Thames Water has hired out-of-work truck drivers who predominantly work on celebrity television shows, to help protect vital services during the coronavirus outbreak.
In total, Thames Water has recruited 19 drivers from the Marlow-based company R Jameson Event Transport, who usually work on programmes such as The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, to offer help to its essential operations across London and the Thames Valley.
This also means that the staff at R Jameson have a reliable source of work and income until they are able to return to their normal jobs in national television.
Founder of R Jameson, Richard Jameson said: “Thames Water is our only hope of surviving this.
“The whole industry collapsed earlier this month, we lost 150 jobs within a couple of hours and were left with no work for three months and beyond.
“I was left with a load of trucks and drivers who had nothing to do. This agreement has secured my guys some employment throughout this difficult period.”
This comes after the Government announced that those who are working in the water and sewerage industry have been identified by as key workers.
Thames Water has recruited HGV drivers during the COVID19 outbreak
The Thames Water staff who cannot fulfil their roles from home, are required to be out working in roads, at water and sewage treatment sites and in the company’s control centre offices, in line with official health advice.
This will add depth to the team and free up Thames Water’s drivers to undertake more complex jobs, including water network maintenance, repairs or supporting priority facilities like hospitals and care homes.
Lynne Graham, Thames Water’s HR director then said: “During this extraordinary time, we’re following Government health advice to make sure our customers and our people stay safe, while making sure we continue to deliver our critical services.
“As part of this, we’re looking at how we can bring in extra staff or redeploy existing staff elsewhere in the business should they be required due to employee absences caused by the virus.
“Water companies have specific plans in place to ensure they can continue to deliver critical water and wastewater services throughout challenging periods such as pandemics and I’d like to reassure customers that we’re doing all we can to ensure they experience no disruption.”
The new drivers will carry out routine, on-site work for Thames Water, including transporting sludge – the by-product of the sewage treatment process – between works.
In total, 11 drivers are currently undergoing a four-day training course at Basingstoke sewage treatment works, with the remaining eight expected to be ready to start on Tuesday, March 31.