"WORM'S EYE" VIEW ON KID-GLOVED FITTERS VOUR correspondent signing himself
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" R.E.M.E. " in I "The Commercial Motor" dated February 27, seems to be totally unaware of the revolution that has been taking place in this country for the past few years.
refer, of course, to that in the ideas and outlook of the average worker.
Working as a mechanic who has spent a fair number of working hours lying on his back and under vehicles, I would hasten to assure your correspondent that. few men did that sort of thing because they liked it; except in so far as it provided the wherewithal to live. Ask the present-day workman to perform such a task and he will probably reply, " Why should I?"
We are now, unfortunately, long past the age which considered idleness to be one of the •seven deadly sins. Apart altogether from the question of dirt money, which he mentions in his letter, it must be obvious to anyone, that to recruit workers to the arduous, unpleasant or dirty jobs it has been found necessary to resort to bribes, although under the more acceptable name of incentives.
A good case can be made out for this system of rewarding labour, because there seems little justification for paying the highest wages to those who enjoy the best working conditions. The raising of the standard of education is causing too big a proportion of the population to scramble for clean and easy jobs.
Your correspondent should also have noticed the effect of militarism on the minds and outlook of young manhood. Whilst recognizing the horrors and hardships so many of them have passed through, it must be admitted that years spent in danger, interspersed with short periods of planned entertainment and recreation, do not tend to make them appreciate that we can be fed, clothed and housed only by somebody's strenuous effort. Who can blame them for having come to regard such things as 'being the "other fellow's" job?
I am not at all pessimistic about the future of our country. Some Men begin really to bestir themselves only when something hurts them, and although this crisis is unpleasant while it lasts and the changes are very disturbing to our peace of mind, no people can move with better effect than the British when they are prodded hard enough. F. PLEDGER. London, S.W.15. (2) (a) Has a 24-hour full service been an economic proposition to commercial vehicle distributors generally?
(b) I am of the opinion that in cases of real necessity, both distributors and their staffs will willingly give of their best outside normal hours.
(3) Work in a repair shop is far more efficiently carried out on clean vehicles, and under clean conditions enerally, and I believe that when distributors are able to carry out their intended building programmes, provision will be made for efficient and cheap cleaning before a vehicle enters the repair bay.
R.E.M.E. asks "What has happened to the 'lads who used to work under vehicles in the wet weather, with the water dripping on their necks, etc., and like it?" I was once one of those lads, but after experiencing ill. health and seeing others suffer, I no longer like it, nor do I think that working under such conditions would pay any dividend to fitter or employer.
(4) The repair-shop lads can, and will, still tackle heavy recovery both willingly and efficiently during nonworking hours when the occasion arises. I am one of them. H. SHAW. Preston.
WAVING read the letter from " I feel I " must express my opinion on it.
I spent the war years in a workshop and found the job of fitting very unpleasant at times. After the war, I was only too glad to get away from it and return to driving.
Your correspondent fails to explain where the dirt to which he refers was to be found and whether this applied only to the engine. Power units, after several thousand miles, do become dirty with oil as a result of exudation from gaskets and oil vapour from breathers. If this be the reason why the fitter referred to refused to work on the vehicles, I am not in agreement with him. If, on the other hand, it was because the vehicles were in a filthy state as a result of road conditions or the class of work undertaken, then I consider that they should have been washed down and otherwise cleaned before being sent for repair T. BLAKE. Lightwater.
JT is fitting that the letter from " R.E.M.E." should be answered. I am one of the "old lads" and am now workshop foreman with a transport concern. I also served my apprenticeship and have excellent references and certificates, whilst during the war I was mechanist staff sergeant in a workshop of the R.A.S.C., mostly abroad. There, except for a more concentrated programme, conditions as regards workshop procedure varied little from those in civilian life.
We still have some wet and cold all-night and weekend jobs despite a regular and full maintenance programme. To some extent, the conditions for outside work have been improved as the result of fitting up. a mobile workshop. I find, however, as does " R.E.M.E.," that if it be a question of obtaining spares during the week-end or at night, however urgent they may be wanted, there is no one at the "agents."
There is one remark by " RE.M.E." with which I disagree, and it is not from the " kid-glove " view. I allude to working on dirty vehicles. I always emphasize that before the day for servicing, a vehicle should first be washed, so that when it is inspected we can more easily see breakages, wear and other defects. ,Can anyone imagine precision tools being used under conditions of filth and grit? Can a job be turned out to last when dirt forms part of it? Ex-M.S.S. St. Albans.