CM FLEET MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
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A testing time for transport management
Report and pictures by CM staff • Will productivity become a dirty word, and deals illegal?
• Drivers want—and are getting— more say in vehicles and operating methods.
• New pollution rules may be on the way—and specified truck routes.
• Tachographs linked to EDP as a pay basis?
• Cost-per-driver will be £1200 a year by 1980 if inflation continues.
A CAPACITY audience at CM'S eighth Fleet Management Conference, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. London, on Thursday of last week, heard Mr John Peyton, the Minister for Transport Industries, hint, promise and plead on matters affecting transport management. The 500 delegates learned that in the near future the Minister would be making an announcement on the question of noise and pollution but he gave no details of what he had in mind.
Mr Peyton gave a broad hint that before further legislation was introduced there would be detailed consultation with the road transport industry. "What I am sure we require is a road transport policy," he said, "not a hotchpotch of aggressive, irrelevant measures adopted on the spur of the moment in the face of unbearable traffic pressures." The Minister was referring to road congestion and said that the provision of suitable roads to accommodate heavy goods vehicles would be high on the priority list. Consideration had to be given to the confinement of heavy goods vehicles to specified routes.
"Congestion does not help anyone and places an intolerable inhibition on both commercial and industrial efficiency", he said. He promised that the roads programme would ensure adequate access to ports by the mid-'70s.
He reiterated the Government's intention to establish proper parking places for vehicles which would ensure the security of their loads. "Rather than leave them lying about in the streets", he added. And Government and industry had to maintain a proper momentum towards stricter standards on noise, vibration, smoke and safety.
Referring to safety the Minister said; "In this room there are people who have the most profound influence on the climate and condition of our roads". He pointed out that it was the fleet managers' responsibility to ensure that vehicles and their loads were safe and suggested that they could make an enormous contribution to safety by ensuring that drivers were skilled and well trained.
"You can also ensure that a driver, where speed and safety are in conflict, resolves the conflict on the side of safety." He followed this up with a plea. "I would ask your help to remove from the roads the terrible scourge of casualties, many of them avoidable, some of them caused by lack of attention but others through sheer wickedness. I would earnestly seek your help in reducing what only can be described as an affront to any civilized society."
Earlier Mr Peyton had said that he sympathized with those who found difficulty in understanding legislation, which was often couched in terms which did not yield up its meaning easily even to the most
diligent of seekers. "However, it is your duty to understand this mass of law and to translate it into words which other people can understand. You also have a duty to maintain, marshal, man and move vehicles so as to provide an effective and efficient -service, which I take this opportunity to say is vital to our country's economic welfare."
Power and performance
Rolls-Royce has engine designs ready for 8 or 10 bhp /ton power-to-weight ratios, and for vehicle weights well above the present limits. This was one of the points stressed by Mr R. H. Whiteside, director and chief engineer of Rolls-Royce Motors Diesel Division, when he made the first presentation of the day; it was built around his written paper (CM last week).
He dwelt mainly on vehicle emissions and possible legislation and said that the USA and much of the rest of the world was being subjected to restrictive legislation to cope with conditions—such as photo-chemical smog caused by the action of sunlight on certain emissions—which were peculiar to Los Angeles. He doubted that Europe would ever suffer from a similar problem. A more sensible solution would be to restrict vehicle types in the peak problem areas, such as Los Angeles.
Unless emission research costs could be recouped by extra sales in North America, which he thought most unlikely, the money would be better spent in some other field say fuel economy to benefit the operator. Mr Whiteside defended the diesel as a very clean engine—it emitted, for example, only one-tenth the volume of pollutants of a comparable sized petrol engine. But if really stringent new emission controls were imposed, especially on oxides of nitrogen, then diesel design could be affected. One simple remedy would be to recycle the crankcase breather fumes into the induction, but other ways of making the clean diesel cleaner included water injection, retarding the timing, turbocharging and indirect injection—though they would bring new problems and a more expensive engine.
Mr Whiteside speculated that very stringent emission controls could bring a new popularity for the indirect-injection diesel, but it would be less economical to run. It was important, he felt, that legislation was broad and not restrictive in a way which resulted in highly tuned, sensitive engines that were expensive to maintain.
Opening the discussion, Mr Vulfiamy of Perkins challenged an assertion in Mr Whiteside's paper that the turbocharged engine was a low-cost solution; he thought that turbocharging could add to expense and had mainly been adopted to plug a power gap in engine ranges. Mr Whiteside agreed that looked at in this way it could seem an added cost: he had been referring to larger engines in particular, and his point had been that if he was starting from scratch to design a diesel for a particular power, he would design for turbocharging as an economical way of doing it.
Mr Vulliamy supported the speaker's conclusions about small bores for quietness, saying that engine noise increased by three times for a bore increase of 25 per cent, while it increased only If times for a 25 per cent rpm increase.
Mr Woodward of Plessey, in a rousing contribution, wanted to know how long it was going to be before manufacturers and operator representatives presented a united front in challenging Government proposals and in pressing for the bigger, more powerful vehicles that today's economy demanded.
In reply, Mr Whiteside admitted that manufacturers did not speak with one voice—understandably, since they had different interests. For example, his company was well advanced with big diesels, and would be pleased to see a fairly rapid increase to 8 and 10 bhp /ton but companies not in that position might not share their views.
The speaker added that higher powers did not necessarily mean greatly increased cost and fuel consumption; one could almost have the best of both worlds by using an effective fuel-pump road speed governor that allowed use of full power for hill-climbing and overtaking but put a limit on top-gear speeds.
Mr J. W. Furness, assistant chief engineer, DoE, said he had never heard of recycling fumes from the crankcase breather on a diesel; Mr Whiteside agreed that it was not a current practice but saw it as a cheap and easy way of cutting such emissions.
Mr D. W. Freeman of Tizer Ltd wondered whether Rolls would have engines ready if, say, 8 bhp per ton were to become law in 12 months' or two years' time. Mr Whiteside replied that his company would be delighted if this happened; they had been planning for five years for ratios of 8 and 10 bhp/ton for trucks up to 44 tons. The present Eagle diesel was available in four powers from 210 to just over 300 bhp, all conforming to BS AU141 and if there was a sudden need for, say, 340 bhp, an engine could soon be made available.
Put to the test For over 40 years CM has been publishing regular road test reports on British and Continental commereial vehicles, and today uses a variety of routes and methods to simulate actual operation. For goods vehicles of 16 tons gvw and upwards a 700-mile route from Hemel Hempstead to Edinburgh and back is followed, as well as performance testing at MIRA, and delegates were shown a 20-minute colour slide presentation of just what such a test entails. Made by CM's associated IPC company. Audiovisual Productions Ltd, it featured a new technique in which a sound track is linked to twin projectors to give virtually a film effect.
Following this presentation the audience was invited to tell a three-man panel what they would like to see in CM'S and the industry's vehicle testing. For the panel, Mr Whiteside was joined by CM technical editor Gibb —.Grace and the Freight Transport Association's chief engineer, Tony Wilding—former CM tech ed.
Mr J. R. Burrill of Sainsbury's opened the batting by asking whether the panel thought transmissions were keeping pace with power units. Gibb Grace felt that for some time engine development had outpaced that of gearboxes and also possibly driving axles. The USA had had excellent multi-ratio gearboxes for years, but now British manufacturers were producing more suitable units—"bigger and beefier jobs, both splitter and rangechange". His panel colleagues concurred.
Mr Burrill also wanted to know whether the opinions expressed in a road test report in the journal were coloured in any way because of advertising considerations. Mr Grace strenuously denied any such suggestion; he agreed that vehicles offered for road test were prepared by the manufacturer in the same way as a predelivery check would be carried out for a customer, but pointed out that they were not specially "doctored".
"We report the facts," he said, "if there is a breakage or a failure it is reported and the reasons are given. Manufacturers do not see the report in advance," he stressed.
Mr D. R. Baker, of Tesco Stores (Holding) paid tribute to the quality of Commercial Motor's test reports but was concerned that they were not extended to cover a period of months. "Perhaps manufacturers are too shy or too poor to let you have vehicles over an extended period," he suggested. He pointed to the lack of suitable operational trial reports on vehicles on urban distribution work, as undertaken by his own company for example. He asked that consideration be given to this kind of test in the future. He further suggested that test-figure comparison tables between similar vehicles should appear side by side.
Mr Wilding pointed out some of the difficulties of testing distribution vehicles realistically under actual working conditions and said that it had also been difficult to get such vehicles for test.
Referring to the comparison tables Mr
Wilding reminded the delegates that it had been practice for CM to do this annually and had done so this year on May 7 under the heading "A tester's twelvemonth".
Mr G. P. Dupree, for Lucas-Kienzle Instruments, asked if it would help the testers if manufacturers fitted tachographs to heavy test vehicles, as Ford Motor Company was now doing. Mr Grace agreed that the instruments could prove useful, particularly in relating gradients to speed and gear ratios. Mr Wilding said that their principal use in his opinion was in showing that neither speed nor hours regulations had been infringed on the test. He had used a tachograph for this purpose.
During the slide presentation, which showed BRSL's prototype Scammell Crusader, a high-pitched whistle had been evident .at over 50 mph and the commentator had said that this appeared to come from the externally mounted radiator shutter. Mr R. Carter, of Kysor Industrial, took the opportunity to tell the delegates that the whine was not typical of radiator shutters.
Mr C. Essex, transport manager of Baxter (Butchers) said that road test reports made good reading and were useful for making comparisons "but we are the ultimate testers," he said. What Mr Essex wanted was a vehicle tested in operating conditions over an extended period by operators. with CM publishing the operator's findings at the end of the test.
Mr Grace said that CM had considered this type of testing for some time but that record keeping, standards of maintenance and driving presented problems if accurate, controlled results were to be achieved. He agreed that there was a need to present the operator's thoughts on a vehicle which had been in service for some time and that these thoughts should be supported by figures produced by the operator. Mr Wilding said he had long opposed such a method of producing test reports since there were too many variables between operators, thus making fair comparison impossible.
Winding up this session, CM editor Brian Cottee said that a principal reason for the reluctance to embark on extended testing,
through operators, had been that an important part of the testing passed out of CM's hands. But the session had shown the strength of interest in such a development and it would be given careful consideration. He hoped that, if something on these lines were adopted, operators would give their co-operation.
Budgetary control Introducing his paper on practical budgetary control (CM last week) Mr R. H. Grimsley stressed that budgets alone solved no business problems: what counted was managerial action based on budgetary indications. A minority of managers, he thought, practised budgetary control techniques gladly, and profited from doing so. Many more managers felt their staff would not be up to the work, or that budgetary control systems were too complicated to be of much use.
In fact, said the speaker, a few simple figures and targets were all that was needed. The preparation of involved budgets, whose results were only available 10 weeks after the event, was useless. Approximate figures accurate enough to form an effective guide to action, and in which depot stafft participated, could greatly improve profitability. Firms undertaking budgetary control systems should be prepared to be guided by the results over a sustained period. It was no use dabbling with the system for a month or two and then losing interest. The staff responsible for preparing budgets would soon lose interest il management ignored their work.
Mr Grimsley suggested that a roac transport fleet which achieved 240 working days out of 365 was doing well. A managei who budgeted for 250 working days bu. only achieved 200 would find his results al haywire.
Mr R. Cull (James Duke and Son) askec Mr Grimsley if he saw advantage in th( measurement of own-account costs as wel as those involved in hired transport. The apparently higher costs of using owr vehicles could still be justified by the increased efficiency in distribution work.
Mr Grimsley said firms were quite righ to measure their own-account fleet cost! closely and compare them with hirec transport costs. The comparisons could no be exclusively in money terms—it migh help to record numbers of deliveries mad■ and weights of goods delivered. Al own-account operators today needed te consider carefully the service standard provided; a too-high standard could hi prohibitively expensive.
Mr F. M. Fieldhouse (British Ropes asked how a budget could be prepared fo the use and replacement of tyres on at annual basis.
Mr Grimsley said tyre costs should b kept as a matter of course, related ti mileage achieved. Each tyre-using sector e a business could then know its tyre costs, a least in average terms, for a year. Tyr expenditure should be spread out—it wa absurd to put tyre costs against a singl month's trading figures. Transpot managers should use established averag tyre costs and check them regularly again budgeted figures. This would enable tyre costs per mile to be calculated. Very keen firms could even work out comparative :osts of different makes of tyres.
Mr Fieldhouse came back with a further luestion touching on the difficulty of a
iewcomer to transport working out a tyre 3udget. Mr Grimsley said he had assumed
hat most transport managers would start 'rom their "disappointment with last year's igures". Novices were not employed in ransport posts of responsibility. If the ierson responsible had no previous iackground of experience he would have to iick up tips from more experienced
nanagers. The use of the CM Tables of )perating Costs would provide a basis for
yre budgeting, though it should be emembered that such tables were based on rverage results of many fleets. Particular xperience could give different figures.
Mr Frank Woodward (Plessey) said that he profit achieved provided an index of ran Sport efficiency but transport costs were arely known in full. Things like floor pace, road space, the cost of furnishing, tc. were items that could be excluded from udgets. Own-account costs must vary rom year to year; the chief thing was to ompare own-vehicle costs with the cost of lternative outside haulage.
Mr Grimsley suggested that property and ther charges could and should be :curately calculated. Unless this was done id the figures included in budgets, firms ould not justly compare their own vehicle osts with those of contractors. Hence, the ze of own-account fleets was often a latter of guesswork. Unless all relevant asts were included in an own-account ansport budget it was not valid to argue iat a slightly dearer charge by a contractor lied out his use.
Mr R. H. Duncalfe of RHM Foods was ideal of a control structure used as an .ustration by Mr Grimsley. He felt this tided to portray engineers as "grease ionkeys" whereas in fact fleet engineers ere responsible for a major cost area.
Mr Duncalfe said many people did not :alize the breadth of engineering :sponsibilities in modern transport. agineers gave guidance to managements legal aspects apart from their traditional ities.
Mr Grimsley agreed that engineers were iportant but the other functions were tually significant. Any company seeing no ilue in a particular function would be well lvised to get rid of it. The fleet manager ire the chief responsibility and he must know his area of responsibility and be adequately supported by other executives and clerical staff.
Container work The results of ICI's experience in the container field were the basis of the first afternoon session. Mr D. A. B. Crawford of ICI's central distribution department used slides to make points which amplified information provided in an ICI report that all delegates had been given.
The 1968 ICI report had been based on the premise that containers were here to stay, that their use would increase and that the external and internal dimensions would have to be accepted without question. Mr Crawford agreed that the ISO containers might not have ideal dimensions, but too much time had been wasted discussing the ideal might-have-beens. At least users now had a standard international transport medium.
ICI had based its container planning on the need to deal with end-door-opening types, which were by far the most widely used and were proliferating, and had settled on mechanical loading and unloading as a necessity, concentrating on fork-lift trucks as the most widely available device. It was particularly important to load containers, he suggested, with the recipient in mind. When manufacturers decided to containerize certain traffics—such as awkward sizes of plastic sheet, to quote an ICI example—they had to be sure that these would not require customers to obtain costly unloading gear.
Mr Crawford stressed the extent to which use of containers was influencing his group's whole distribution pattern: palletization, packaging and warehousing had all been affected, and metrication was now providing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. When packages were changed to metric sizes, they could also be designed with container compatibility in mind. ICI was now also extending the pallet module to warehouse design—the pallet was in many cases a piece of "through equipment" and its size should be taken into account in planning the most efficient warehouse modules.
On the results of international containerization, the speaker reported that full-load traffic moved speedily and without problems but the movement of small lots had deteriorated with the fall-off in conventional cargo shipping. ICI was fortunate in being big enough to run its own groupage, and was now doing this very successfully, so that products from different divisions were brought together to form full container loads.
Manpower and labour relations The day's final session, on manpower and labour relations, had three speakers, each allocated 20 minutes to put their views before combining to form a discussion panel. Opening the session was Mr J. D. Mather, assistant managing director of British Road Services Ltd, who set the pace with a masterly survey in his brief allotted time.
He submitted that manpower planning could not be divorced from the field of economic forecasting but said that in the next few years there would be four major factors which would influence the manpower requirements in road haulage.
In the first instance there was the Industrial Relations Act, the first manpower requirement of which would be an industrial lawyer in every establishment to help implement the Act. He suggested that the Act could not be ignored since it overshadowed most other considerations at the present.
First, he asked, will the trade unions—and particularly the TGWU—register or not? Management's attitude and policy depended on the answer to this question. What information would management have to provide for the trade unions under the code of practice, he asked. He pointed out that his company did not see the need for a full-time paid shop steward at every branch, with office facilities. This was something which his company could not afford.
He suggested that the removal of an employee would be extremely difficult and "hire and fire" organizations would have to change their attitudes. Companies would require to have a formalized disciplinary code and a regularized consultative system. They would require to decide very early how they would respond to union pressure to include a disclaimer clause in agreements which would make them non-legally binding.
How willing would companies be to use litigation to solve their problems, he asked, and pointed out that breaches of contracts of employment by unofficial strikes had not prompted legal action in the past. Would it all be "one way"—with unions taking employers to law, but not vice-versa? He warned that there was a prospect of splintering established trade unions in an undertaking through the ballot box and the introduction of new and possibly more militant unions. Something which could not have happened under the unions' Bridlington Agreement. He suggested that there would be the problem of defining "specified workers" under the Act for balloting purposes, and pointed out that there was a danger of splintering one's company into depots, thus widening the negotiating network.
Fears of EEC The second major factor influencing manpower requirements was our proposed EEC membership and its accompanying changes to the industry. He voiced his concern that the Six were already formulating social regulations without our consultation but to which we would be bound if we entered Europe.
He felt it was incumbent on larger hauliers to make some assessment of the effect of our membership on their customers' traffic and he posed the question of whether trade increased or declined upon lowering of tariff barriers. He reminded the delegates that there were already European practices to which we would be expected to conform after the transition period_ "For example," he said, "tachographs. I shall be interested to hear the current trade union viewpoint on these instruments, as it seems to have changed over a fairly short period of time." His own view was that they could be useful if used as a substitute for log sheets, if they became cheaper and if they could be linked to electronic data processing for the calculation of wages, bonuses and other statistics.
He pointed out that as work-study tools in road haulage they have little use since much of a driver's work could not be tachograph recorded.
Mr Mather reminded delegates that European membership would mean a re duction in the working day and the working week. He hoped that the extra costs to trade and industry had been taken into account when the cost of joining the Market was being calculated.
The distance limitation of 450km per day made nonsense of many existing and perfectly safe British productivity deals and he wondered if productivity would become a dirty word—or productivity payments illegal as they were, for instance, in Germany. Mr Mather told the delegates that there would undoubtedly be pressure on operators to conform with the more generous Continental holiday allowances.
The cost of inflation The third influencing factor was the rate of inflation. The cause of the wage climb was purely academic; the only consideration was how fast and how steep a slope. He produced charts which compared the cost per employee estimated in 1966 and a later figure based on the current 15 per cent per annum cost inflation. This showed total labour costs for drivers in 1972 as £2340 per employee, in 1976 £4100 and by 1980 £7200 per employee.
Shortage of drivers would result in pressure for wage increases, and the recession of the past year had lost men from haulage who might not be willing to come back, while the training of their replacements would be a costly and time-consuming business.
The form of wage payment of the future would in Mr Mather's opinion alter. He said that BRS viewed its present piecework system as a transitional stage and that once the performance levels had been achieved his company was predicting a movement back to measured day work (trip rates) and ultimately to salaries. "We must begin to put back into the lorry driver's job some of the attractions which it once held. Freedom of action and a high degree of discretion." He suggested that too tight control after performance standards had been set would militate against maximum human satisfaction and efficiency. "Even computer routeing systems leave a deliberate area of decision making for the driver." He stressed that the industry should keep its rates moving upwards at least as fast as the rate of inflation and pointed out that any time lag—even of a few weeks--in recouping cost increases was simply too costly to bear.
The changing society The fourth and final major factor was that of social charige. He contended that driving was not a mindless mechanical operation and that men attracted to this job demand increasing freedom to make work-related decisions. Drivers would also want much more say in management decisions following the realization that, especially in the present era of high unemployment, bad management decisions cost jobs.
He expected that there would be an increasing emphasis on fringe benefits—he asked: "How long will drivers be satisfied with the present compensation for staying away from their increasingly affluent and comfortable homes?" There would have to be an improvement in the standards of overnight accommodation, thought Mr Mather, and more attractive pension schemes.
Health hazards There was a lot of humbug in the area that he was usually asked to comment upon, remarked Dr Ernest Hamley when he followed Mr Mather and raised some of the health hazards of people in their jobs. Dr Hamley is Reader in Human Biology in Loughborough University's department of ergonomics. He was concerned in measuring the effects of certain employment over a period of time, and he instanced the case of a 45-year-old man exposed to vibration in his job, whose blood showed characteristics normally associated with people in their sixties.
On noise, Dr Hamley quoted recent exper ments with young farm tractor drivers on the Continent which showed that deterioration of their hearing was eight years ahead of the deterioration in hearing which had been experienced by theft parents. Where employees were subjected tc noise it was not the noise itself which wax the important factor, but the type of noist and the amount which the individua "absorbed". The effects were no immediately apparent.
Smoking, alcohol and ventilation it vehicles were other aspects which tta speaker discussed. The effects of a drive smoking in a badly ventilated cab were no yet fully known, but it was perhap significant that Norway, for example, no intended to legislate against smoking b: vehicle drivers, as a road safety measure. D Hamley reported on his experience wit! some of the early researches into the effect of alcohol, explaining for example how batch of students showed widely differen and largely unpredictable, reactions to heavy consumption of whisky.
Having watched the CM road te! presentation, with its comments on drivc fatigue, he remarked that the only way t deal with this effectively was to monitor driver on a typical run; he had discusse this with CM's editor, and had offered I take part in long-distance road tests to ma)
COMMERCIAL MOTOR September 24 1971 some Measurements On test drivers.
When Mr Alex Kitson, executive officer, TGWU, spoke on manpower and industrial relations his oratory kept the audience riveted to their seats. Mr Kitson condemned the Industrial Relations Act as an irrelevance. It would involve indus try with the legal fraternity—that impregnable closed shop. If the road transport industry had only possessed three or four hundred Jack Mathers—a reference to his respect and sympathy for much or the con
tent of Mr Mather's address—there would have been no need for theIndustrial Relations Act.
The TGWU, said Mr Kitson, would not co-operate with the Government in administering the Act. The union did not intend to register and all unions would be instructed by the TUC not to register. The
Act was designed to reduce the powers of unions and he was convinced it had been conceived by the Government as,a platform to help gain entry to Europe—which he utterly opposed.
The fragmentary nature of much road transport operation was seen as a major problem for trade unions. "The Transport Development Group and British Road Services are not perfect animals for us but they do punch us along the road," said Mr Kitson. Private hauliers had to understand that they will have major problems if they fail to face their responsibility in industrial relations matters.. The Road Haulage Association must get a grip on the industry and negotiate responsibly.
Mr Alan Law, said Mr Kitson, had had a platform provided for him in Birmingham by the operators' own attitudes to wages and consultation. For a long time small employers would not talk to him. Now the position was changed and Alan Law enjoyed a somewhat exalted position.
Stressing that there were over 82,000 irms in road haulage with less than five employees, Mr Kitson said the Industrial Relations Act would not help them. The Dudgets of so many small firms were wrong and this was often encouraged by users of :ran sport services who did not question why ;mall men were cheap: it was because they )pposed trade union organization and often louted the law of the land in regard to mfety aspects. Drivers were becoming wofessionalized, responsible for vehicles vorth £12,000 to £20,000, and unbassadors for their employers. Given rade union /employer co-operation indusrial relations problems could be licked. Nithout it, the law of the jungle would revail.
Referring to the Common Market, Mr Citson said trade unionism in Europe was Try weak and this explained why the FAiropean unions wanted Britain to join. Working conditions of transport crews in lurope concerned the British trade unions. lleeper cabs were opposed by the TGWU. We wouldn't allow the driver's dog to sleep a the cab let alone the driver."
Mr Kitson ended his stimulating address ly insisting that the Labour Party had laid he foundations for industrial relations egislation. His union would fight bitterly to ee that at the next election the legislation • was repealed and never re-introduced in an objectionable form. Industrial relations were akin to marital relations—if you fell out with your wife it did not help to consult the man next door, or a lawyer. You must settle • it yourself!
The discussion period in which the three speakers on.labour relations formed a panel began on a lively note when Mr W. J. Edbrooke of Associated British Foods remarked that if this was Mr Kitson's normal manner he was glad he didn't have to meet him in negotiation.
Mr Edbrooke referred the panel to the disputed question of who should "stuff" containers in the London area. Should not this matter have been decided long ago by the trade unions?
Mr Kitson said this was rather outside his field but the problem was akin to the current problems on the Upper Clyde. It was no answer to pay a 60-year-old man £2,000 to make him redundant, and men of 45 presented a much greater problem. Men facing a redundancy situation exploited any weapon available. The only answer was to retrain the redundant workers for appropriate work commanding adequate pay.
Mr Mather agreed with Mr Kitson's point on retraining. He thought container loading was a road haulage operation but he could appreciate the motivation of dockers. It was pointless to blame the dockers for their attitude. They must be provided with alternative forms of work.
Mr Edbrooke came back: "This problem has been known about for four years". The unions had not grasped the nettle. Strikes, he thought, were the fault of the unions and their leaders bore responsibility through non-activity.
Mr Kitson defended the unions. "We have drawn up schedules of redundancy pay but the men won't accept them. It is quite wrong to suggest that nothing has been done."
Mr N. Mackintosh referred to labour trouble with drivers in the West of Scotland. Unofficial strikes, he said, had not helped the industry.
Mr Kitson said the answer was to get rid of the outmoded Wages Council. There were still employers paying only £16.50 for driving an under-5-ton vehicle. Last year there had to be strikes for a £20 minimum, which must be compared with £26-28 in manufacturing industry.
Mr Mather agreed that it was too easy to blame workers. "I've got respect for our drivers. When we applied work measurement techniques our eyes were opened. We found barely 24per cent of the day was deliberately wasted. When we have a productivity worry now, we look first to the local manager."
Mr G. P. Dupree, for Lucas-Kienzle, asked Dr Hamley if he could comment on the effect on drivers of frustration caused by slow road-building.
Dr Hamley said there was no recorded evidence on this problem. He had heard of a driver who had resigned because two-thirds of his effort was spent on non-driving duties. We were not yet at the stage of measuring the frustration index, but he quoted an industrial example of frustration affecting output.
Mr Kitson agreed the point was important. City drivers felt road congestion most. There was need for more infrastructure planning. Labour turnover was worse for urban drivers. Perhaps the answer nationally was to deploy our transport resources—even coastal shipping —more efficiently. We would never get the ideal road system, in his view.
Mr Mather said the Wages Council machinery had not helped solve the problem of drivers' pay differential, in that night trunk drivers got most and town drivers least, despite their more arduous working conditions.
Mr Kitson said the trade unions had been unable to "sell" changed differentials to the drivers. He would prefer a two-rate system such as had been agreed with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. Hard work from both sides was needed to make progress on the unfair differential issue.
Mr J. A. Fletcher (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) referred to the potential conflict between trade unionism and membership of professional staff associations, which could introduce questions of ethical conduct into the complex matter of industrial relations.
Mr Mather said the IRTE could not have its cake and eat it; professional bodies must decide whether they were outside the field of white collar trade unionism or not. If inside, you become a trade union. If outside, you impose two conflicting codes on your members.
Mr Kitson said the question was difficult for a trade unionist: he was not going to help to make the Industrial Relations Act work. He felt a body like the Chartered Institute of Transport could usefully loosen its membership codes since there were many people in the industry who could make a serious contribution to the work of institutes, which tended to be select clubs concerned with status and not standards.
Mr F. Charlesworth of Bullens London asked Mr Kitson to define the TGWU attitude to the fitting of time-recording clocks.
Said Mr Kitson: "We're against both recorders and tachographs. And we believe that in both the public and private sector clocks offer employers a very small advantage in relation to the costs." But the unions, he agreed, would have to make up their minds about the tachograph issue in relation to possible entry into the Common Market.
Mr Mather said the cost of fitting recorders in a large fleet could be prohibitive— some £900,000 in the case of BRSL, and at a conservative estimate this would need £9m extra revenue to pay off. "I can't see it," he added.
Closing the conference, Lord Chesham announced a provisional date for next year's CM conference, Thursday September 21, again in London.
Then, in a spontaneous gesture which drew a burst of applause, Alex Kitson stood to offer a vote of thanks to Lord Chesham for his chairmanship, and the conference ended with them clasping hands.