Archive for January, 2012

“Good things come to those who wait” Well that certainly wasn’t written by anyone who had been suffering huge expenses while waiting patiently, for the new RFT. No. Good things did not come. Still, we plod on. Well most of us anyway. I feel badly for the 5% who had no option but to decline the new schedule of pay rates, yet I feel just as badly for those that did. What a shock it is to return to work doing the same job I have been doing for years, but now my pay is back to rates from 10 years ago. Personally, I’m just giving it a month to see if anyone at the the department sees the “error of their ways”. I can’t do as is expected of me in the contract, else my daily loss would be $25 each day for each run. I love my job but can’t continue being a charity worker forever. I need an income. I have bills to pay like the next person.

I had planned to be organized when school resumed. I was going to have my vehicles all serviced and new drivers approved, but since I was not sure if my runs would be forthcoming, or even if they would be viable, I didn’t get to it. I wasn’t going to waste even more of my valuable time on departmental compliance. After all, the whole nightmare of the tender now turns out to be a waste of time. Well “more fool me”. My runs did come in the mail and then it was a mad rush to arrange drivers and cars and services etc. Fortunately I have some approved friends driving who are aware of the circumstances and are willing to drive for less than the award until I decide what to do.

Well my first morning started with the usual headaches, wrong addresses and phone numbers, children not starting at the date on the run card, parents complaining about pick up times etc etc. I got through it OK and came home after the morning run to receive a hurried phone call from a friend who said “quick, turn on Ray Hadley on 2GB”. I fumbled with the dial of course, because I don’t listen to that station. In fact, where is that station?? Turns out its an AM station, so I jumped on the computer and listened live. Wow! Something has really ‘hit the fan’. Parents complaining, operators complaining, Ray Hadley ‘doing his block’. Problems all round with over 740 students not getting to school. Wow, more people were affected by the price cuts than what I thought. I listened intently while it was announced the problems were due to the transition of the contracts with the operators and that some operators were handing their runs back as late as Friday. Ok, so what are they saying? That the operators were to blame?? Why don’t they be honest and say that:
1) The education department offered less than award pay to their contractors and that they expect them to cover their car expenses as a charitable gesture.
2) Most runs were only allocated less than 2 weeks before school returned, with some not allocated until the previous Thursday.
3) They were informed by many operators in October the previous year that there would be problems with operators not accepting runs.
4) That someone high up in their office obviously has only ‘half a brain’ if they relied on the acceptance forms as being a reliable indication that “happy” operators will continue to work for nothing.

Perhaps a bit of honesty was needed here, but no, the operators were to be the scapegoats in this debacle. While I feel sorry for the parents and children, it was GOOD to finally see what happens when the “powers that be” stuff things up because of penny pinching.

Off to do my afternoon run, have a good one.




“Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.”  –  Don Marquis

Back To School

Hello again and a Happy New Year to all. The Site Team and myself hope you had a lovely break. Please don’t scold me for being so overdue, both with the Blog, and the answers to the Xmas trivia. Have been a bit busy of late. You will find those answers there now and I hope the questions didn’t frustrate you too much.

There were still many schools who did not pass on the site address to the drivers at their school so please, if you don’t mind passing it on to all those you come across on your travels. “The more the Merrier” they say. Or perhaps in this case, “Strength in Numbers”.

Oh dear! How to keep this blog fun and lighthearted with all the turmoil surrounding us all. I suppose by now, most of you have received your runs, plus the contract, and have decided what you are going to do come Monday. The poor staff at Wollongong are flat out. I have heard that there is much chaos and many children are still not placed on runs. I have also heard that many people have had to hand their runs back due to the low pay rates. How sad it all is. There are willing, capable and loyal contractors and drivers out there who are now without employment. There is office staff pulling their hair out trying to cope, frustrated parents not knowing if their children will get to school come Monday, and then their are the “powers that be” from the city office, who did their job of minimizing their budget, but doubt that they are now around for the ‘fall out’.

The only good news so far was the amendment in clause16.1 in the contract. They are now going to pay for short term absences. Ok, that’s good, a bit like a minimum daily rate, providing though, that you start the run with adequate kilometers. Not worth anything to those who don’t. And where is the full explanation of how this will work? Too many contradictions. So they pay you if any children are off for a while, but they DON’T pay you for a non loaded vehicle. What if you only have a small run and all are away. You could do the drive (fuel, wages), yet it will be an unloaded vehicle. Hmm?Nice gesture, I thought at first. NOT. This was simply done to alleviate the need for extra office staff who would be needed to cope with the multiple mapping that would have been necessary for every single run, every single month. Even just a few absences would have meant 1, 2, or even 10 variations to one run every month. No, don’t be fooled, this is not goodwill on their part. It’s a shame though that we weren’t informed of this change prior to many runs been handed back and many people leaving. Those people may have looked at their runs a bit differently if they had known.

Off topic now before my seething spoils my day. Only 2 days left of a six week break. Ok, can someone tell me where that six weeks went? Sure, I had a lovely Xmas with my family, and I did manage to get a few overdue jobs done around the house, but what happened to all the plans I had made for all the time I was expecting? They say “time flies when you’re having fun”, well for me, it flies by even when I’m not.

I must say, while the weather has confused me, I have really enjoyed not having those horrible hot hot days. As I sit here typing, the breeze is blowing and my wind chimes serenade my ears. It’s nice. Off to the Trots tonight. Not for the races, but for the company that invited Hubby and me. We will drink and chat and eat. Just what I love to do. See you all next time and good luck for the start of another year.




“Concern should drive us into action, not depression”  ~ Karen Horney

Run Card Day

Finally, most people seem to have received their runs. Did you all get good ones? Well, as good as can be under the circumstances I suppose. Not the most exciting day really. Yes, good that they arrived, but of course miserable with this new Schedule of Pay Rates, which in some instances are even lower than they were a decade ago. Gone are those days now. No more increases, no more minimum daily rates, in fact, barely enough to cover the costs. Oh yes I forgot. We are to be the government charity workers. Three cheers for us. How nice we are to surrender our time for the good of the community.

Ok, enough sarcasm, time now for me to evaluate and decide whether to either make a pittance for my effort, or go and “work for the man”. At least “the man” has a guideline to pay me by. He is not allowed to pay “sweat shop labour” prices. He MUST pay for my time and effort, he MUST pay me for my car expenses, he MUST be up front and open with me with any contract. Gosh, I wonder why I didn’t do this in 2007 when the last tender ended? Oh yes, I know why, I had carrots dangling in front of me for the last 5 years, with the promise of a fairer payment just around the corner in the soon to be released RFT. Funny. Five years preparation time and there were still 5 Addendums in the tender. They can’t even get THAT right.

Ok, I can see by my continual sarcasm that my mood is not the best today for writing what should be a lighthearted blog so I will end this now, go off and kick a wall or something, then come back when my mood is better. Poor hubby when he comes home tonight, his ears will pain him with the sound of me getting things off my chest.


Cheers                                                                               Buttercup


“The concept of the ‘good ol’ days’ must be our society’s biggest delusions, top reasons for depression….” Bo Bennett