation being outlined will prevent trade unions from holding passengers “to ransom” during disputes, but the Unions are quite clearly unhappy with the proposals. The RMT has said any law that bans transport workers from striking would deny staff a “basic human right”, so it remains to be seen whether or not such legislation will in fact be passed.

Clearly the legislation is really aimed at preventing London and other big cities being brought to a standstill, with all the additional environmental damage done by people reverting to cars when the public transport services are suspended due to industrial action. The law would require that a “bare-bones” service be provided in such situations.

For those of us who live and work in more rural areas, the idea of a “bare bones” service might actually be an improvement on the few busses we see in a week! Similarly, improvements to the train services provided by the regional franchise holders - e.g. getting them to run to timetable - would be welcome. The prospect of reviewing some of the poorly performing rail franchises was raised in the Commons this week, so it remains to be seen when the improvements promised will be put in place. In the meantime, to borrow from Reggie Perrin, you are still likely to get a variety of excuses along the lines of, "Twenty-two minutes late, fed up by train delays, came by bike. Slow puncture at Bromsgrove."
Posted on 09 Jan 2020
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