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DB sacks driver over 10 claims seats were defective

  • 27-03-2020 11:57am
    #1
    Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭ devnull


    Interesting story
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/dublin-bus-sacks-bus-driver-over-10-claims-seats-were-defective-1.4210147
    Dublin Bus sacked a long-serving bus driver after he declared 10 buses defective over a two-day period because of “collapsed cushions” for his driver’s seat.

    All of the buses were subsequently examined by Dublin Bus engineers, and mechanics could find nothing wrong with the seats.

    In one of the buses claimed by the driver to be defective on January 23rd, 2019, it had been fitted with a new seat just two days previously.

    When asked by an inspector to specify the defect on the seat, the driver allegedly pointed to a crease on the left side of the seat cloth.

    Some of the buses said to be defective by the bus driver were in instances where the driver had taken over from colleagues who had driven them without complaint.

    The driver was sacked by Dublin Bus for gross misconduct after it found that the complaints about the seats were not genuine complaints but instead “a deliberate disruption” of services by the driver.

    The driver worked for Dublin Bus from September 2001 until his dismissal on May 31st last.

    The driver sued for unfair dismissal at the Workplace Relations Commission, whose adjudication officer, Jim Dolan, has concluded the complaint of unfair dismissal “is not well founded”.

    Mr Dolan found that on the balance of probabilities the seats in question were not defective and the decision to dismiss was proportionate.

    Seat cushion
    In an outline of the events, the driver commenced duty on January 21st, 2019, at 3.48pm and took over a bus that had been driven by a colleague.

    The bus was full of passengers but the driver called central control to say the bus was defective because he claimed the driver’s seat cushion had collapsed.

    A replacement bus arrived at 4.15pm. However, the driver contacted central control after a short period to advise that this bus was also defective for the same reason.

    Another replacement bus was brought to Parnell Square West and the driver reported this bus as also being defective because the driver’s seat cushion had collapsed.

    The driver was brought back to the bus depot in the same bus driven by an inspector. An inspector subsequently allocated the driver a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh bus . In each instance the driver tested the bus by driving it but came back to the bus depot to say the seat cushion had collapsed.

    Disc problems
    Two days later the driver reported for duty at Parnell Square West and once again contacted central control to report that the bus was defective because of the driver’s seat – the eighth bus to be declared defective. The chief inspector at Dublin Bus approached the driver and the driver explained that he had disc problems in his back.

    The driver was allocated a ninth bus and subsequently a 10th bus. In both cases he again reported that the bus was defective because of the seat. The driver was then called into the inspector’s office and was told he would not be allocated any more buses.

    Dublin Bus told the Workplace Relations Commission hearing that it was conscious that bus seats have been a problem in the past and it had spent a large amount of time and money getting them right. The driver told the commission he had a back disc problem, which could be compounded if the bus driver seat was not correctly fitted.

    Are there different driver seats on every bus? I did hear some drivers say about a year ago they were trialling a new seat so I'm wondering if it simply is they didn't like the new seat as it felt different?

    Would they not make some reasonable adjustment for the driver if he had back problems in relation to the seat to stop this? Or was it not genuine and just being used as an excuse.

    Would be nice to hear some staffs viewpoint on this since on the face of it, there's no sign of the company talking into account his back problems and trying to offer something to compensate for those problems.


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,668 ✭✭✭ trellheim


    there's no sign of the company talking into account his back problems
    offering him 10 different buses wasnt enough ?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭ Salary Negotiator


    This driver has a history of claiming the seats were defective and received a final warning in 2018 over similar behaviour/claims.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭ devnull


    trellheim wrote: »
    offering him 10 different buses wasnt enough ?

    My point was more, if he had a back problem, they should perhaps send him to an occupational therapist or a company doctor to have that back problem assessed and to see if there were any reasonable adjustments that could be made to the seats that would resolve his problem.

    From what I have read it seems more that the problem may have been with his back rather than with the seats, so it's no surprise that however many buses he tried, he felt that the seat had collapsed. Employers are reasonably expected to make adjustments for their employers when they have conditions and disabilities that effects their ability to do their job rather than telling them that you have a back problem and 10 seats you don't like must be a lie so you're sacked.

    I was just surprised that there was no mention of them having this back complaint investigated since if it was one of my staff was saying what he did and used the back argument, if I suspected they were not being honest I'd want to get that verified by a medical professional.


  • Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭ LastStop


    devnull wrote: »
    Interesting story
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/dublin-bus-sacks-bus-driver-over-10-claims-seats-were-defective-1.4210147

    Would they not make some reasonable adjustment for the driver if he had back problems in relation to the seat to stop this? Or was it not genuine and just being used as an excuse.

    If you're not fit to drive you don't drive. DB can't be expected to put special seats/accommodations for certain drivers and then keep those buses ready for when that driver has to work.

    There was an ongoing issue with seats but that has been rectified for the most part. Defecting 10 buses is absolutely unbelievable and DB are justified in sacking him. The seats that are on buses are certified fit for purpose for fit drivers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,742 ✭✭✭ Foweva Awone


    Sounds like it may possibly be a mental illness problem rather than a back problem.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,964 ✭✭✭ KevRossi


    I read about this yesterday or the day before. Seems to be an ongoing thing with him, he was the source of a lot of trouble over the years.

    I doubt Dublin Bus of all people would fire someone over a minor grievance, nor would they take a dim view of health and safety. The complete opposite. He got himself fired from a company where it is traditionally almost impossible to get fired from.

    I think most of us know the type of individual involved, or have come across them in our private lives or at work.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭ Better Than Christ


    The seats on pre-2019 buses are terrible. I know several people on sick leave as a result of back problems caused by those seats. His description of 'collapsed cushions' is 100% accurate - it seems to happen on the left hand side because drivers tend to lean towards the ticket machine when using it. It sounds like he was being deliberately disruptive, but his point is entirely valid. Eight hours sitting on bare metal isn't nice.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭ devnull


    LastStop wrote: »
    If you're not fit to drive you don't drive. DB can't be expected to put special seats/accommodations for certain drivers and then keep those buses ready for when that driver has to work.

    There was an ongoing issue with seats but that has been rectified for the most part. Defecting 10 buses is absolutely unbelievable and DB are justified in sacking him. The seats that are on buses are certified fit for purpose for fit drivers.

    That's not the way my union (different sector) would see it. In the workplace you are expected to make reasonable adjustments for those who are disabled and have health issues. This is known as reasonable accommodation or reasonable adjustments and is governed under the Employment Equality Acts.

    If a driver would have just failed so many buses and not mentioned the involvement of his back injury, then I would agree with you completely, but because they seemed to suggest that there was an underlying medical condition, most HR Departments would want to get that assessed, if for no other reason, just to defeat any mitigation or excuse the driver might have during the disciplinary process or subsequent appeal / unfair dismissal claim.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ john boye


    Without wishing to start another union debate, what was the union's position on him?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,385 ✭✭✭ gifted


    john boye wrote: »
    Without wishing to start another union debate, what was the union's position on him?


    Collapsed....lol lol













    I'll get my coat.....


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭ john boye


    I knew I should have phrased that differently!


  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ Leilani Spoiled Treadmill


    Sounds like it may possibly be a mental illness problem rather than a back problem.
    Speculation: To acknowledge a problem with a seat would give the complainant a path to claim liability by his employer. Disability/Early retirement/Lump sum compensation...the mother lode.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,864 ✭✭✭✭ mickdw


    The seats on pre-2019 buses are terrible. I know several people on sick leave as a result of back problems caused by those seats. His description of 'collapsed cushions' is 100% accurate - it seems to happen on the left hand side because drivers tend to lean towards the ticket machine when using it. It sounds like he was being deliberately disruptive, but his point is entirely valid. Eight hours sitting on bare metal isn't nice.

    I feel if there was no cushioning on the seat due to wear that firstly DB would have offered him a known good unworn seat on at least one of the buses. Secondly, if there was a valid issue re the cushion, he would have been able to produce an Engineers report for the hearing which would habe resulted in a differenr outcome.
    Its pretty clear he either genuinely didnt like the seats due to back problem (which he should have communicated differently instead of condemning bus after bus) or he was a trouble maker.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭ Salary Negotiator


    mickdw wrote: »
    I feel if there was no cushioning on the seat due to wear that firstly DB would have offered him a known good unworn seat on at least one of the buses. Secondly, if there was a valid issue re the cushion, he would have been able to produce an Engineers report for the hearing which would habe resulted in a differenr outcome.
    Its pretty clear he either genuinely didnt like the seats due to back problem (which he should have communicated differently instead of condemning bus after bus) or he was a trouble maker.

    One of the seats was 2 days old, and 9 of the buses were passed by drivers that day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 38,249 ✭✭✭✭ Guy:Incognito


    The seats on pre-2019 buses are terrible. I know several people on sick leave as a result of back problems caused by those seats. His description of 'collapsed cushions' is 100% accurate - it seems to happen on the left hand side because drivers tend to lean towards the ticket machine when using it. It sounds like he was being deliberately disruptive, but his point is entirely valid. Eight hours sitting on bare metal isn't nice.


    Did they collapse within 2 days of being fitted?


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,683 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    One of the seats was 2 days old, and 9 of the buses were passed by drivers that day.

    Just because another Driver took them out in service or didn't find an issue doesn't mean there isn't one.....

    I'm constantly having to fill out defect dockets on buses that have been out all day, numerous issues constantly coming up too.

    The seats that were on the 2003 AV were better to be honest then the seat cushion they fitted with the air suspension seats.....

    These cushions in my experience are only lasting up to 40k km.....

    The left part of the seat cushion wears away and the metal support bar underneath comes up through this and is causing nerve damage in leg and causing severe back pain.....


    I myself have had to get a lot of physio and was out due to such poor quality seats....

    The very late 500s only have them it seems any 568 onwards.

    They have now replaced some on GT and older SG.....

    The new seats don't even need all the new switches but hey that's what they went with....

    There are a few different types and one is similar to look at as old but extremely soft and won't last as you can feel the metal support bar....

    Yes he was over the top to be honest and I believe there was more to the story.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,770 ✭✭✭ GT89


    devnull wrote: »
    That's not the way my union (different sector) would see it. In the workplace you are expected to make reasonable adjustments for those who are disabled and have health issues. This is known as reasonable accommodation or reasonable adjustments and is governed under the Employment Equality Acts.

    If a driver would have just failed so many buses and not mentioned the involvement of his back injury, then I would agree with you completely, but because they seemed to suggest that there was an underlying medical condition, most HR Departments would want to get that assessed, if for no other reason, just to defeat any mitigation or excuse the driver might have during the disciplinary process or subsequent appeal / unfair dismissal claim.

    Maybe he didn't tell DB as he feared that if he informed them he would be put out of work on disability grounds. There aren't any real adjustments DB could make for a driver. The practicality of adjusting potentially up to hundreds of buses just to suit one driver is quite frankly riddiculous. The only thing they could have really done for him is take him off driving and give him a clerical role.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭ Salary Negotiator


    Just because another Driver took them out in service or didn't find an issue doesn't mean there isn't one.....

    Fair enough, but all ten were subsequently tested by at least a mechanic and in some (or possibly all) an engineer and no defects were found.


  • Registered Users Posts: 242 ✭✭ Kyleboy


    john boye wrote: »
    Without wishing to start another union debate, what was the union's position on him?

    He was a siptu rep!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,749 ✭✭✭✭ Wishbone Ash


    devnull wrote: »
    In the workplace you are expected to make reasonable adjustments for those who are disabled and have health issues. This is known as reasonable accommodation or reasonable adjustments and is governed under the Employment Equality Acts....
    It's very difficult to define 'reasonable' though. I've had employees taken off their original role and placed in clerical roles to accomodate a 'disability'. It's often unworkable as they have the upper hand from then on and make constant requests which they may see as reasonable but just drags down the moral of other staff.

    - I don't like my desk
    - The printer is too far away
    - I need a foot stool
    - I don't want to look at the monitor for too long
    - I'd like to sit near the window
    - The office is too hot/cold
    - The toilet is too small and too far away
    - My GP says I should lie down for 20 mins after my lunch

    And that's totally seperate from a complete inability (or pretend inability) to use any form of IT.

    Drives me fcuking nuts!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭ dashcamdanny


    I sit on these seats daily as well. Never had a problem.

    Its hard to try and convince drivers that sitting all day long and zero exercise is probably the problem. They insist its a seat problem. Where that may be a problem in some cases, I dont think it needs to be in all cases.

    In most cases I bet some simple daily exercises like a few half sit ups in the morning will make these seat problems disappear.

    And maybe not filling their plate to the brim in the canteen everyday.




    That guy who got sacked was a plonker.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,998 ✭✭✭✭ AlekSmart


    I sit on these seats daily as well. Never had a problem.

    Its hard to try and convince drivers that sitting all day long and zero exercise is probably the problem. They insist its a seat problem. Where that may be a problem in some cases, I dont think it needs to be in all cases.

    In most cases I bet some simple daily exercises like a few half sit ups in the morning will make these seat problems disappear.

    And maybe not filling their plate to the brim in the canteen everyday.




    That guy who got sacked was a plonker.

    Agreed.

    Posture is THE most important element for any sedentary work.

    The numbers of drivers who spend their driving day,leaning to their left with an elbow resting on the doorframe,whilst nonchantly twirling the steering wheel with their other hand is significant.

    Quite often,it is these people who will feature in the list of folks with negative opinions on the Drivers Seat.

    We have a tendency to assume that the more complex a device is,the better it will function.

    I have found that each "improvement" in busdrivers seats has not actually brought much benefit.

    The original Chapman seat on a solid plints with basic fore & aft adjustment remains,for me the least problematic to spend an extended time on.

    I am also of the opinion that the decision to cease using the Chapman product should be revisited ,as their experience of the type allied to their recent product lines appear worth a trial at least.

    One thing I agree with is Chapman's decision to remove the Lumbar Adjustment,a feature which is almost ALWAYS broken on the more complex alternatives now in use.

    http://www.chapmandriverseating.com/probax.htm

    Occasionally,I can still hear the voice of my long dead mother,as always being 100% correct...."Sit up straight outa dat...you'll end up with a bad back if you don't" :D


    Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

    Charles Mackay (1812-1889)



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,683 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    I sit on these seats daily as well. Never had a problem.

    Its hard to try and convince drivers that sitting all day long and zero exercise is probably the problem. They insist its a seat problem. Where that may be a problem in some cases, I dont think it needs to be in all cases.

    In most cases I bet some simple daily exercises like a few half sit ups in the morning will make these seat problems disappear.

    And maybe not filling their plate to the brim in the canteen everyday.




    That guy who got sacked was a plonker.



    I exercise a lot, I am not surprised though as some I wouldn't expect anything less....

    It's an insult to be honest.....

    I've had and still have huge issues from the seat.

    Are you a health care specialist?


    How can you say what you've said without any knowledge of my symptoms?

    The seats fitted are absolute dirt and this has been the done thing in db.

    Look at the difference between them and bus eireann seats.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭ dashcamdanny


    I exercise a lot, I am not surprised though as some I wouldn't expect anything less....

    It's an insult to be honest.....

    I've had and still have huge issues from the seat.

    Are you a health care specialist?


    How can you say what you've said without any knowledge of my symptoms?

    The seats fitted are absolute dirt and this has been the done thing in db.

    Look at the difference between them and bus eireann seats.

    It was not intended as an insult, please dont take it as one.

    I said most cases I said. And these are my unprofessional opinions.

    I used to be a scaffolder in a previous career, proper back breaking work. Ruptured a disc. Hospital , MRIs the works

    Went through a full year of hospital physio to recover.
    After many conversations with my professional physio , he said that 90% of the cases he deals with are posture related. And core strength and muscle balance is the cure for most peoples pain.

    As a bus driver does not really do anything to strain a back, its not hard assume that its simply limp posture thats causing all these problems. Which a bigger softer seat will not cure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 242 ✭✭ Kyleboy


    I exercise a lot, I am not surprised though as some I wouldn't expect anything less....

    It's an insult to be honest.....

    I've had and still have huge issues from the seat.

    Are you a health care specialist?


    Didn't you know?.. There's a lot of expert's in the training school!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,683 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    It was not intended as an insult, please dont take it as one.

    I said most cases I said. And these are my unprofessional opinions.

    I used to be a scaffolder in a previous career, proper back breaking work. Ruptured a disc. Hospital , MRIs the works

    Went through a full year of hospital physio to recover.
    After many conversations with my professional physio , he said that 90% of the cases he deals with are posture related. And core strength and muscle balance is the cure for most peoples pain.

    As a bus driver does not really do anything to strain a back, its not hard assume that its simply limp posture thats causing all these problems. Which a bigger softer seat will not cure.

    I've worked at many different jobs and with driving it ain't back breaking but it's extremely mentally draining and very bad for one's health....

    We have to stay in the seat longer then ever...

    I know of many drivers out with issues due to the seats and that's skinny and big people.

    I've had to get physio myself and I know myself I'll never be 100% from the terrible seats over the years....

    I cycle and walk, was doing the gym but had to stop as wasn't able to move for 3 months and still have problems.

    Sitting in a bus and driving all the time is absolutely terrible for one's back.

    CMO even backs me up on this....


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,770 ✭✭✭ GT89


    There was a Dublin InQuirer article done into this very issue a while back

    https://www.dublininquirer.com/2019/06/12/some-dublin-bus-drivers-say-their-seats-are-making-it-painful-to-work


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭ Vic_08


    If the picture in that piece is typical then I would say the driver is 100% correct, there is no way a seat offset like that is an acceptable place to spend any length of time driving and even a brand new seat installed like that will cause posture problems.

    medium_image.JPG

    The story makes much more sense if this is the issue, incorrect alignment rather than faulty seats.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭ Better Than Christ


    Vic_08 wrote: »
    The story makes much more sense if this is the issue, incorrect alignment rather than faulty seats.

    An additional problem with incorrect alignment is that it ultimately results in faulty seats, as the cushion collapses to one side because of how people are forced to sit.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,683 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    An additional problem with incorrect alignment is that it ultimately results in faulty seats, as the cushion collapses to one side because of how people are forced to sit.

    Not only that it's due to have to slide in and out on that specific left side....

    Could be 8 drivers in a day and then each end getting in and out....


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