||December Contents Page
By Leslie Robins
Although industrial disputes are often in the news, we seldom hear much about what happens behind the scenes. Working under cover I am now able to lift the lid off the murky world of industrial relations.
In this instance George speaks for the employer whilst Fred is the Union man. They hate the sight of one another, but tradition requires that all discussions be conducted in an entirely bogus atmosphere of bonhomie and so their meetings begin with an exchange of courtesies.
“Morning, George! How’s yourself? Jane and the kids well?” “Fine thanks, Fred. Mavis too, I hope? Good. Now what can I do for you?”.Back at the office Fred arranges for the usual press release to be issued. ‘Employer reneging on previous agreements. Members incandescent with rage. Union ready for negotiations at any time, etc.’ But after making further enquiries he is mortified to find that the cooks are quite happy in the kitchen car and don’t want to leave it for this footling extra job. It’s a set-back for Fred, but he isn’t going to admit it, least of all to George.
“Afternoon, George! Been thinking about this toasted sandwich business. You know me, George – I’m a reasonable man, always ready for compromise. Why don’t we pay the buffet car attendants an extra quid for every sandwich they make and leave it at that?”
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