“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