29 December 2009

Cab seat resolution

Remember the potential for a Stagecoach Fit Club? This resulted following news that a 20-stone weight limit had been applied to all Optare Versa and Solo buses in the company's employ and a 23-stone limit to any Alexander Dennis vehicle. Clearly, Stagecoach didn't want to end up in court should one of these affected vehicles be involved in an accident where the seat collapsed with a driver in excess of the respective maximum weight.

Initially, their response was to permit each depot to identify its drivers in excess of 20-stone and to relieve them of driving duties pending a company medial examination, where a plan of action would be agreed upon, which would ultimately see the employee lose weight. However, this action was very patchy, with no national strategy to ensure that all of their bus depot managers implemented it in the same way - there were instances of drivers being suspended and inferences made that their livelihoods could be in jeopardy.

A national agreement was soon implemented, thanks to representations made by Unite union stewards, and a letter was distributed to all 14,000 Stagecoach UK Bus employees. We're happy to report that only 300 drivers have been identified as over the permitted weights. We understand that 400 new cab seat pedestals have been ordered and are in the process of being fitted to the affected vehicles and that any new Stagecoach vehicle orders will see a Chapman Nova Urban Sideriser seat fitted to the cab that, similar to the new pedestals, have a 30-stone maximum weight limit.

A positive end to a potentially very touchy subject. (GL)