By Andrew Gold
As viewers recently discovered via the TV show ‘The Job Interview’, when Jacqueline O’Donovan makes her mind up about something, it usually becomes a fact.
The straight talking MD at London-based O’Donovan Waste Disposal became a Twitter sensation with her straight-shooting approach to the Channel 4 show.
Better known in the sector as head of one of London’s leading independent waste management companies, Jacqueline’s public profile rocketed overnight thanks to her spell in the spotlight. So it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows her, that she is determined to utilise her new-found public persona for the benefit of the industry.
That is why Jacqueline has thrown herself into a campaign to reform long-standing tachograph legislation which she firmly believes is out-dated and actually detrimental to local hauliers across the country.
She has the Transport Act 1968 firmly in her sights, and is determined to lead a campaign she hopes will result in a loosening of regulations which currently place a restriction on local short distance hauliers who are essentially working a 7 to 5 job.
Jacqueline points to the situation at O’Donovan Waste Disposal, where drivers do not work long shifts, or do long haul or extensive mileage. Despite this, drivers are prevented from working every Saturday – as current regulations stipulate they are limited to every other week.
Company boss Jacqueline said: “With the realities of Brexit slowly sinking in, the government needs to begin evaluating the current laws that the EU has placed on the logistics industry, and whether to keep any existing UK legislation that adopts EU-made rules moving forward.
“In the case of short haul waste disposal companies, it is not only beneficial for all that this service is carried out on a more regular basis, but it will ease congestion and improve the economy.
“I am urging the government to consider amending the Transport Act 1968 – which adopts the EU-made rules into UK law – to reflect this.”
Company boss Jacqueline, who joined the company at the age of 17 after the sudden death of her father, has launched a survey in a bid to get feedback from the industry and kick start a campaign involving trade bodies and other leading figures.
Over 100 employees
Jacqueline, boss of a multi-million pound operation with over 100 employees, continued: “I am being asked by other operators if I can see if I can do anything, because my profile is so high compared to theirs.
“The tachograph regulations are fantastic for long distance continental drivers, because they serve a real purpose. But I don’t think they serve a purpose for local hauliers, because we are not doing long distances and are not out for astronomical hours.
“Our drivers spend a lot of time in traffic and not on the road, but I don’t think one cap fits all and the fact we have had to abide by the Transport Act 1968 has caused us economic damage.”
While fiercely protective of the protection offered to the act for some drivers, Jacqueline believes the one-size-fits-all approach is actually detrimental to operators such as the one she fronts.
She added: “We are getting less work done, and the Act is outdated. Our industry works on a Saturday, and we currently only work until one o’clock and can only do a maximum of three jobs.
“We would like the ability to work on a Saturday, and get a full shift through Saturday.
“Add to this we face a driver shortage and people have got rising costs. We are being handcuffed by this regulation, which I think still has a base – but just not for our type of industry.”
Jacqueline, whose firm specialises in skip hire, waste management, tipper and grab lorry services, wants other operators and drivers to complete the survey, which is available via the Skip Hire Magazine and O’Donovan Waste Disposal websites.
She added: “The survey will be the foundation, and what I am hoping is to get the survey out to as many people as possible. Skip Hire Magazine and your readers are ideal as partners for this, because the majority of them are local hauliers.
The company boss is in the perfect position to lead the important campaign, thanks to her new found profile from the Channel 4 show and her feisty performance on ‘The Job Interview.’
She laughingly recalled: “The feedback from people who knew me said my personality really came out. People who didn’t, said ‘Oh my god,’ – I don’t want interviewed by HER.
“I really enjoyed it, and actually found the shooting quite easy – you have to perform, but I was myself and as viewers would have seen, I am known for my loud laugh.
“The coverage was great for industry, and is was one of my aims to show people what it is like being a business woman in London and running a family company.”