Friday, 29 July 2016 - Press Release from Sacked, Resigned or Forced out crew of New Brighton Lifeboat Station
[Note to journalists & Editors]
We the former crew of New Brighton Lifeboat station would like to first thank the press for their continued reporting of our situation.
We are issuing this press release because of what the RNLI are reporting as their reasons for taking the decision to close the station. This document will also provide evidence to support our version of events to expose some of the lies and tactics used.
So far they have quoted 3 separate reasons at separate times.
We maintain our stance in trying to sort this situation out and get the 320 years of experience back into the station before a tragedy occurs.
The RNLI have cited training as an issue as to why the station has had to close. Training at New Brighton was always well run and well organised. The crew were even commended by the RNLI for the quality of their training. Typically the New Brighton crew trained on both the lifeboat and the hovercraft at least twice a month. Training regimes are not set centrally by RNLI headquarters but in collaboration with the operational team and volunteers at a station level.
In October 2015 the Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) held a meeting. At that meeting he was very aggressive towards the crew and informed them that training was going to be carried out weekly and that he would organise the dates. A full transcript of what the LOM said is shown below. The meeting caused unrest at the station. The Divisional Operations Manager (DOM), a paid employee of the RNLI, came to the station in the weeks following and interviewed the crew. A majority of the crew spoke to him and told him they couldn’t understand why the situation had come about.
The crew thought that the DOM would resolve the situation but he made it worse by forcing the Senior Helmsman (the most senior person that actually goes to sea) to resign. This caused even more upset and a collective grievance was made by 17 of the 24 operational crew (three others supported it but they also had jobs with the RNLI and were too frightened to sign).
Despite the way the new training had been implemented the crew got on with it while the grievance was investigated and tried to make it work. As an extremely busy station moving to weekly training created extreme pressures on the time management of the crew in relation to work, home life & commitment to the RNLI. This is before we consider the 60+ calls the station deals with annually. Although we raised concerns over this verbally with our LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) it was quoted as a "done deal nothing to discuss".
During this time and right up to the close of the station ALL crew members were green lighted (signed off as competent) on the COBT (competence based training) system. No training issues were identified and as such all was well.
Quote from crew on training issue raise "We are flabbergasted by the RNLI saying training was an issue at the station, despite objections being raised, we the crew did follow our management team in trying to implement the changes. This resulted after a few weeks to the numbers dwindling to 2 crew per training session. This is not because we refused to train, we see this as a vital part of being at the station to keep our knowledge up to date, and also to pass on this knowledge to new crew members. As a result work life balance between work, home life & station duties became strained."
Code of conduct
No other station in the country has been asked to sign a code of conduct, as part of your initial sign-up to the RNLI you are shown what is to be expected and when you sign you are agreeing to those terms.
The RNLI are stating that signing another form was to "show commitment to the station in moving forward". Questions were being raised by the crew as to why this was being asked of them and we wanted to know what the consequences would be if we didn’t sign. The date to we were asked to sign by was the 8th July 2016. This was before the next scheduled crew meeting.
Quote from crew on code of conduct raised "Twelve of the crew at New Brighton wanted to ask some questions before signing the code of conduct as no other station had been asked to do the same. As a crew we believe the 320 years collective service to the RNLI should speak about our commitment to the station and shows in all those years no breaches of this were ever brought."
We have evidence that can be provided to you both in hard copy, emails and voice recordings that are shocking and show lies and deceit from those representing this professional organisation. The evidence also shows the way managers behaved towards individual crew, behaviour that was threatening and bullying. We also have evidence that shows that the investigation into the grievance brought by the crew was not investigated fairly (including a taped conversation).
Quote from crew on behavioural issues raised "As far as the crew are concerned there is only one person who this accusation should be pointed at and that is the LOM. We have evidence of bullying tactics, a secret plot to "get rid " of senior hands at the station, lies both by the LOM, DLA's (Deputy Launch Authority) and DOM. All of this against a team of dedicated volunteers who are willing to risk their own safety to help others. Volunteers who gave up numerous personal hours, to RNLI New Brighton Lifeboat Station, for the pursuit of nothing other than the protection of the public."
New Brighton Lifeboat station – current status
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