There was still one more run to do. But the shattered driver had already done over fourteen hours, and didn't feel safe to do anymore.
He pulled in and rang the transport office. "There's only one job left, you can be back here in 45 minutes if you get going now."
"I'm shattered, I'm not safe to do anymore. I'll be back in five minutes so I can go home."
"Let me be very clear....you will complete the next job now or you will be failing to follow a reasonable request."
The driver stuck to his guns and refused to do the unsafe job.
The next day, he was suspended and placed under investigation for "gross misconduct".
Luckily, these are union drivers. Understandably, the Snr Steward has been livid about the injustice of this. Attempts to resolve the matter informally failed.
Last week - following a long suspension, the dismissal hearing was held.
About five minutes before kick-off, the Snr Steward had a quiet word with the transport manager.
"Obviously, I can't stop you from sacking ***. But please understand that if you do, I will be forced to hold a general meeting outside of work for all the drivers."
I'm sure this little chat helped a lot, and probably contributed to the old line, "of course we may need to investigate further, so won't be able to give you a decision today."
I'm pleased to have learned that the charges have been dropped. I honestly think we'd have balloted for action if the outcome had been different.
Unfortunately, the employers ego will not allow a 100% retreat. They are suggesting a "performance improvement plan". The Snr Steward has told them where they can put it :)
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