Posts Tagged Industry

Know the Job

Surely a Contractor Must Know the Job?

Wouldn’t you think a contractor, or a sub-contractor must know the work in order to be awarded a contract? Evidently this is not a requirement  any more.  How can a business award contracts, then hire someone else (who previously undertook the work) to instruct the new sub-contractors how to do it? Seems to me there’s something wrong with this equation.

To my mind, the contractor knows the work. He hires workers able to undertake the tasks, and instructs the workers how to do the job. Isn’t that the way it works. Apparently not. Sub-contractors get contracts without more than a very basic level of skill. I’ve had a welding team in the past month that may be OK to knock up a set of burglar bars or a braai stand, but have no idea how to run a weld for a pressure vessel. Hell, this so called contractor doesn’t even have an argon rig… they arrive on site with a couple of oil filled AC arc boxes – those kind you buy at Game or Makro.

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The Unpleasant Tasks of the Boss

I had a really unpleasant task this morning: Telling my crew I will be moving on to hopefully greener pastures.

It’s one thing to fire a worker for an infringement, another thing altogether to have to tell them they will be out of  a job in the near future. Worse still when two of these guys have been part of a team for so many years.

It Could be Worse

Still it could be worse. They have about 4 months to find alternatives, and I have colleagues who I know will take on my long-term crewmen. Nor will they be left destitute, the two blokes who have been part of my crew for many years will have decent severance packages.

Thomas Plaaitjies could probably retire if he wanted to. Faisal is a darn good artisan, and learns fast too. The other two youngsters leave with good practical experience and on-the-job skills training.

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My Future in Industrial Contracting

Industrial Contracting
Industrial Contractor for 25 Years

I have worked in the industrial contracting sector for nigh on thirty years, first as an apprentice boiler maker and welder, later for myself as a subcontractor. The job has been good to me: I never expected to get rich, and definitely that is the case… but I have enjoyed the work, the camaraderie of fellow workers in this rough and tough industry…

I have had the opportunity to build a small succesful business, and have a core team of workers who are reliable mostly, some who have been with me a long time, one who has stayed through thick and thin  since I started out for myself.

Times Changing, Time to Change

I work mainly for a few prime contractors, one of whom provides about 80% of my work. It’s been a good arrangement, they procure the work, manage part-time workers, and take care of much work I would otherwise have to do – and spending time negotiating for contracts is time out of earning a living.

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Big Work Provider

Petrosa Plant in Mossel Bay

Petrosa: One of the Largest Work Providers in Mossel Bay

If anyone is wondering why I have not posted recently, the answer is simple: Three weeks of solid work have taken every minute of my time. I haven’t had a line in the water since the beginning of the month. Jen is wondering if she’ll ever get to have a meal with me again…

Such is my working life; days, weeks sometimes even a month or two with no work whatsoever, followed by non-stop 7 day weeks. This time it was one of the spin-off industries that developed from Mosgas/Petrosa. When I first arrived in Mossel Bay, there was not much in the way of large industry. Much of the industrial activity revolved around commercial fishing and the port.

How things have changed. The natural gas industry developed in the mid to late 1970’s becoming one of the largest employers and contributors to the local economy. These days it seems most of the work I do is in some way related to this industry.

Time now to visit the rocks, throw a few baits before picking up the good-lady at 16hoo (And trying to convince her to spend the evening with a rod in her hands!)

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