Thursday, July 19, 2012

New duties at work.

We have another new roster that started this week down on the farm. The old roster basically had 22 duties spread over 32 weeks. This new roster is slightly larger with 24 duties spread over 34 weeks. This is because we have 2 new duties running a late night service to Gatwick Airport.

The big problem with this roster is the same as the old roster. There is NO PATTERN. All the duties are jumbled together without any sense of progression.  There was an opportunity to compile a roster that would flow in a natural way in line with drivers body rhythmns. This opportunity has been lost and we have been given this hodge podge of a roster.

In the rostered 34 weeks there are 12 lines which involve a single rest day to fulfill the weekly rest requirement. This is perfectly legal but still a bad show as I prefer 2 consecutive rest days for my weekly rest period. There is no pattern to the sequence of rest days. Fifteen years ago we had a roster where all the rest days went in a strict repeating sequence. There are also 9 lines where you work the maximum 6 consecutive days before a weekly rest period. Some of these shifts are rather long and our drivers can get very jaded and short tempered on their 6th day.

On the plus side there are 6 lines where you get 3 consecutive rest days together. There is one small pattern which is a conscession to common sense. There are 2 long duties to Gatwick Airport and what our line manager has done is make a trio of late shifts. Day 1 starts at 14.30 and finishes the next day at 04.00 - day 2 starts later that day at 16.15 finishing at 05.15 the next day - day 3 starts later that day at 16.15 and finishes at 01.50 the next day. Because of the late finishes on these 3 duties there may not have been another option but to string them together. This is the only pattern in the whole roster. All the other duties appear on the roster at random.

We will be working around the clock as 2 duties start at 03.00 and 1 duty at 03.15 every day. So with a first start of 03.00 and a last finish of 05.15 this is truly a 24/7 operation. Of course the nationwide company drones on about how concerned it is about public and road safety by fitting alcohol breathtesting locking devices. These devices stop the driver starting the engine if his alcohol breath sample is anything other than zero. These devices do not measure driver fatigue that can be caused by a badly compiled work roster. They had the chance but management just cobbled together this nasty roster. We do not come down the farm at 08.00 and have every weekend off but have to accept a roster we had not chance of compiling ourselves.

Read and noted Mr Clynes
It's ironic in my opinion that many rotas with work governed by EU hours will be similarly grim - legislation which is supposed to keep driver's fresh and alert by it's very nature leads to nasty patterns of work just to accomodate the required legal rest.
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