Heavy goods vehicle test failures
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I read that the Scottish CMU are to ask Barbara Castle for a special meeting as they are worried by the high rate of failures at the hgv tests. To meet with this astounding suggested action, I feel the record should be put straight.
Since the end of the war, the unions have pestered every Minister of Transport to give us a hgv licence system for many reasons, and one was so that the industry could rid itself of incompetents and dangerous "cowboys", to the benefit of the skilled haulage driver. Among the unions, the SCMU was well to the front and since Alex Kitson became general secretary, no union official has spent more time with Barbara Castle. The unions have been consulted at every step in the arrangements, and, along with the other unions, the SCMU have a place on the RTITB, and therefore must have been aware of the test standards required, in fact, have agreed to them. How low would the union wish to bring down the test—so that it is a mere formality and therefore not required? What stupid nonsense.
There is nothing in the test that any self-respecting driver should be concerned about and I would suggest that the union should inquire into the reason'for the failures. Also, could I take the liberty of essaying an opinion on what they will discover?
They will, in my view, find that the present standard of driving is pathetic in many cases—elementary, basic fundamentals are either not known or it is not considered important to carry them out.
This, plus the ego of a lot of drivers who "know it all" and go to the test with a conceited attitude, is the main reason for failure, and I suggest that the general secretary should cancel his trip to London on this issue and spend the money on a supply of Highway Codes, and then inquire how many' of his members wish to study this excellent publication. In addition, he should inquire how many have ever opened one, never mind studied it and he will find that 99 per cent or more have never bothered, plus the fact he will find exactly the same position in connection with the free issue of the booklets on the "Driving Test and hgv licensing".
There is also some muddled thinking if the report. that many are failing for medical reasons is true, as it is not, so far as I am aware, a condition of the test that a Medical certificate is necessary. As I interpret it, the certificate, is only required after the test and when applying for the licence on a pass certificate.
Finally, if we are ever to gain and maintain a system of remuneration above the present semi-skilled level, surely the major step is to establish skill to meet with this position and qualify for a salary structure based on competence. This is my idea of the aim of trade unionism, not pandering to the incompetent.
JACK WOOD, 6/27 Branch member—TGWU, Manchester.