Agency in non-payment dispute over driving duties

Driver agency Rail Force Recruitment Ltd is embroiled in a dispute with at least 36 drivers, after it failed to pay them for rail replacement driving duties they carried out in early November.

The Bankfoot, Perth-based firm – not to be confused with two other firms in Stockport and Solihull which use the words ‘rail’ and ‘force’ in their names – is alleged to owe around 11,000 to the staff, and is not responding to their e-mails or telephone calls. Extensive attempts by routeone have also failed to receive a response.

The firm is owned and run by Stuart Newing-Davis, 45, who gives his address as Dunkeld Road, Perth, but is believed to have since moved to France.

Along with his wife Sarah he is also a director of recruitment agency Ltd and its parent company Prospect Holdings (Scotland) Ltd.

The latter firm, owned jointly by the couple, was dissolved in April. Mr Newing-Davis came to the industry’s attention in 2009 when he was called to a Public Inquiry over his Perth-based firm Ptarmigan Transport Solutions, trading as Bankfoot Buses. In December 2009 he was accused at Perth Sheriff Court of obtaining 58,000 by fraud in relation to Concessionary Travel Reimbursement, but the case was later dropped.

There were a number of issues, including the failure to operate services and use of a forged O-Licence disc. The O-Licence was revoked, Mr and Mrs Newing-Davis were indefinitely disqualified from holding an O-Licence and fined 1,650. The decision was upheld on appeal.

Mr Newing-Davis’ firm was contracted by Abellio’s newly-created rail replacement unit to provide drivers for its buses for Jubilee Line underground rail replacement from Baker Street to Wembley Park in November.

Staff involved say that the
organisation by Mr Newing-Davis, who was present on the weekends, was “a chaotic shambles”. None of the drivers that have contacted routeone have been paid.

In a statement, Abellio said: “We’re currently involved in a legal dispute with Rail Force UK, so are unable to comment on this case.”