Meet Javed for Black History Month
9 months ago
We’re delighted to support initiatives such as Black History Month (BHM) to help encourage a sharing of experiences and culture. BHM gives us chance to focus on and celebrate the contribution of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in our society and develop our understanding of Black history in general. Every week during October we have be focused on a different Reading Buses employee and their experiences – for our final week it's Javed's turn, our Control Room Duty Manager.
It was challenging when I left the small Pakistan town of Dina for a better life in the UK at the age of 19. I originally settled in High Wycombe, but after three months moved to Reading where I worked in a cash and carry picking and placing products on shelves.
I didn’t speak much English and therefore experienced problems with some people. 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 were people from Nepal, a few from India and Pakistan, some mixed race and some English. Racism hasn’t come to me at Reading Buses and all nationalities have been increasing which is a good thing. Black History month is also a good thing. It brings something positive once a year and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, such as doctors and police, have done a lot of good for this country.
When I got my license 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 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.
Even to this day I continue to support my parents in Pakistan and was grateful to colleagues in the control room when my father suffered a heart attack. I was told to leave my work immediately and get on a plane.