Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rest Breaks

Both Reynolds and Neenaw have written posts on our new rest break policy.

Mark reports that road staff/control staff relations appear to be at an all time low.

I'm really sorry that relations are being strained between control and road staff...but this situation should have been foreseen with the way the policy has been rushed through.

Don't get me wrong - I want a break, and in my last three shifts, I've not had a break and got off work late. In some ways I'm pleased, because it means I've got £30 in compensation for not having my break, but for two of the shifts, I've not eaten at all because I'm TSing, and the time I'd normally spend "grabbing" something to eat, I've been spending debriefing the crew or sorting out any problems for them.

The rest breaks have also increased workload for control staff, as they have to keep track of who's had a rest break and who hasn't, and log the crews that haven't and give a reason. Frankly, this must be a bloody nightmare trying to keep track of all this and still allocate calls to crews, take "blue calls" and pass them on to the hospital, arrange GPs for those that crews leave at home or who don't want to go to hospital, book delays for crews, and the countless other tasks they have to perform.

However, everyone is entitled to a break. I've heard radio ops getting a little shirty with crews who book themselves unavailable in the last half hour of their shift when they haven't been given a break. The crews aren't doing anything wrong - the rest break policy states they can do this. On behalf of crew staff who do this, please don't get the hump with us. We understand that you're probably frustrated because you're holding a screenful of calls, but please understand in return that we are only doing what the service management have said we are to do.

Reynolds points out the article in The Sun newspaper about our rest breaks, and tells of staff already receiving abuse from members of the public because we dare to have a break during our shifts.

I recently called into a supermarket close to our station whilst at work (I won't say which one) to buy one of their salad pots - I'm getting overweight, and I'm trying to do something about it.

At the checkout, I ended up in a row with the cashier because he said I should be out saving lives, not shopping for food. So I asked him how many hours he worked.
"Eight hours a day," he replied.
"Do you get a break where you can get something to eat, have a cup of coffee and relax?"
"How would you feel if your manager said you couldn't have a break today, and had to work through from the start of your shift to the end with nothing to eat?"
"I'd tell him to stuff his job"
"So why do you expect us to work through a 12 hour shift without getting some food or having a break?"

He looked stunned, and went a bit quiet after that. Other members of staff have been saying the same thing to those that give them verbal for daring to call in at the bakers etc, and have been getting the same response.

I'm sure it won't be long before people forget the newspaper article, and things settle down again. I just wish some people would stop and think before launching into a verbal tirade at the very people who may well be attending them and saving their life should the need arise.


Blogger Weefz said...

Blunt, but nicely put. Some people in this city seem to value newspaper-led opinions over human empathy and need that sort of kick to get them thinking straight.

12:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just amazed that prior to this you could go for a 12 hour shift without a break. I'd never even *think* of giving anyone in the emergency services grief for taking a break but I don't buy newspapers because of the hypocritical s**te they print so maybe I'm not representative of the general public?

10:30 pm  
Blogger Ian said...

the Sun newspaper is only showing it's true colours, But I think that it's true colour should be brown.

get what I mean.

their so full it it...

11:37 am  

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