Paper Round

Got back from work on Friday and soon after the mobile went off. What are you up to this afternoon was the question from the agency. As nothing except shopping was planned I asked why, how would you fancy a trip down to Brighton. OK says I, so off I went armed with the details of the client and I dully collected a DAF CF, Auto.

Fully laden with photocopy paper, all in all 23 pallets of the stuff. On the trip down to Brighton the lorry handled like a flying brick and as I wasn't that surprised considering what I was carrying. A rough guess about 10T+ in weight.

Arrived in Brighton and had to find the place to drop off the goods, and found an interesting thing. When I entered the yard to get into the loading bay I had to go up hill and the lorry dully died on me. It would not go up this incline in normal gears so I had to revert to the 'crawl' gear.

Off loaded and set of home but as it was Friday I expected a solid jam on the M23 & M25, but guess what the M23 was clear and unfortunately most of the M25 wasn't. Crawling along to J11 I left that wonderful piece of roadway and headed of to Woking. Lorry in the yard, time sheet signed it was time to go home and enjoy a well earned beer.


The Great Pay Rate (Swindle)

Had a look at a few sites today and I have to admit that I'm shocked at the advertised rates. For Class1 they go as low as £7.50ph, averaging £9.00ph. Who is pocketing the remainder or have the rates really come down that much in this recession. I would tend to believe that the agency is slashing what it pays to the driver and are calling drivers offering these low rates to see who will actually go and work for them. Surely driving a vehicle weighing up to 44T is worth more than £7.50ph.

PS - Had a chat with another local agency and when asked about pay rates I was informed that 'our Class1 drivers are on £10ph', so the question of pittance pay by other agency's is still valid. Surely they are not helping themselves by offering such low rates of pay. Theoretically speaking if you offer low pay the quality of the worker might/will suffer.


Assessment - Part 2

Didn't materialise, the agency didn't call me with the details by the given time and so far not a squeak out of the agency. I emailed them asking if I might get paid for the first assessment but still no reply on that question either.


Phantom Jobs

Here is a question that might never be answered. As I've signed up to several 'jobs by email' boards I knew that there might be the odd duplicate but this is ridiculous. I keep getting the same jobs from all sites and in particular the jobs at Heathrow for 'Temp LGV1 Night Driver, LGV2 Multidrop Driver'. This has been going round for almost 6 weeks. Surely if they were genuine they would have been filled by now as the text in the advert is the same as the previous one. The agency informs the prospective candidate that 'if you don't hear from us you have been unsuccessful'. I wonder how many applicants(me included) have ever received a reply, I for one haven't. This is blatant lying and hoping to get as many drivers to reply to get them on their books without actually having a job to fill.

Another agency that I applied to asked me for my CV and contact number and since then nothing.

I honestly think that its about time that we in the driving industry started to Name & Shame these agency's, who seem to offer non existent jobs.


Assessment - The Result

Unfortunately a failure. Informed by the agency that at this time my reversing was a bit rusty and not knowing the gears let me down. For someone who hasn't driven that type of a lorry before with that gear split I don't think that I did that bad. However the client was otherwise impressed and would like to have me back when I can get my head round the reversing syndrome. Overall I must admit that I would be pushed to accept a job at around £3ph less than what I'm getting now.

Onward and upward to the next assessment on Monday, lets hope its not a Volvo.


Assessment - Part 1

Finished the assessment, will know either tomorrow or later on today how I did. I don't think that I did badly apart from trying to get round that d##n gearbox and slight bounce off the kerb while looking at the gear lever.

Drove a Volvo FM Euro5 and apart from the gears its a good lorry to drive, very comfortable and the cab and dashboard layout is well positioned. Again a first time with a rear steer wheels, sure made the trailer come round the corners fast.

As we left the paved track and turned on to one of the main road the evaluator took me round and round some roundabouts and than down some smaller streets. Then he took me to one of the sites that they collect from and believe you me the flies were wearing gas masks. But to get into this place I had to negotiate a very sharp and tight right turn over a small bridge covering a drainage ditch. That negotiated safely and driven into the facility I then had to do a blind side reverse into the hook up point.

That would have been completed in 2 shunts but as I didn't get the trailer close to the wall and couldn't swing the tractor unit out as a small building was in the way I had to do a few more shunts. Once in place we went back out again and getting out was even more fun. As the so called road leading to this facility is narrow and there being huge trees either side I had to drive almost to the hedge and then a hard left and watch that trailer. No scrapes and dents and back to the depot.

Reverse in and that was it.


OMG there is life

Had 2 calls today about some Class1 work. Both are very tempting but one stands out much more, it is much closer to me and seems to offer more variety. The other one being 1 hour away and only paying £9ph Mon-Fri with possible £12ph Sat-Sun still seems to be slightly out of reach and pocket. As I would have to leave my present employer for one of these jobs I have to weigh up my options very carefully. Tomorrow is the assessment day for one of them. Fingers crossed.


Here's food for thought. Applied for a Class1 job a few days ago via a web site newsletter. Today the recruiter called me and told me this. They are recruiting for a National Royal Mail contract and need drivers but as I'm already employed they couldn't second employ me so I would have to leave my present job and be employed by them. Only problem is that their contract is a 0 hour contract. You don't work you don't get paid. She also mentioned that they have more jobs than drivers so why she couldn't offer me an ad hoc job I don't know, but that is their policy.

She was quite happy to place me as a Class2 but as the pay is way below what I'm getting now it doesn't make sense to me to do this. They pay £8ph for day hours and £12ph night hours.

Seems to me that someone is either making a hell of a packet or the rates have seriously come down from last year as I was getting £9ph for Class2 work.

I've signed up to a few 'jobs by email' boards and lately they all seem to be chasing the same jobs over and over again. The Night Driver @ Heathrow has been making its rounds for almost a month and with different agencies, can't believe it hasn't been filled yet. This after some thought had me thinking that it could be s 'ghost' job.

We all or most of us use agencies at some time or other but trying to get a Class1 job they want to cross reference you either with the place that you worked or the agency that you worked for. The agency I'm happy to give them the name but the client's name is a nono as they would try to get themselves in there.


Almost but Not Quite

Had a call this morning from an Agency regarding some Class2 work and that is where it ended, no call back with details as to where to go. Called another Agency to whom I sent a reply for an advert for Class1 drivers and a very strange conversation took place between them and me. They received the application but as Monday is a Pay day they are busy doing that, surely a candidate is worth talking to a bit more than just a cursory answer. I understand that people have to be paid but if you have an advert running and people are responding to them wouldn't be prudent to allocate at least one person to deal with them. I was informed that they will be in touch in a few days.


Phones Ringing, But

Had a few calls from agencies but nothing concrete. I wonder if and how many jobs that they call with are genuine these days as the phrase 'You'll get a call tomorrow with details of work for next week' is starting to ring a bit hollow. I recon the usual knocking on doors will have to be reverted to.


All Quiet..........................

Well it's been very quiet so far, had one text about a possible position and just have to wait to see if I make the initial selection. Now this job would be great as its one of the hardest places to get into and the employer is willing to provide training. Here's hoping that it turns out well.


Hourly Pay

Had a trawl through a few agency's looking at what's available and it seems that slim pickings are on the cards. One major thing that surprised me (or not) is how much the agency is willing to pay the driver. Last year I was earning £9.00ph for Class2 work and now that is the hourly wage for Class1. As there are few jobs about I suppose any wage is better than none but such low hourly rate can only lead to the driver getting disheartened and thinking how much work he's putting in driving a large and expensive vehicle and the amount that he/she will be taking home at the end of the week. Lets hope that things really do improve and it happens soon.................


Are they or Aren't they

Are things slowly improving in the job market or am I hoping for too much. Had 3 calls from agency's to see if I was available for work, so I took the first one and hatefully had to turn down the others. Hate turning down work but can't drive 3 lorries at the same time. Also as I'm working full time I can't do too much as I don't want to infringe on my drivers hours and get into trouble with my current employer.


A few more calls

Had two more calls regarding some work, one was for Class2 and the other for Class1. Unfortunately as they were on Sunday and my weekly hours were almost maxed out I had to make a sad decision to turn both down. Would have preferred to take the Class1 but can't afford to go over my hours and not be able to perform my regular driving duties.