Where is new fleet going to be used?
HOW ‘heartening’ it was to read in May’s issue (Talkback, Issue 79) that British Waterways has spent a further £2.1 million of our money on a new fleet of tugs.
Bearing in mind that it previously sacked a large number of its towpath workmen and literally handed over free and gratis its previous fleet to the subcontract companies who benefited accordingly.
One finds it difficult to imagine where this new fleet is going to be used; after all precious little maintenance work was carried out leading up to the transfer to the trust. Dredging for instance appears to have been completely left off the ‘work-to-do’ sheet; also the maintenance of locks and lock gates as can be seen by the amount of water leaking from them and being wasted, resulting in the closure of lock flights and canals already this season.
I am sure that our ‘lords and masters’ would argue that it is the drought that is responsible – it is to some extent, but the amount of leakage throughout the 12 months is considerable and must account for a fair proportion of the low level of the feeder reservoirs.
I also wonder why it is that BW felt it necessary to provide ‘welfare-units’; when one takes as a comparison workers engaged on road repairs and the utility companies laying gas lines, water mains etc. this standard of facility doesn’t exist and there isn’t any evidence of those workers going on strike due to the lack of them. I’m not suggesting that BW workmen should have to brave inhuman working conditions, but what was wrong with the standard of the facilities that were previously available?
Is this yet another example of BW’S profligate behaviour?
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