Saturday, April 10, 2010

And it's back to Bradford!

WOW! it's been a confusing week for me at work. I have just now got my head around the changes at Treforest. Big changes have happened this week with the work my employer does under contract for the nationwide company. As a driver I do not have access to the full and true story of exactly what happened. I do not know how much money my employer gets for each journey it does for the nationwide company. What I do know is that my employer has lost 1 journey to Liverpool and 6 journeys to London every day. My guess is that this represents a staggering loss of around 40% of it's revenue from the nationwide company. To suddenly loose 40% of this contract is a huge shock to all the drivers.

Last year we had at Treforest a 28 line rolling roster, this has now been reduced to a 17 line rolling roster with the loss of 11 jobs. There have been no redundancies and no driver is standing spare. Word of the reduced workings had leaked out and some drivers have decided to jump ship and gain employment with other operators, some of them doing the actual journeys that our depot has lost.

I do enjoy reading thriller novels and this week has reminded me of Body of Lies by David Ignatius . In the book everything made sense until I got to page 378 and then I thought - WOW! what the hell is going on? I do not understand, this does not add-up. I am confused and I do not know what to think.

Body of Lies is a good way to describe exactly what has gone on recently at Treforest. Many rumours are going around the network about our future, there is tremendous speculation about what will happen and exactly why this huge 40% loss of work has occurred. Conspiracy theories about which dark forces are at play bother us and we all wonder who is onside and who is against us.

So, I decided not to jump ship and gain employment with another operator. I will stay at Treforest until the bitter end. My future at Treforest is uncertain and I do not know how long this new 17 line rolling roster will last. Things could stay the same, things could even get better or our whole contract with the nationwide company could be withdrawn without a moment's notice.

Putting all the rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories that I have heard this week together with my 30 years experience of working with buses and coaches, I think that the days of operating services for the nationwide company from Treforest are coming to an end. How quickly our depot ceases to operate these remaining journeys to Bradford and London I do not know. The end could be very near indeed, I may go on holiday in June thinking I have a job to come back to, only to find on my return that it has gone. Whatever happens, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

What joys does this new 17 line rolling roster offer? Drivers will stay overnight in Bradford 14 nights over 17 weeks. Our earliest start at Treforest will be at 05.40 and our latest finish will be at 23.05 although it is at 01.50 on Friday's and Sunday's. This is rather different to the old 28 line rolling roster where the earliest starts were 01.55 and the latest finishes were 03.00 every day! We will now have more sociable working hours but we simply do not know how long our jobs will last. I really enjoy reading thriller and conspiracy novels but when it happens in your day job, it is no fun at all.

If and when my job comes to an end, one of three things will happen. I will do the same work as I do now but for another employer from another depot, I will do local bus work from Treforest or I will be made redundant. Until that day comes, I do not know which way things will pan out and neither do the other 16 drivers at Treforest.
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