THEY say that teamwork makes the dream work and that’s exactly what a Reading Buses control room operator has found to be true.
Javed Kayani is now 40, and came to the UK from Pakistan back in 2001.
He initially worked for a cash and carry in High Wycombe, but switched from picking products from shelves to driving buses in 2004. He’s not looked back since, working his way up to his current role as duty manager.
Not bad for someone who had to learn the intricacies of the English language.
And Javed says that while sometimes people have been racist towards him, it has been balanced out by the good people who have helped him adapt to life in this country.
He confesses to still having problems with his spelling even today, but that his colleagues in the Reading Buses Control Room are always willing to help him out.
His cash and carry role saw him picking and placing products on shelves.
“I didn’t speak much English and therefore experienced problems with some people,” he says.
“I sometimes couldn’t explain things properly. When someone spoke rudely to me I would say something nicely back to them – I don’t believe in racism and don’t stand by it.
“I have come across some bad people, but racism wasn’t generally the case when I joined Reading Buses as a trainee driver in 2004. There was a good mix of nationalities and ethnicities. There were people from Nepal, a few from India and Pakistan, some mixed race and, of course, lots of English people.”
This diverse mix of people means that racism is rare at the company, which runs a number of services across the borough including the Leopards, Lions and Orange routes.
“Racism hasn’t come to me at Reading Buses and all nationalities have been increasing which is a good thing,” Javed says. “Black History Month is also a good thing. It brings something positive once a year and black and minority ethnic people, working in roles such as doctors and police, have done a lot of good things in this country.
“I like to think I have worked hard for my company and the majority of my colleagues are very friendly and helpful.”
He added: “When I got my bus licence I went on the night shift and after about three years I became a union rep for the drivers on the late shift. I left that position in 2012 when I became a driver buddy and then in 2014 I was made an inspector.
“I did that for 13 months and then a vacancy arose for a duty manager. I applied, was successful and I’m still in that job. We have people from different nationalities in the Control Room including three from Pakistan and another from South Africa and we all get on very well.
“The majority of my colleagues are white and the conversation we have is good. But sometimes my spelling isn’t so good and they will help me.”
He recalls how, even to this day, he continues to support his parents in Pakistan and how grateful he was to Control Room colleagues when his father suffered a heart attack.
“I was told to leave my work immediately and get on a plane,” added Javed who lives with his wife Tabsum, a housewife, in Coley Park.