Monday, May 24, 2004

I’m just having a bit of a Victor Meldrew moment…....

Is it OK for people to sleep on the job? Apparently so if you are a fire fighter. The current dispute between employer and employee is all about the correct form of words with which to describe sleeping and resting time during the night shift. I have a form of words they could use - 'Wake up - and do some work'.

And if it's OK for our noble fire fighters to join our illustrious pack of MPs to zed out on the job, then everyone else should qualify as well - but of course, that's impossible isn't it? Sleeping on the job means the sack – right?

There is a right load of nonsense talked about the fire fighters. They seem to have this romantic aura about them - heroes doing the most dangerous job in the Country (which it has to be said they actively perpetuate). The most dangerous job outside of the armed services (and one of the most poorly paid) is the farm worker. Next comes such scary jobs as Scaffolder, Fisherman, Builder, Sewer worker etc, etc. For pure 'dangerousness', the fire fighters come a rather safe 24th - possibly just in front of estate agents?

I know 3 people that hold down 2 jobs at the same time - guess what, they are all fire fighters. Two of them freely admit that the fire service gives them a great base to pursue their other careers (the other one just smirks a lot - he's a fire fighter at night, then does an 8 hour day in his own antiques business). And the ONLY way they can have those other jobs is because they sleep when doing their fire fighting night shift.

One final point, I have actually been in a fire station, very nice (for a social club) ... Snooker table (full size), excellent canteen/bar, bandits, full spec' easy chairs - and a load of beds! I've done night shifts - and worked ALL night. Our heroes are paid to work - not to sleep - they should wake up and smell the coffee.

I don’t have anything personal against them – it just bugs me that they go on and on about the rough deal dealt to them and the fact that they say the service is in terminal decline. Apparently not, if the current waiting list to be a fire fighter is anything to go by.