OPINIONS and Q UERIES
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THE RETURNING HAULIER MUST BE ACCOMMODATED
YOUR leading article in your issue dated December 10, re a Southend operator being refused reinstatement in his old position in the haulage business, shows exactly what is going to happen after the war with regard to returning soldiers and re-employment.
The English are marvellous at patriotic speech making and promises while their businesses are at stake or their money liable to loss. When the risk has been avoided by the hardship, suffering or death of their defenders, then there is no more need to worry. The public will cheer the returning hero for the firSt 24 hours, then he can go on the dole and be forgotten, and if be has been so' unfortunate as to be seriouslY injured or lfis health permanently affected, charity must come to his aid to keep him alive.
Haulage associations, their members and all associated with road haulage, should makeit their business to ensure that every man who was connected with haulage before joining up should return to his old position, or a better one if possible. Many operators have added to their fleets vehicles on 'permit over their pre-war status, thus bringing about what the R.T.C..states to " safficient_veliicles for the needs of the area and it should be enforced that these operators should give up one or more of their gains in added vehicles to enable the returning man, if he so desires and is eligible, to take up' his old position. L. M. CALLYER. Bognor Regis.
CAN TRANSHIPMENT OF BRICKS BE SPEEDED UP?
DO'the people who draft the offiCial "Quick Turnround" announcements possess sufficient data or practical experience? Sometimes I wonder, too, if these notifications are really effective. Personally, I have yet to find a driver who is not anxious to obtain a quick turnround with his wagon and who does not do all in his power, by action and, sometimes, language, to obtain it.
However, what I am most concerned with is the handling and transport of bricks. With other drivers I have to tranship loads of these from railway trucks to Our wagons, take them to building sites, deliver them and return as expeditiously as possible to obtain more.
We have a number of A.E.C. " Monarch " vehicles, each of which takes from 3,500 to 3,600 bricks, which means the complete load of a railway truck. At the time of writing, we have no extra men to help. Occasionally, we are able to work from an open truck, which does assint considerably, when one man has to deal with the bricks on his own, but, more often than not, those we have to cope with are intended for the conveyance of coal. They have only small doors in the sides and are termed " Duck-unders " or "Hog Sties," One cannot crawl into or out of these while carrying bricks, so that at least two drivers must do the work, which means that two wagons must be loaded before one can proceed.
Bricks do not handle like bags of flour, which have an average weight of 10 stone. A " Monarch " will take aboid 128 of Such bags, and the loading does not occupy much-MOre:than 30 mimiltes, or even less when sack bafrows are used by two men; one in the truck and the other in the wagon, the hag, being tossed acrossfrom-the barrows.
Handling bricks, hoNs ever, is 1nuch more tedious. Th, 'aterage' I:lumber which ca:i be dealt with at a time is ,ix
or seven, and a man loading may have to deal with 1,280.stone. A good gang of four men can load up a "Monarch" out of a "Duck-under" in 30 minutes, but that means extremely hard work. .Two men can easily be almost overcome by the drudgery of the job, and the weather may be heavy or bitingly cold, all of • which affect the rapidity of the work.
One "Monarch" takes two men two and a half hours to load up from such a truck as that described, and having finished with the one vehicle they have to start immediately on the next, often in places Where it is not possible to obtain refreshment, even .a.cup of tea or a bun. Therefore, the SeCond vehicle takes even longer _to load.
Then, quite often, a shunter will come along and take the whole line of trucks, with the one which is being worked upon, and play about with them for a considerable time sometimes for 45 minutes or so. When they are returned, the remaining bricks have often _been shifted all over the truck and are still more difficult to handle.
• I have often wondered why a way of baling bricks into 1-cwt. lots has not been attempted,_ for it would help greatly in this transhipping business." Perhaps the trouble is. shortage of material or, possibly, consideration of the handling while unloading at the sites, which are often aerodromes. There, the drivers must report to-the checkers., and if one of the former expresses concern at the time taken and suggests that he wbuld like an extra-fast unloading, the checkers have a 'knack of sending him to the -worst job:
Unloading gangs are usually Irishmen and have a slower way of working than the English. There is usually a gang of six; three take off from the sides and toss the bricks to the other three, who stack them; often the driver will help in order to get the task done quickly_ wish some of the "Quick Turnround " people would come out and see the procedure for themselves and even have a go at obtaining what they want.
Cranfield. A. J. PARRIS.
AN APPRECIATION OF THIS JOURNAL FROM THE M.E.F.
HAVING been an ardent reader of "The Commercial Motor" since 1935, and ,still being so when I can obtain copies of the journal, I am taking this opportunity of communicating to you my appreciation of the very instructive and illuminating articIes which are published in it.
However, to come to the main point of this letter; in
one of your August. numbers I 'read with interest of your proposed League of Servicemen. I, personally, think this a very sound idea, both ideologically and practically. As a result of the Government's policyof "bide a weeregarding.. demobilization, also its uneertain post-war plans for the road-transport industry, it is, of course, difficult to make really concrete proposals.
It appears to me, judging from all reports, that the present Government-run haulage industry is facing.
eventual ruin, which, in the case of the small man, will dot take long to arrive. State-controlled industry, at least as regards all the major industries, is the Utopian dr(arn of the true.socialist.. .Looking at the problem of the State control „Of road transpoi't from 'a completely unbiased viewpoint, :1 might appear a sound policy. Theoretically; the lot . of the ertiployee niight.. be improved, whilst the " emproyer " would, possibly, be assured of an adequate " wage " for his special knowledge, but, apparently, in present-day practice, things do not always work out according to plan.
I definitely think that if absolute assurance of adequate financial remuneration for services rendered in the event of State control be nat given by the Government, the whole industry—manufacturers, operators and those engaged in repair work—should get together and oppose any move of this nature, hut to do this, it is essential that the various sections should collaborate now.
So far as I, personally, am concerned, I shall be quite prepared to start again behind the wheel, as it is an excellent way of broadcasting one's views as a result of the contacts that can be made.
M.E.F. A/C1 W. ,L. LINNETT, R.A.F.
WHY NOT FIX STARTING HANDLES?
I F, as a resifit of your "Let the Operator Advise the Maker" correspondence, an Institute or other AsSociation be set up, I beg you to ask the "Advisers to try to persuade the manufacturers of some Of our cheaper vehicles to fit permanent starting handles.
Drivers -are -riot encouraged :to save batteries, starter contacts, dynamos and starters by having to jeopardize "
their arms and lyrists, apart from the inconvenience of trying to align starting handle and Shaft, particularly in the dark. It would be interesting to know how many casualties there have been, and how ninny damaged radiators from this cause.
No doubt there are others who recognize the considerable disadvantages of this detail, but what are the advantages? L. DANCE. Cheltenham.
TRIBULATIONS OF THE HIRED ..OPERATOR
FOLLOWING repeated expressions by hired operators that they were running "at Considerable financial loss under the M.O.W.T. •Road Haulage Organization, I called a private meeting-. of.Leicestershire hired operators on December 13, 1943.. A large number attended (in respt1nse to a Press notice), representing the majority of vehicles hired from these hauliers: They expressed the utmost concern at the' 'losses now being incurred by them. Apprehension was felt as to how long they could remain in buSiness, and it was pOihted out that by loyally placing' their machines in the Ministry Scheme they were in a far worse position than the Controlled Undertakings, which, although also operating on behalf of the Ministry, had an arrangement which enabled them
to remain in business.
It is obvious to all clear thinkers that the hired terms
were devised for far different conditions than now appertain. If the idealistic vision has become sorriewhat blurred, why not. change the spectacles for another pair not possessing the same .rosy tint? It was suggested that the hire terms were calculated on the assumption that the -vehicles would be little used, and that the present •intensive use of the vehicles, including the :phenomenal empty mileage not previously .occurring under private operation, 'when More traffic per hour per vehicle was moved, indicated that the rates were largely absorbed by depreciation, especially in the case of new vehicles. Overhead expenses still remained at a boasiderable ,figure, and had to be met by the operators themselves. -was stronglyemphasized that, the lower quality Mid, mileage of the war-time tyres now available "caiild not have been Visuallie.d at the time the figures were compiled.
As operators of some SOO vehicles were present with such opinions, it was evident that compilation of detailed operating figures under the Ministry Scheme did not present great difficulty, and that firm and . collective action was needed. From the Trade press complaints appearing each week it was evident that local support is available throughout the country, and it is necessary only to weld this into a co-ordinated national body.
At this stage a strong plea was made for operators to support their respective associations, although alternative opinions held that, owing to lack of association co-ordination in the past, they could not entirely escape censure:
, Finally, after discussion on this point, a unanimous resolutionwas passed, calling upon A.R.O., the H.M.F. and the Leicester and District Transport Association to which those attending were affiliated, requesting a combined meeting of all members in this area with all possible speed. It is intended to discuss at this meeting the shortcomings of the Road Haulage Organization, which were, after all, apparent to the industry prior to the introduction of the scheme, with a view to determining what combined. steps can bes taken constitutionally by hired operators ta secure remedial action.
Judging from the excellent co-operation, accord and determination of the Leicestershire hauliers, I would urge interested operators in other areas to call similar meetings, remembering the phrase "United We Stand." There are, apparently, some 29.,000 vehicles now enrolled and if sufficiently united the operators can and will call the tune. No mole financial loss should fall on hired operators than on those controlled, for there is no real difference; both supply similar vehicles, whilst the conditions of employment and facilities are identical.
Hinckley. J. H. FRANKS, For E. E. Bee, Ltd.
ADDING OIL TO LEADED FUEL DOES HELP
MAY I congratulate you on the leader in your issue for December 17? As the owner of a large transport filling station, I can confirm the immense amount of damage to' valves, etc., apparently caused by M.T.89 spirit. Practically every day I have commercial vehicles with valve trouble on my station, and even motorcycles do not appear to be immune from the trouble.
With regard to the letter from Mr. J. B. Walton, of S.P.D., Ltd-, in the same issue, I can assure him that oil, added to the leaded fuel is giving trucks longer periods of service between one set of valves and the next. Some drivers use ordinary U.C.L. oils, others U.C.L. with graphite, and many use ordinary engine oil. All these are successful in prolonging, at least, the time before valve burning becomes apparent.
Regarding ,Mr. Walton's first question. In pre-war days we stocked simultaneously the three better-known brands of -leaded petrol, and odd complaints of valve burning were actually received from car owners. Several of these complaints were passed on to one of the petrol suppliers concerned, who assured us that the leaded petrol could not possibly be the cause! '
[The above experience is interesting in that, following extensive investigations carried out in this country by Mr. Gay, an American engineer, it was found that oi: additives had no mhterial lsencial effect.—En.1