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I have today received a copy of a communication which was sent to senior Councillors in Greater Manchester, this is a follow up of previous correspondence regarding Health and Safety concerns with Palladium Associate Staff and makes interesting reading.
Re- METROLINK / MAJOR INCIDENT
ALLEGATION OF NEGLIGENCE – TFGM STAFF, DIRECTOR, DIRECTOR GENERAL and TWO RATP DEV (UK) EXECUTIVES
I write to you, specifically in relation to the major incident reported in the Manchester Evening News last night. Last Tuesday evening, four contractors, (one of whom is the contractor’s manager) from RATP Metrolink’s hired security firm Palladium Associates Limited have restrained, then assaulted and put a person into a coma during a ‘restraint gone wrong’. Greater Manchester Police have charged the four ‘Palladium Ltd’ staff and bailed them. Whilst I am aware that the male had indeed tried to assault staff this in no way allows for such a disproportionate response. This particular letter is sent not only to you, but a wide audience of others to ensure you act in an appropriate manner.
It is my allegation that within the last ten months-
i) RATP Metrolink Managing Director Chris Coleman
ii) RATP Group CEO Tim Jackson
iii) TFGM Louise Barry, Metrolink / Travelsafe Manager
iii) TfGM Metrolink Director Peter Cushing
iv) TfGM Director General Dr Jon Lamonte
…all five of these were anonymously sent emails or letters directly mentioning our concerns over the situation with Palladium Associates, with casually hired new staff filling in application forms during their first day, no CRB checks, no walk away policy, zero drink-drugs testing, no training, no track safety training, risk of endangering ordinary Metrolink drivers and inspectors, some staff signing on at the job centre, others using false names, some working on nightclub doors/other jobs then coming straight to Metrolink with little if any rest – all proven.
Ordinary RATP Metrolink staff had previously raised concerns to Metrolink managers, but were ignored and considered ‘irrelevent’.
Concerns were also raised that no proper tendering ever took place when Palladium were hired, instead the (former police officer) company owner was already known to RATP DEV Manager – Graham Lord Jones (also a former police officer). Marie Daly, was the HR+Customer Service Director at RATP who signed off and approved the Palladium contract, obviously with no proper scrutiny. On Companies House Palladium lists itself as having just four employees, so effectively anyone else is self employed – does Metrolink’s insurance cover those non-employees?
ALL THESE CONCERNS WERE EMAILED AND LETTERED TO THOSE FIVE PEOPLE OVER SIX MONTHS AGO – leaving plenty of time for competent persons to intervene and put matters right, but instead TfGM did nothing whilst RATP bosses chose to launch a witchunt to find out who sent the letter exposing the serious shortcomings.
Ordinary Metrolink staff have been sacked for ‘gross misconduct’ within the last few months for merely ejecting people from trams. One incident involved a sacking after a teenager at Sale Station was forcing the door emergency releases open on the wrong side (track side) of a tram. An employee used minimal force to remove him, having hold of his clothing, and was sacked. If you recall the incident with the 13-year-old going into a coma after taking ecstacy tablets at Timperley that same teenager, involved in the Sale ‘door’ incident was arrested for dealing the drugs to the 13-year old in the Timperley incident.
The fact that this latest incident involves Palladium Associates Ltd’s contract manager should be of most concern.
Further, I do not feel it is appropriate given the seriousness of these incompetence allegations that any of the TfGM people named in this email should have been allowed to consider bids for the Metrolink replacement contract, and the four bids should urgently be reviewed and scrutinized by an independent panel or consultancy. It is my belief that the latest string of incidents occured due to falsely percieved ‘savings’ due to contracting things out, and perhaps a Metrolink contract would now be better operated and more fiscally accountable directly run by the PTE.
Metrolink RATPDev Ltd have gradually been replacing their own Passenger Service Representatives (Inspectors) with Palladium Associate staff in an attempt to reduce costs, and it is believed if Metrolink RATPDev Ltd gets the contract then all employees currently working as ‘Inspectors’ will be made redundant, being fully replaced with Palladium Associate contractors.
Manager Carla Taylor, Previously Head of Customer Services and a key Manager involved in bringing in Palladium Associates, has previously been involved in misreporting of data to the Transport for Greater Manchester.