Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Scheduling 'efficiencies' proving elusive

Remember how one of the most contentious issues during the city's winter 2009 transit strike was scheduling, in an effort to reduce overtime and other avoidable labour costs? According to the Amalgamated Transit Union local 279, the new scheduling format isn't really working as well as had been anticipated.

The schedule took effect last month, and the transit union says shifts aren't being filled, which is affecting service and driver morale. Scheduling was also the main reason for the 53-day transit strike.

"A lot of guys are refusing overtime because of their frustration, and a way to show their frustration is to stop working overtime," said Mike Aldrich, the transit union vice president.

On the other hand, Transit Committee chair and mayoral candidate Alex Cullen points out that the scheduling is working fine--and that the vast majority of routes are run on time.
From 580 CFRA:
The chair of Ottawa's Transit Committee insists the new scheduling system for OC Transpo operators will allow the city to introduce transit service at a lower cost in the future.


Cullen says over 99 per cent of OC Transpo's nine-thousand trips a day go as scheduled.
It doesn't seem surprising that a scheduling system isn't working to full effect if certain operators are intentionally obstructing the effectiveness of the scheduling system by not showing up for shifts, which ATU 279 vice-president Aldrich suggests. After the long and unforgiving winter strike, though, it's similarly not surprising that some operators are lashing out against what they see as an inequitable measure.

Still, the key point in the 52-day strike was scheduling, and we have yet to see any proof of those oft-cited 'efficiencies' that were apparently the basis for the City's unrelenting stance. It's to be expected that there will be some adjustment period before the savings start to appear, but until they do, the strike appears more and more like a strikeout for the city.


RealGrouchy said...

If I recall correctly from the stories during the strike, the operators had taken a pay cut a decade ago when the (now former) scheduling schedule was put into effect. They felt the increased morale was worth it, and accepted the pay cut to offset the lower efficiency of the model.

So presumably it could work in reverse, too (except the part where the drivers get their pay cut back).

- RG>

Dean said...

If you don't have enough drivers then you hire more. Then drivers don't have to worry about overtime at all. They get a better quality of life.

I don't recall anybody ever promising them overtime only to be paid overtime rates when the were forced to work overtime.

If they want to make more money they get get another job or a second job. Just like the rest of us.