South West Trains had to roll with the punches last week. Under
fire from all sides of the political divide, SWT played a straight bat
in defending its move to new working practices by accepting voluntary
redundancy requests from 70 drivers and then cancelling trains en
Interestingly the one organisation glaringly absent from the press
articles were the rail unions with whom, presumably, the original
package was negotiated.
Within the week, SWT commuters arrived at their stations to find they
were being offered a free day’s travel - a PR move that was accepted but
did little to assuage criticism. Commuter Nick Beard’s quote: ’It’s good
PR, but it doesn’t make up for bad management’ was widely reported.
More positively, one passenger said: ’Can you imagine the old British
Rail doing this?’. If the PR worked on SWT’s customers, there’s clearly
ground to be made up with its staff, one of whom branded his bosses as
’clueless’ (Guardian, 22 February).
Evaluation and analysis by Carma International.
Cuttings supplied by The Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers
Say’ can also be found at: http//www.carma.com/carma.