Since my last post I’ve been out with a driver. Quite an eye-opener it was too. Some masterfully reversing! I’m nowhere near up to that standard. It’s not just the being able to do it, which I probably could, eventually, it’s being able to so it in one attempt. The stores are on main roads, the access being down little side streets with parked cars which have to be negotiated in reverse. So that was intimidating. On the bright side I got the impression off the driver that Claire, the transport manger, was serious about getting me trained up for the job. Also, I got to have an on-the-job induction to how you are supposed to do it, and how you do it when there is not an assessor about.
I got to run through all the stuff I’ll need to know (using the tacho card, tail lift, swearing at car drivers, eating a huge breakfast from a greasy spoon, etc).
The bit I wasn’t too keen on was getting in for 5.30 (half an hour earlier than a real, paid, shift) the when we’d done the first runs Claire asking if I was going out for the second run, which would have made it a 13 hour day, unpaid!
I’d already talked to the driver about it, saying if she wanted me too I had no choice but to do it. He stepped in when she asked and said that he thought I’d learned all I was going to for one day, pointless me going out again. Bless him. So just did 7 hours, unpaid, on my day off.
This was a might irksome, especially as I’m expecting this to be a protracted arrangement. However, the benefits of the plan became apparent when some arseholes tried to screw it up for me!
I told one of the lads in the freezer what was happening. Not really bitching, just saying about the cheek of ‘proving my commitment to the company’. He is mates with the union rep for the freezer. Something that hadn’t occurred to me. The union being the ineffectual management butt-monkeys they are I hadn’t even factored them into any equation.
When I went for my break the union rep was up in arms, me training, unpaid, not clocked on, not covered in case of accident (fair point that). He was saying he was going to speak to the drivers rep and see what could be done.
Just when you finally start to get your shit together some well intentioned, self important arsehole sticks their oar in.
I was not happy. I explained the the other managers had talked the talk but done nothing for me for the last 18 months, Claire had said it’s a bit of shit deal, but it’ll get you where your want to go. On Friday she said “see me Monday, we’ll sort something out”, by Wednesday I was out with a driver. That’s what you want.
He was still agitated and was set to talk to the driver’s rep, I could tell. To try to head it off at the pass I went straight to the driver’s rep. I said Rob, the freezer rep, had a bee in his bonnet about me not getting paid for driver training, just ignore him, I don’t want anything said.
He said “You’re not getting paid? That’s not right I’ll have a word with Claire.”
I told him flat not to fuck it up for me, he said “you’ll never make a driver if you don’t stand up to them.”
I was furious but powerless. I could see how this would look to Claire, I’d accepted her deal then got the union on to her. The company doesn’t have to train me, she could have thought; if that’s your attitude, screw you!’
I went in this morning looking for him to see how badly he’d screwed me over. I couldn’t find him. One of my mates saw Claire though, and said that I was really worried, she said not to be and said for me to see her. I promptly did and explained what had happened. She was O.K. about it, said the arrangement is still on.
You don’t realise how good a shit deal is until you are in danger of having no deal.
I want to get out on the road. You are your own boss outside the gates. The money is a big improvement, (the driver I was with said he took about £33k last year) and it’s so much less physically demanding. The latter being a consideration I have to observe as I slide into decline!
Anyway, only a week to go and I’ll take a day off ( I hope.)