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Removers Blamed for Lack of Skilled Labour

19th October 1956
Page 61
Page 61, 19th October 1956 — Removers Blamed for Lack of Skilled Labour
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Keywords : Packaging, Pallet, G

By Alan Smith, F.R.S.A.

N0 punches were pulled by speakers. at the autumn conference of the National Association of Furniture Warehousemen arid Removers in London last week, and the discussion was livelier than at any N.A.F.W.R. conference for several years. About 80 delegates attended. Mr. R. T. Lomath. who for some years has worked hard to promote the educational activities of the Institute of the Furniture Warehousing and Removing Industry, began the session by complaining strongly about lack of recog nition and support for them. The Institute, which was highly skilled and efficient, he claimed, received little credit for its enterprise and achievement. He believed that the •efforts of a few were negatived by the apathy and failure of the many. because the trade was not yet fully alive to the imperative need for education in removals. The Institute had 700 members, whereas 1.100 operators belonged to the Association. This was not good enough, said Mr. Lomath. It was useless for managements to complain that they could not find good staff if they failed to support a scheme designed to produce the right men.

Mr. W. lsard. president. endorsed Mr. Lomath's remarks, but said that for some time the view would prevail that it was useless to employ trained, skilled estimators when competition was forthcoming from cut-price operators. The president nevertheless felt that it was important for members to progress along the lines laid down by the Institute. The more trained young estimators there were, the more operators there would be working at economic rates.'

Advertising Ban Attacked

NAL L. G. BOSLEY attacked the by law in the N.A.F.W.R. constitution prohibiting members from advertising the availability of vans travelling between specified districts, or publishing announcements implying that return loads could be arranged at reduced prices. The object of this rule was to help maintain an economic level of prices, but, said Mr. Bosley, nonmembers not restricted by it were gaining the major part of available business.

The by-law discouraged non-members from joining the Association. Many had built up their business by advertising in a manner barred to members. If the N.A.F.W.R. wanted more good-class removers in its ranks, its house had to be put in order.

Mr. R. Saunders supported NI, Bosley. In. his locality—Bournemouth —members were outnumbered by nonmembers by two to one and were "hamstrung" by the by-law. Business was being given away to non-members because of the Association's "archaic outlook:: He admitted that many long teturn journeys were being. run empty and that service Might deteriorate. If the by-law were not changed, his company would have to consider resigning from N.A.F.W.R.

Discussion on these speakers' comments turned Mainly on the ethics of low-cost return loads rather than the effects of the by-law complained of. Cheap return running was deplored by most speakers and in their Minds the by-law was an antidote to it.

Mr. F. W. H. Winwood, Mr. A. G. Coombe and Mr. D. Pearce reflected the majority opinion that the rule should remain unchanged, whilst Mr. G. McIntosh thought that an alteration would be the beginning of a rot setting in. In time, removers would be expected to offer customers credit facilities.

Mr. lsard asked Mr. Saunders fully

to consider the • advantages of N.A.F.W.R. membership before contemplating resignation.

Inferiority Complex Continues

FROM certain delegates' remarks jt was apparent that some comments made at an earlier conference by Mr, R. Morton Mitchell, chief -executive officer of the Road Haulage Association, which were construed at the time as meaning that he regarded the N.A.F.W.R. a functional group within the R.H.A. with a large degree of autonomy," still rankle. Nevertheless, at the luncheon, Mr. R: G. Crowther, national chairman of the R.H.A., said that he looked forward to a continuation of happy relations with the N.A.F.W.R. Both organizations could now settle down to study pressing technical problems.

The standard conditions of carriage of the N.A.F.W.R., which made life so much easier for members, were the envy of hauliers, said Mr. Crowther. This observation was greeted with laughter. Mr. lsard said that the agreement between the two Associations, signed 10 years ago had stood the test of time

Another guest at the luncheon was Brig. R. J. 0. Dowse. Metropolitan Licensing Authority, who carried on an earnest discussion on licensing problems with Mr. E. J. Eltoway, senior v


Mr. Morton Mitchell also attended the luncheon. From inquiries, I formed the view that at top level there was no lack of confidence or respect between the two Associations, and that any feeling of having been gratuitously insulted lingers only in a few disputatious hearts of the rank and file.

Equipment Out of Date

rONTINVING the challenging note

of speakers, Mr. W. Sampson contested statements by older members of the Association that little could be done in the trade to mechanize and increase output per man-hour. Present equipment was completely out of date, he said.

Removals into store were more costly

than house-to-house removals. Bulkhandling methodscould easily be applied to removals into store to reduce expense. Pallet storage was the-answer. Furniture could be loaded into box pallets measuring 6 ft. 6 in. by 4 ft. 3 in. by 7 ft, 6 in. and four such pallets, each of 200 cu. ft., could he carried in a 1.200-cu.-ft. van.

Mr. Sampson demonstrated a model pallet which could be collapsed for transport and assembled for loading. Fork-lift trucks would be needed for unloading at warehouses. A Toronto warehouse which employed such methods cut warehouse labour costs by half, he stated.

. Questions asked of Mr. Sampson were largely a play-back of those that arose in other industries when mechanical handling was in its infancy in this country. Delegates wondered about which size of pallet would have the greatest use, whether warehouse space would be wasted and how long pallets would last before needing replacement.

Mr. Sampson admitted that there were many difficulties and welcomed suggestions for overcoming them. If special vehicles were built for new methods. pallets could be made 9 ft. high. With pallets of this size, about 10 per cent. of warehouse space would be lost. he said, compared with present methods.

Subscription to be Raised

THERE was a lengthy discussion' an a domestic matter concerning a proposal. that the headquarters. of the Association should pay all the licensing costs of areas insteadof only half, and contribute to areas .71 per cent, of their other expenses. Although many delegates thought that the -loss ol' local financial control might lead to waste of funds and forfeiture of areas' individuality, the •proposal was passed. Hard on its heels came a motion that members' annual subscription be raised. Mr. Winwood and Mr. H. F. Marks, junior vice-president, catalogued the various higher costs that had to be met, and the proposal was voted through Without dissent.

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