Friday, 22 December 2017

Respect for gritter drivers is for life, not just for Christmas!

Buckinghamshire's Transportation Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw, had a fitting seasonal message about extending the festive goodwill to all gritter drivers into the new year, and beyond. Published on Facebook, Friday 22nd December 2017. 

"Well, what a winter we’ve had so far! The first time gritters went out this year was back on Guy Fawke’s Night and since then the big yellow machines have been out on the roads over 30 times already. The biggest challenge was, most definitely, the snow weekend of the 9th and 10th of December, where our amazing workforce were out and about on the roads five times in 24 hours. More than 60 staff members, operatives and office based alike, were on duty on Sunday 10th and I’m so grateful to every one of them for working tirelessly to keep the roads safe.

One of our new gritters for 2017, Salt Disney!

We were also ‘snowed under’ (it wouldn’t be Christmas without a rubbish joke, would it?) with some really lovely messages of praise and thanks from members of the public via email and social media. We made sure those messages made it to the people on the front line, and even turned them into a Christmas card for over 100 staff across three depots! It’s nice to reflect at this time of year, when their work is so high profile, what these front line team members really do for all of us in Buckinghamshire.

When their work is so high profile, like when it snows, it is so lovely to hear the positive feedback for TfB’s operatives. However, sadly, this is not the case all year round. Incidents of abuse to road workers are a big industry problem, not just in Buckinghamshire, but on roads all over the country. Tensions can run high when works are causing congestion or road blocks, but some of the abuse directed at the people who are just out there doing their jobs has been really nasty this year. We actually saw one conviction against an offender earlier this year, whose abuse of one of the guys working on the roads earned him a hefty fine and community service. And so, as we all head into the new year, probably a little worse for wear after a great Christmas, I hope that the goodwill that has been flooding in for the brilliant gritter drivers, winter operatives, and all other staff who go the extra mile in adverse conditions, can continue into the next year and beyond. Remember, the same people you might see filling pot holes, holding you up on the roads in the summer, are the same people working so hard to keep you moving in winter."