Monday, 25 May 2015

It’s Not Your Safety That Concerns Them…

…it’s their ability to screw money out of the taxpayer for the usual Spanish practices:
Keith Williams, a GMB trade union representative, joined Dagenham refuse workers on the picket line. He accused the council of violating a 28-year-old agreement by halving the time allowed for drivers to carry out safety checks on dust carts from 30 minutes to 15, meaning a £1,000 a year pay cut.
“You couldn’t afford to lose £1,000 a year – our members had no alternative but to strike,” he said.
“We’ve had this payment for 28 years and now the council is trying to knock out this 15-minute safety check figure.
“We don’t want to be out on strike – but we are not willing to lose £1,000 a year.
“It’s the democratic right of workers to take industrial action, we’ll keep it up as long as it takes.
“The council has to end this dispute but Twomey (cllr) and Rodwell (council leader) don’t want to get round the table.”
He said the council was guilty of breaching health and safety, and that 30 minutes is needed to carry out a full safety check.
And as with most union justification, this turns out to be smellier than a five week old uncollected waste bin.
But on May 14, service manager for passenger transport James Braund, who teaches the check to drivers, invited the Post to see how long it takes.
“I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t work with these every day,” he said. “But I did carry out a check on a similar vehicle yesterday and probably do three a week.”
James completed the test, which involves checking oil, tyre tread, light operations and equipment, in just nine minutes and explained the process while doing so.
Whoops! Back to Keith, to see if he has an answer:
But Keith said his check didn’t reflect the reality of the job.
“He’s not carrying the check out at 5am,” he said. “It’s dark when we carry out these checks and there’s about 15 queuing up to fill their tanks.”
Gosh, will this turn out to be the truth th…

Well, no.
A council spokesman claims drivers are required to fill up at the end of a shift, to ensure vehicles are ready in the morning and refill queues are prevented.
He also said on-site lighting means checks can be carried out at any time of day.
Quite. So quit your whinging, Keith!

And more to the point, why on earth has the council been granting overtime for safety checks anyway? Any normal job, these would be part of your day to day routine, not an ‘extra’ that you demand extra moolah for!
…group manager of direct services, Tony Ralph, insisted the council is not breaching health and safety.
“We are not asking any driver to take an unsafe vehicle out,” he said. “The pre-start check is overtime on top of 35 hour week. We want them to do the check and we’ll pay them for 15 minutes. If it takes longer we’re not asking them to not do it, we’re saying it goes into their normal working day.”
As should have been the case all along.


Anonymous said...

Hah that old one size fits all rubbish about vehicle checks..or rather as it should be said, making sure the vehicle is safe to go out, two completely different things, and standards for companies and individuals vary from one extreme to another.

Yes i can do a visual safety check in about 9 minutes too on a commercial, that's going round on a box ticking exercise where you make the right moves and tick the right boxes but you haven't really checked anything.

Bit like modern driver testing where you move your head exaggeratedly so many times a minute, you haven't checked what's happening in those mirrors but a box can be ticked, test passed.

In reality it might take anything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes to prepare a vehicle for a days work, it's stood in a dusty yard all night and the windows and mirrors will reflect, or not as the case may be, this, it might need washing before it goes out, it might need engine oil, tyres pumping up (lots of punctures on that work), anything.

Ask surviving London cyclists if they want to share the roads with a refuse/recycling/tipper type lorry rushed out of the yard by the time and motion bod complete with lights windows and mirrors covered in a weeks filth and driven by someone watching the clock intently less they get questioned for being ten minutes overdue.

Unions and working practices get some bad rep but in the world of lorries live some skilled and responsible staff who have done their jobs for nearly a lifetime without incident, they don't rush about to fit a time agenda because it simply doesn't work like that.



Anonymous said...

I wonder what they call Spanish practices in Spain? Just "practices"?

James Higham said...

Has a certain je ne sais quoi - Dagenham refuse worker.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what they call Spanish practices in Spain?
Engaños de policía inglesas.

andy5759 said...

Fifteen minutes a day, assume a six day week, multiply one and a half hours by fifty-two weeks, you arrive at £12.80 per hour. If Red Keith is correct that the drivers lose a thousand pounds a year, then the above figure is nett of tax. So that gives a pre-tax hourly rate of around £18. Blimey! Factor in bank holidays, weekend overtime and their pay doesn't fall far short of an MP. They are rather more useful than MPs though.

ivan said...

Judd, you are assuming the maintenance staff haven't been doing their job overnight.

When I ran a fleet of trucks the things you are talking about were carried out overnight by the maintenance staff, who also had the job of clearing the truck for work. The driver check was to satisfy him/herself that everything was OK before they signed the truck out for the time period they would be driving.

I am afraid all the bleating from the union is because someone has curtailed their unnecessary overtime for work that would normally be included in the days work schedule. You should note that no one has said that these checks should be curtailed only that they shouldn't be paid overtime for doing them.

Anonymous said...

It's a snide pay cut on a 28 year agreement, its nothing more nothing less.

Vechicle checks my arse....Its an easy target to slash a wage bill, there are probably millions of workers who have long standing agreements that make up a "wage" that 28 years later the company won't pay new workers that agreed bit of their wage and want to get rid of it completely.

Its standard practice to lose old perks by any means posssible...that "overtime" was more than likely part of a union agreement back in the day as part of a pay deal.

Fuck all to do with Vehicle saftey...its an "odd overtime|" arrangement that just aint right in 2015 anymore.


JuliaM said...

"In reality it might take anything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes to prepare a vehicle for a days work.."

And that should be factored in. Not done on overtime!

"Blimey! Factor in bank holidays, weekend overtime and their pay doesn't fall far short of an MP. They are rather more useful than MPs though."

That, I'll give you..!

"its an "odd overtime|" arrangement that just aint right in 2015 anymore."

Indeed so.