Demoralising effect on its staff

Published: Monday, 04 February 2019

 I AM writing, Jessica Williams tells us, in response to 'Victor: What a mess'.

In particular, the way that loyal and knowledgeable staff have been treated by threat of redundancy and need to reapply for jobs, often on lower salary. 50 managers a year ago and 240 staff just before last Christmas.

Demoralising effect

My recent experience suggests that CaRT's actions have had a demoralising effect on its staff, particularly when it is combined with recruitment from outside. The message being sent by directors and trustees is clear: 'You are not appreciated. Not only are you unsuitable for promotion, you are not even worth your current salary'.

Some days ago I did a solo sponsored charity walk along the full length of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal in memory of a dear relative and in support of a cancer related charity. My objective was to walk the 25 miles, five furlongs and 54 locks in under eight hours. (Canal Plan gives the boat trip time as 19 hours and 13 minutes). That may not sound much of a challenge. My excuse is that I had hip replacement surgery less than a year ago.

Incidents caused me to stop

Whilst I had planned to walk continuously without a break, I would like to relate two incidents that caused me to stop. The first was at Dick's Lane where works were being carried out on locks 25 and 26 by CaRT staff (Direct Services).

SonALock34PaddleKnowing that extensive work had been carried out at Lock 25 in preceding years, I asked why the lock 25 stoppage was necessary. I was told that CaRT staff were correcting previous work carried out by its contractors. Even if true (my guess is that it is), this is not a message I would normally expect to receive from motivated CaRT staff!

Rusty paddle gear

Further down, I came to Yarningdale where the short Aqueduct is immediately followed by lock 34. Rusty paddle-gear on the offside caught my eye. Despite the need to keep moving, I went to investigate.

It seems that various parts of the lock-gear have been replaced or refurbished. However, nobody had thought that grease was needed. Worse still, a look at the back of the up-stand showed that no attempt had been made to mitigate years of neglect as evidenced by the large hole lower right which will eventually allow a bolt to pull through.

SonALock34BackIn years gone by

My better half informs me that, in years gone by, the workshop by lock 21 would have made a small plate which would sort out this problem for at least 50 years. CaRT staff, it would appear, were not even motivated enough to fit a large washer to stop the bolt pulling through.

These two personal experiences suggest to me that remaining staff are demotivated and unwilling to show any initiative.

As to my sponsored walk, I managed Bancroft Basin with three minutes to spare having jogged the last couple of miles. The hip is okay!