No excuse

Until yesterday I’d never heard of Abellio a subsidiary of the Dutch state rail operator and responsible for recruitment for the new London Routemaster buses. Seems that in a country with 2.6 million unemployed they couldn’t find 50 people to drive the buses, well at least that’s what they claimed.


A UK bus operator flew bosses to Poland to recruit 50 new drivers despite there being 2.6million people on the dole in the UK.
Abellio, a subsidiary of the Dutch state rail operator, claimed it could not find suitable British candidates to work on routes in central and South West London.
The firm went on a massive recruitment drive in former Soviet country to expand its workforce. They claimed that there were ‘no suitable’ Britons.
But a current employee at the transport giant said he knew a number of friends who had been interviewed for the posts – and turned down.
‘The Routemaster will soon be back in the capital. What a shame if British drivers miss out on the chance to drive it,’ the driver, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Sun.
An Abellio spokesman said: ‘In order to supplement recruitment in the UK we held an open day in Poland where 51 experienced bus drivers were recruited.
‘We are not aware of any occasion where a suitable candidate has been turned away.’
The Polish drivers, some of whom have already started work, will be paid £10.60 an hour for the first two years at which point it will increase to £11.50.
There are currently 2.64 million unemployed people in Britain. Critics would suggest that any number of these would have been suitable candidates to drive the iconic buses.
The revelation comes as it was revealed that 160,000 Britons have missed out on employment because work was taken by foreigners.

Driving a bus is actually not that hard,they are automatics (or occasionally semi automatics) and other than getting used to the length and turning characteristics anyone who can drive can quickly learn to handle one. The only extra thing you need is a Passenger Service Vehicle addition to your license in order to carry paying passengers.

What this smacks of is cost cutting, by recruiting Polish drivers Adellio will save on the training costs of putting people through a PSV/Bus driving test. That plus an EU statute means they can go anywhere to recruit anyone within the EU to find the people they want. Now I’ve nothing against people coming here to do the jobs we can’t do, but that isn’t the case here. The job is not difficult, nor is the training particularly long, it can more or less be completed within a month. There were on the last check about 235,000 people unemployed in London, this means most were already living there and could have been trained to do this job. That Adellio is unwilling to train and that Transport for London did not stipulate  that training was preferable in order to save on costs means that local people have yet again missed out on an opportunity to get themselves out of the welfare trap.

Nobody seems to train anymore, they’d far rather recruit from abroad or poach someone else who is trained from another company. Training costs money and takes a lot of resources if it’s for a skilled position, though in the case above it wouldn’t. Yet without some form of apprenticeship training this country will be forever dependent on outside labour. Perhaps if the government were to spend its foreign budget on training our people we might prevent situations like this. Something needs to be done though, it wont be cheap, but it will pay off eventually. Though only by leaving the EU will we gain control over foreign immigration.

8 comments for “No excuse

  1. john in cheshire
    January 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Anyone who says that immigrants have not taken jobs from the indigenous population is, in my opinion, a liar. Anyone who says that the trades unions are not complicit in this abuse is, in my opinion, a liar. Anyone who says that there is not a determined effort by government to import immigrants to take on jobs in preference to the indigenous, white population is, in my opinion, a liar.

  2. microdave
    January 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    They probably also considered that Polish / other EU workers will most probably be more reliable than a lot of British born people. I’m not backing the company by any means, but this aspect is regularly quoted, even by firms who do their very best to give jobs to “the locals”.

    One of the Mail comments questioned why we can’t have a requirement for employers to show they have been unable to fill vacancies locally before looking overseas. Obviously he/she isn’t aware of the “free movement” part of EU employment law…

    • January 16, 2012 at 6:47 am

      Not necessarily more reliable, but perhaps just more willing to work, less ‘chippy’ about being a bus driver and not a rap star/footballer and do better in a customer-facing environment ?

      Training’s all very well, but there are some things you just can’t train into people.

  3. January 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Sad situation about the quality of local workers but why is it? Society of the all must have prizes, no incentive to up their game, things everything must be auto-given. Needs total re-education with the right people in there doing the educating. Therefore it needs a dismantling of all those who’ve fish-hooked their way into key decisionmaking jobs.

    How to rid us of these people is the big question.

    • January 16, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Spot on, and I’ve no idea! Frankly, I wonder if it’s even possible to stop the rot. I fear it’s too far advanced.

  4. Dave G
    January 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    No doubt the 51 Polish bus drivers will arrive in the UK driving Polish buses full of Polish ‘workers’.

  5. GiT
    January 16, 2012 at 5:10 am

    I don’t agree that this is a training issue. It would only be so if there were no “native” Category D licence holder applicants. It’s difficult to imagine that there aren’t at least hundreds, maybe even thousands of people with the right licence among the 235k unemployed.
    Maybe the issue has more to do with the rational decisions “native” people make about how attractive these jobs are when the real rates of pay (after reduced benefits and increased taxes) are taken into account. NB My opinion is that the problem is the high level of benefit not that the pay rates are too low.

  6. January 16, 2012 at 6:44 am

    “Training costs money and takes a lot of resources if it’s for a skilled position, though in the case above it wouldn’t. Yet without some form of apprenticeship training this country will be forever dependent on outside labour. “

    Working, I would suggest, as intended…

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