Following on from “the article” in the Telegraph which I have not read, as the Sun is the newspaper of choice in this locality, but I have got the gist of it. I must firstly congratulate Steve Smith for his excellent summary of the situation. He has done what many other people ought to do and that is spit out some facts.

I must say I feel a bit sorry for Ben Johnson who is trying to play a hand that is not intended for him and the word “Call Assist” could be substituted for half a dozen other work providers. But why are so many people frightened to speak out with some more home truths. It’s great that a mole is at work or, in modern terms, a whistle blower.

The first issue of Professional Recovery that dealt with this had almost three pages on the topic and while Dave Gregory clearly outlined once again the problems (and Richard Goddard tried to smooth over the situation) not once and I would like people to go back and check was 95p per mile, the 22 free miles and £41 turn out ever mentioned, which is the root cause of the whole issue in the first place.

On a more concerning issue, why did AVRO not get straight on the case? A decent Press Officer would have had it picked up by several other publications, which is what normally happens. The whole thing is only one jump away from National Television – remember “Shy kids get nowt”!

It is this continual repetition of people not prepared to speak out in case they upset their so-called friends. AVRO have appointed a new CEO who should have been straight on the case rattling a few cages while the printers were still hot. It’s alright making and supporting rule changes but our financial future is once again on the line. The Operators are obviously the worse culprits but at least they are worried about their livelihoods, whereas a lot of other people seem to be more worried about where their next free meal is coming from. Another point worth noting is no profit figures ever seem to be disclosed for these companies. Go on Mr. Mole, do your stuff. Though the AA do report a profit of around £250m: you would think they could slip £20m of that back into our Industry, which would make a tremendous difference: it’s like a man with £250 giving £20 to charity.

I seem to have spent the last few years just going on like a cracked record, but our case has never been stronger, that is if we are needed in the first place, which I am starting to wonder about.

Talking about plumbers; I rang my plumber who will turn out during the day for about £35 but after 4.30 in the afternoon it is £85 with the proviso that he will carry out a temporary repair and then return, at extra cost, to finish the job the next day: and that, Gentlemen, is the problem. The difference between working after hours and working normal hours is, as you would expect, the difference between night and day.

On a final note, I would just like to say that this extra £5 being offered by some clubs for after hours, which don’t include Saturday and Sunday, is a complete insult to our integrity. These work providers must sit in their board rooms and laugh their socks off as they offer £5 for something that needs to be at least another £25 or £35. The £75 fine and no money for skates possibly came out of the same meeting. It is just despicable.

And finally, after writing about this subject for some time, I am bringing the issue to a close and it is up to someone else to try and make a difference, because I have failed.

F.W. Henderson,
Breakdown Doctor.