Today I had the exciting opportunity to observe and meet a key group of stakeholders within The Ports of Amsterdam brief: the current employee in the working environment.
I was a fly-on-the-wall, observing and recording behaviour within its context, without interfering with people's activites.
I have gone into great detail about my activities in getting to the factory. This is important has it represents in detail all the actions, objects and people involved in the process of my journey.
I intended to travel to the Nissan Factory,Hornweg 32, 1044 AN, Amsterdam using the WestPoort Bus, which leaves from Sloterdijk Station. The Westpoort Bus is a service that has been designed to make transportation to and from work much easier for the workers. I wanted to experience this journey so I can really understand the emotions and perceptions of the workers, and what they would be of a first-time traveller on the WestPoort Bus.
Arriving at Sloterdijk at 12.10 for my bus scheduled to arrive at 12.16, I was confronted with lots of buses and lots of stances. No sign for WestPoort Bus?
I asked this bus driver what stance to go to. So I stood at the stance he had pointed to ( which was the wrong area, the correct stance was behind me...) I waited there for ten minutes, I asked a lady waiting beside me, she had no idea about the bus "Does it not tell you on the timetable?". It didn't.I was still unsure if I was waiting at the correct place.
So I asked at the "I give information on trains, so didn't know much about buses. But I think it comes every hour and it is a big red bus, looks different from the other buses." So now I knew I was at the correct stance, underneath the sign
which I had not noticed before!! even though I had been looking at all the stances for nearly an hour! Now all I had to do was wait for the red bus...
Then this bus arrived at the stance. Not red? With no letter A on the front? So I asked the bus driver and she said "No more buses go to Nissan today.Ever. I go to Starbucks"
By this point I was very confused, if I was a worker, I would be extremely late. If I was starting my first day of work at Nissan I would have wanted to run home :(
There is another red bus at the opposite side of the stances, it says 'Schipol Sternet' on it, I don't want to go to Schipol? But maybe that is the right bus if it is red?
At 1.35pm, another bus looking like the picture above, but with no sign on the front arrived. I asked the driver. He doesnt go to Nissan.
My appointment to visit the factories was at 12.30. I was very late and very confused. This exposes a problem! I cannot get to the place and it is only a 6-7minute drive away!
With help from Arne and Harm and many phonecalls later...I was told to get on the bus that comes at 2.10pm with the letter C on the front.
A very friendly bus driver, with 'Take On Me' playing on the radio, but no other passengers/workers to photograph or talk to, which was unfortunate. ( and the time on the clock on the bus was wrong....)
I got dropped off on a pavement facing a bus stop? So I had to cross a busy road.
I could clearly see the path to walk to the Nissan building.
The friendly receptionist informed Jan I had arrived for appointment.
Now I had arrived it was time to observe and learn about the workers and work that happens there. A little sample...
Thank you to Jan for giving me a tour around the factory. Chatting about the project , he claimed "This place is very easy to get to from new West."
Although, I think my experience most definitely proved that it is not! I photographed the canteen, the lockers, the work floor, the offices, the reception and outside the building. The work that happens on the main floor is mostly done by men as it involves heavy lifting. These positions do not require qualifications, as the workers 'learn on the job'. The admin and computer work requires a University degree.
I learned that people tend to bring a 'packed lunch' to work as it is much cheaper than the canteen...
More analysis and lots and lots more pictures coming soon...