25 Dec 2018, 07:00
26 Dec 2018, 19:19
Chronos wrote:Hi all,
I have been driving for PF as a Christmas relief driver. Upon return to depot yesterday I noted the hire vans being readied for return, confirmed by being asked to fuel mine up and remove all 739s, stickers, tape, old manifests and any remains of attempts to eat a BLT triple on the North Wales expressway. Quite how one of my colleagues is going to remove the stigma of his van being a fly-by-wire Ford with more scrapes and scuffs than a ten-year-old pair of Doc Martens (showing my age?) is another matter but ho hum...
My question is this: When and how are we agency wallahs going to find out we're cut adrift and up the proverbial without a paddle, let alone a Sprinter? My debrief after an almost perfect and very enjoyable day of largely rural drops with just one residential 739 where all the neighbours three doors either side were out (three businesses were closed but we knew that would be the case going in and I still managed to shift the bulk drop) included the words "phone call on Thursday" which could mean me ringing them or vice versa.
For the avoidance of doubt, I found my depot relaxed and easy-going, the work largely enjoyable for the most part and certainly wouldn't object to a few on-going days as a relief driver. There are the usual lack of communication issues (for example, I had to wait for them to ring me to get the depot telephone number) but better that than being micro-managed to the point of feeling stifled.
27 Dec 2018, 08:45
07 Jan 2019, 08:24
Chronos wrote:Thanks for the reply. At our depot, the staff managing the routes, deliveries and collections have all driven and still do on occasion. For example, on the 20th two of them were out with the rest of us making the same amount of drops. I realise this probably isn't the norm but our folks understand the work and often give advice on runs they know well.
I get calls, texts, device messages and off manifest collections too. Most of our fleet have at least headset profile Bluetooth and wheel controls so taking incoming calls while driving isn't as dangerous as it sounds. At one point I'd finished my delivery run at around 14:30, found the depot deserted and signed out to go home rather than sit around doing sod all on company time. I got a call from our collections manager halfway home who asked me (didn't tell me, asked) if I could come back and do some collections. This turned into a late stint with a collection from a major local customer after three usual collections which took two of us as the mass would have taken my LWB Sprinter over weight which is the driver's responsibility to gauge and manage. One decent sized pallet of car bits can represent total payload mass (~1200kg give or take for a LWB Sprinter - 3.5T represents the MAM) quite easily. Instead of trying to persuade me to overload my vehicle as some in other organisations would, the manager arranged another vehicle to join me without question.
Several things stand out working here. The first is being thanked at the end of shift for the effort. It has been a long time since I have come across a large organisation which treats its people with such respect and the courtesy goes a long way to making the work worthwhile. Another is the lead staff mucking in with the rest of us. Our debriefer regularly helps with 739 caging, for example.
There are things not to like, of course, such as getting into grief for things we were never told about, but there is a real risk of familiarity breeding contempt and losing sight of the good. Seriously, I've worked in places where the work was far easier but the environment toxic. Yes, the work is hard and the communication could be better but, at our depot at least, we have a solid team and the good really does outweigh the bad which is why I'm rather keen to make the most of this opportunity.
As for my question, this may well be resolved. I've contacted the depot and have been told to contact again in the morning so it may not, as I feared, be "so long and thanks for all the fish,"
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