You may have noticed that this blog was not accessible for some weeks. The reason for this was that my ex-employer, Stagecoach (South) Ltd suddenly decided that the blog did not comply with their employee policy on web sites, blogs etc. I say suddenly because the blog has been running for 4 years, was known to Megabus back in the days I started the blog and infact I passed some customer comments/questions which arrived at the blog to them. During the years since I’ve been back driving local routes many more members of Stagecaoch staff have become aware of the blog and some have even contributed comments.
Out of the blue I was called into the office of the Winchester Operations Manager, Richard Tyldsley, and told of the company’s objections to many of my posts. I gave my response only to be instructed to close the blog to public view immediately. In order to comply with that request a password became necessary. I then instigated a Grievance Proceedure against being instructed to close my blog. The Grievance was heard by Mr Tom Bridge, the Operations Director of Stagecoach (South) Ltd, and we hadn’t got far into the discussion before it became abundantly clear that Stagecoach were going to find a reason why almost every post infringed their policy. Here are a few examples of what I consider to be really stupid objections to some postings.
Dread. Here the objection is that the customer may recognise herself. “How do you think she would feel when she reads that”? I was asked. Well, if she doesn’t know she’s got garlic breath there is nothing else in the post that could identify her and lead her to think ‘that’s me’. If she knows how bad her garlic breath is she should be more considerate and attempt to mask it!
For some reason, which even Mr Bridge struggled to find when I pressed him on exactly which part of the policy it contravened, he took objection to Wheelers Coaches and wanted it removed.
A confession was objected to for reasons which were probably so laughable that I’ve forgotten quite what was wrong with it.
Mr Bridge put on a very serious face to claim that my thoughts on Bus Passes would be taken by the reader as the official Stagecoach stance on Concessionary travel!
Back to the passengers recognising themselves again with Giving change.
There were quite a lot more examples like this and then we came to the one which made me realise that there was no point at all in continuing to try and put across my viewpoint. Ticket design “Do you not see the security risks in posting pictures of tickets on the internet”? (Cough ….. splutter …… try not to laugh) Anyone who thinks those low resolution, non-life size pictures of tickets will be printed from the web page, cut out and then be passed off as the real thing really needs to see a nice man in a white coat. If you’re going to forge tickets invest in buying just one so that you’re copying the real thing. If you’re really a cheapskate just look around the floor of the bus and you’ll find discarded tickets of all types including expired period passes there for the picking up. I realised at this point that Stagecoach would find/invent a reason to disagree with everything I ever wrote.
I withdrew my Grievance and despite huge misgivings agreed to keep the blog out of the public domain. Obviously, I didn’t agree with the company but as an employee reluctantly accepted that I had to comply with their request however unreasonable I found it. I thought that would draw a line under the matter – Stagecoach had got everything they wanted as far as I could see.
However, I was then served notice that a Disciplinary Hearing would take place the next day in relation to the postings which had appeared and I would receive some form of punishment on my work record. This was the straw which broke this camel’s back – I was no longer prepared to take more of this nonsense and gave 7 days notice. The company reaction was that since I was still employed for 7 days the Disciplinary Hearing would take place the next day and the outcome would be placed on my record! Consequently I amended my 7 day notice to notice with immediate effect. So instead of them having 7 days in which to organise cover for my rota duties they only had a couple of hours. I was then treated then as if I’d been dismissed, a Controller was summoned to escort me to the paying-in room and observe the paying-in of my takings, take from me all company property and then ensure that I left the premises!
Now I’m no longer an employee of Stagecoach (South) Ltd I’m not beholden to comply with their employee policy on blogs, nor honour my agreement as an employee to keep the blog out of the public domain. Well done Stagecoach, I think Mr Tyldsley may have shot you in the corporate foot!
Watch out for future information I’d never have dreamt of posting as an employee :-)