Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Part Of The Union

In 1973 the band with the highly plausibnle name "The Strawbs" belted out the anthemic "Part Of The Union". It got to #2 on the British charts. We don't need to know much more than that, really.

The bus business is highly unionised. Just as almost everyone describes him or herself as a bus driver (or mechanic), so it is that just about everyone who earns a wage is a member of a union.

The bus drivers have a choice of two unions - which means they aren't entirely united, which does seem to be a little silly. When we (the training group) were being inducted into the company, representatives of both unions came and talked to us. Neither one was complimentary about the other, yet they work together in the annual wage / conditions neghotiations with the company. They just wanted our money. They wanted us to pay our dues. And no, paying our dues wouldn't turn us into immortal blues musicians. Oddly, we were also talked to by the Operations Manager, who dressed like a real estate agent and told us of the value of joining the union of our choice. The union people and the suit also told us that joining a union was totally voluntary.

And so, as union members do get slightly better conditions and overtime rates than those who choose to not join, I have signed up. Also, I am not politically averse to unions. I take great pride in being a bleeding heart leftwing pinko liberal ratbag. So, you can't touch me. I'm part of the union. Or part of one of the unions, anyway.

BIG NEWS: I am now a fully licenced bus driver. I am now legally and lawfully allowed to drive cars, motorcycles, and heavy road-going vehicles up to 17,000 kilograms.Or some ridiculously large weight, anyway. My licence also boasts a "P" endorsement. This doesn't mean I can sell Class A drugs. It means that the State has found me to be a fit and proper person, someone who can drive a fare-paying passenger vehicle.

This doesn't mean my training has stopped. It simply means I can now be put into a bus with a tutor, to actually travel the routes with passengers in the vehicle. After a week or so I'll be allowed to be behind the wheel while the tutor sits behind me, ready to behead me should I do anything stupid.

Several of my classmates are already in this mode: they got their "P" endorsement through before I did. Being a Fit and Proper person after having lived in Austrralia for several years in the 1970s is, apparently, not easy to demonstrate.

You'll have noticed that I am using my old "Maundering" blogsite. This is because I have, for some reason or other, lost the ability to actually write a new blog on that site. Google really didn't want me to write a purely bus-oriented blog. If you're new to the "Maundering" site, feel free to browse a few of the old offrerings. You may - or may not - be amused at the rantings of a middle-aged left wing liberal pinko etc.

LISTENING TO: Robert Plant, "Band of Joy". Very groove and cooly.

READING: Still working on "The Hunger Games". And loving it. Am shortly going to start "The Devil All The Time" which has been recommended by the ever-reliable Gillian in a Million.

WATCHING: Saw the new "Sherlock" programme last night. Very brilliant.


  1. Congratulations to the fully licenced bus driver. Looking forward to the day when he
    drives 'my' bus. Shona

  2. Yo 'bro! Well done on achieving the licenced abilty to drive a vehicle that weighs about 170 times more that you (and I!) do. And I'm in two unions...go figure. Keep away from the overbouts, (round thing in the middle of intersections that are easier to drive over than around). And happy 60th anniversary of your born date on the 17th. Jeff