October 21st, 2010

Welcome to the Marie Celeste

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

That’s what it feels like round these parts sometimes.

We’re supposed to be double-crewed on the radio channels. If you are below minimum strength you can’t get leave or time off, minimum strength isn’t sufficient to double crew all the channels but it sure as hell includes most of them being sufficiently staffed.

It kind of begs the question of how come they can allow the staff numbers so low that 90% of the channels are single-crewed.

This is fine when nothing is happening. The problem comes when something does happen. One controller is expected to do all the radio work, update the logs, ring other staff,  make the various telephone enquiries which inevitably follow on from anything serious or complicated.

No problem, say the people in charge of getting things right. If one channel is busy, just send the co-pilot from a quieter channel to help out.

Which again is fine in theory – when you have co-pilots.

When there is no resilience, the only alternative is to close one of the radio channels & move the controller over to help out then   get another controller to monitor 2 radio channels.

Simples. Everybody wins. Except the two sets of officers who get a reduced service as they only have half a controller instead of two each. And the controller who probably had some added stress through being single-crewed anyway but now has two divisions to cover with double the jobs, radio traffic & telephone calls.

And things will get worse when they start shedding  jobs, except the calls for service will go up, the more unemployed there are.

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