Until someone gets killed...

Published: Friday, 25 September 2020

 SO CaRT have sacked all their paid tunnel keepers at Harecastle tunnel now have they?  Writes John Coxon.

I wonder if they have really thought this through?  Are they just going to plod along replacing all their full time experienced on the ground staff with volunteers until someone gets killed?  It certainly looks like it!  And I think it's not too far from happening?

Was this a volunteer?

For example, what about the plonker who let a boat through a lock onto the Ribble Link to face a 9.9 metre high tide? Was this a volunteer?   if not then who ever it was deserves to be sacked!   Will volunteers have the authority to stop them?  Will boaters take any notice of them?

My experience is that some volunteers think they have the right to order boaters around.  If they start that with me I tell them to go and get a cuppa and leave me alone—or words to that effect!

It seems like any blue collar worker on any structure that gets paid is fair game for replacement by volunteers.  Worse than that, they sack them and then ask them if they want to volunteer!

Would a volunteer cope?

Can you really see new volunteers coping with a situation like the accidental death of the boater in Harecastle Tunnel a few years back!  Sheer panic springs to mind here!  Can't see many of them turning up the next day, can you?

Also, what happens when it's wet and cold and the volunteers refuse to turn up like they tend to do at locks.  What then?  Boaters can't operate the tunnel themselves!  Will it be closed completely in the winter as they can't get volunteers to man it when it's frosty or there's snow on the ground?

Prelude to loosing more staff?

Now I see that the times for the tidal locks are being reduced and a booking scheme is being introduced on them. Cromwell Lock being among the first  Is this a prelude to getting rid of their full time staff and replacing them with volunteers?  It certainly seems to be CaRT's modus operandi.

Locks, tunnels, tidal locks, bridges, Anderton Lift—all full time staff in line for replacement by volunteers.  Yes I can see a death coming soon, and CaRT, as usual, will blame the boater.

Should full time lockies man tidal locks?

At one time I was led to believe that the rules stated that full time lockies had to man tidal locks?  I have not been able to find anything about it and can't remember where I got the original info from?  If anyone knows if this is so could they let our Thomas know about it?

What I think would be a far better idea would be for CaRT to get rid of all the directors and managers and fill their posts with volunteers?  That would save much more money than getting rid of all the very experienced workers!  [Ralph Freeman tells he has people ready for the accounting and costing departments!—Editor.]

Also it would benefit all of us as we could then perhaps have the saved salaries spent on maintenance?