How to be an awkward bugger

During the disruption caused by the recent snow in this area, I noticed that despite the council’s inefficiency in clearing the roads, we still had Tesco home delivery vans pootling about in the four to five inches of the white stuff*. I did things a bit differently when I worked there.

We’d had a lot of snow overnight, about 10 inches in places, and I rolled into work and flatout refused to take a van out. My store manager was not a happy bunny at all.

‘The main roads are clear!’

‘I don’t go on main roads much. On the run I’m scheduled for, there’s a lot of country lanes and narrow drives, and quite a lot of steep bits. If I go out, I’ll get stuck, so the customers still won’t get their shopping anyway. Not to mention the danger to myself.’

‘The other drivers are going out!’

‘Bully for them. It’s their decision, but I’ve run my own risk assessment on the task, which as you are fully aware is my personal responsibility, and it’s too risky. All it needs is some mad bastard coming the other way too fast and losing it, that’s the van knackered and me hurt.’

Given I was a health and safety rep, he pretty much had to concede. He wasn’t too pleased though.

I’d had a run-in with him before, and one of the guys from head office. Said GFHO wanted the drivers to be responsible for some of the minor maintenance on the vans. Changing bulbs, windscreen wipers, that sort of malarkey. There was a maintenance contract with a fleet company, and they charged 60 quid call-out for those things, so Tesco had an eye on the main chance.

‘When do you expect us to do the training for this?’

‘It’s scheduled for Friday, 7:00 AM.’

‘I don’t work Fridays.’

‘Couldn’t you just come in for a couple of hours?’

‘Are you going to pay me?’

‘Well, no…’

‘Are you going to pay the drivers who do work Friday the two hours they’ll be here before their nominal start time?

‘Well no.’

‘Are we going to get paid for the extra duties and responsibilities?’

‘Well, no…’

‘The schedules are already impossible to adhere to**. Can you guarantee we’ll have enough time built in to allow us to do the extra?’

‘We’ll do our best.’

I turned to the other drivers. ‘I don’t think I want to play this game, do you?’

Did I mention I was a union rep as well as a health and safety rep?

*I realise in Minnesota you would just think there’s been a sharp frost with that amount of snow.

**I may return to this topic at some point.

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