THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
ISSUE 39 • AUTUMN-WINTER 2017
A SENSE OF SOLIDARITY “The essence of this movement is helping people you don’t know” Shay Cody, IMPACT general secretary
GAME OF THRONES STAR STANDS WITH IMPACT
THE NEW UNION PROJECT: Q&A, SCHOOL COMPLETION PROGRAMME, BREXIT SYMPOSIUM, SOCIAL CARE SURVEY, CE SUPERVISORS PENSION CAMPAIGN, SCHOOL SECRETARIES, GENDER PAY GAP, RHYMING HISTORY, TEMPLE GRANDIN PHOTO GALLERY, PLUS MUSIC, TRAVEL, MOVIES, FOOD, COMPETITIONS AND MORE. www.impact.ie
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work & life
The New Union project: looking back, looking forward and naming a new union. Work & Life is produced by IMPACT trade union's Communications Unit and edited by Niall Shanahan. Front cover: Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham visited IMPACT's head office in September to talk about the refugee crisis and to receive a donation from IMPACT for World Vision Ireland for their work with Syrian refugees. Photo by: Picture It Photography. Contact IMPACT at: Nerney's Court, Dublin 1. Phone: 01-817-1500. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.impact.ie
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What’s in a name? ONE OF the more obscure advantages of a Catholic upbringing was, for me, the opportunity to choose another name for myself when I made my confirmation. It was a source of some controversy in our household that I wanted to call myself ‘Sting’, entranced as I was (at the age of 12) with the music of The Police and their charismatic front man. Crestfallen as I was by the prohibition of ‘Sting’, I found my own solution. Their guitar player was Andy Summers. I settled on Andrew, only revealing to my mother many years later why I had chosen it, though I suspect she already knew. When it came to naming our own children, we longlisted, shortlisted, championed and vetoed each other’s ideas for nine months. I was still prohibited from calling any of them ‘Sting’, but that’s probably for the best.
Evolution The evolution of the way trade unions name themselves reflects developments both in society and the economy. They were once chosen to reflect their members’ occupations (the Irish Nurses’ Organisation) or the grades of their members. General unions though were unable to reflect all their members’ occupations (or even sectors) in a name of manageable length. They adopted more generic titles (the Worker’s Union of Ireland). Mergers in the 80s and 90s saw the emergence of names that were established nouns (Mandate, Unison, Unite), which reflected certain positions or aspirations. In some cases, these were based on acronyms (IMPACT). These had the advantage in that they did not consist of unwieldy lists of grades, occupations or sectors reflected in an amalgamated membership. In the process of choosing a name for the potential new union – the proposed amalgamation of the CPSU, IMPACT and the PSEU – we placed the emphasis on the core values that emerged from a series of focus groups of lay members and activists from the three unions involved. Conscious of the desire to reflect the common values of a new union, we also needed a name that would quickly win recognition and acceptance, and one which would be highly functional in a digital age. That name, as chosen by the three executives, is Fórsa, an Irish word for 'force', as in 'leverage' or 'influential' and with reference to a body, or force, of people. This edition of Work & Life focuses on the potential of a new union. We look back on our own history and forwards to the possibilities of the future, along with the usual mix of content we hope you’ll enjoy.
Niall Shanahan Editor
WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
In this issue
work & life
A NEW UNION, A SHARED FUTURE
TIME TO MAKE HISTORY AGAIN ......................................4 IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody on the creation of a new union
IMPACT PEOPLE ............................................................6 Amanda O’Hara, PSEU activist and former IMPACT Youth Committee member
Leaving no stone unturned As the new Dáil term opened in September, pension provision for community employment (CE) supervisors features right at the top of IMPACT’s lobbying priority list. JOE’CONNOR makes the case. THE CE scheme provides vital community services and is designed to help unemployed people gain work in the community, creating a stepping stone to regular work. CE supervisors play a vital role in managing the projects, delivering services and mentoring the participants.
A NEW UNION: FÓRSA ....................................................8 All your questions answered
Following the Labour Court recommendation in 2008 that a pension scheme should be put in place for CE supervisors, funds were allocated by (then employer) FÁS for this very purpose. However the economic crisis swallowed the money and FÁS ceased to exist. Since then the story has been one of delay and frustration trying to get it dealt with.
SOCIAL CARE SURVEY ..................................................11 Grace Williams on the IMPACT survey results
IMPACT has raised the issue in 2015 and 2017 public pay talks, securing the establishment of a high level forum to deal with the issue under the Lansdowne Road Agreement. More recently, we got a commitment to complete a scoping exercise on this by the end of October 2017.
UNION AMALGAMATION ................................................12 Lughan Deane looks at the story of IMPACT’s creation
We’ve launched a political lobbying campaign to bolster the case. Prior to the summer recess we met with all political groups in the Dáil to brief them and seek support. We’ll be stepping up the pace now, with meetings scheduled with Dáil spokespersons and committee members, and stalls secured at upcoming party conferences.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE ......................................................14 Martina O’Leary looks at the School Secretaries branch recruitment campaign
We’ve developed a case statement detailing the background to the issue, with testimonials from some of our CE supervisor members on how this issue affects both them and their families.
CAMPAIGNS ............................................................2 & 16 School Completion and CE Supervisors Joe O’Connor
It’s taken far too long to achieve resolution on this issue, but we’re determined that no stone will be left unturned in seeking a satisfactory conclusion for our members l
FOOD ............................................................................18 The best books about food and the professional kitchen by Daniel Devery
GARDENS ......................................................................20 Rhubarb and custard MOVIES ........................................................................22 Netflix the disruptor
MUSIC ..........................................................................24 Raymond Connolly talks about the best and worst of split musical legacies
TRAVEL ..........................................................................26 The only holiday checklist you’ll ever need with Una-Minh Kavanagh UNION NEWS ................................................................28
INTERNATIONAL ............................................................32 Westminster disorder on a hard or soft border by Richy Carrothers
PHOTO GALLERY ..........................................................34 Munster SNA branch brings Dr. Temple Grandin to Cork FASHION ........................................................................36 Job interview? Dress to impress says Patricia Callinan CAREERS ......................................................................38 Change is good. Change is inevitable. Get ready. WIN WIN WIN ................................................................42 Competitions, survey and cash prizes
WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Time to make history again And we’ve had more authority to speak for public servants, who so frequently attract unfair media criticism and political scapegoating. Many clerical and admin staff are now seeing job evaluations and other prospects open up because IMPACT stayed strong.
The merger that created IMPACT was far more successful than we imagined back in the nineties. Now it’s time to make history again says SHAY CODY.
In the worst of times, we worked together to limit salary cuts – and eventually negotiate pay restoration – while avoiding compulsory redundancies and outsourcing even during the greatest recession modern Ireland has seen.
THIS ARTICLE is about our future, but I’m going to start by taking you back a couple of decades. Bear with me; this isn’t a lengthy history lesson.
That was delivered by members, activists, branches, staff – as well as by other unions like the PSEU and CPSU – working together with a common purpose. And in recent years we’ve had the resources to invest in new membership services, support to branches, training, communications, campaigns, and an organising team that’s helping activists convince ever more workers to join and strengthen our family.
When IMPACT was created 26 years ago, the newly-merged union had 22,000 members – 15,000 from the old Local Government Shay Cody, IMPACT and Public Services Union general secretary. (LGPSU), and 7,000 from the Union of Professional and Technical Civil Servants (UPTCS).
We’ve remained strong even when large groups of loyal members – including thousands of community welfare officers and tax officials – had to leave for other unions on foot of government decisions. And all the while, others came to join us – pilots, cabin crew, FGE in the civil service, and many more – attracted by the benefits of being part of a bigger, stronger team.
That figure grew to almost 24,000 when the Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union (still affectionately known as ‘The Muno’) joined the party later in 1991. As a member of UPTCS staff, I was involved in the preparations for what was then a huge event in Irish trade union and political circles. The birth of a united organisation, representing so many public servants and others, seemed like a big prize at the time. And we soon began to realise that the true achievement was far more significant. Today the union boasts a membership just shy of 60,000 – almost three times the size of the nascent IMPACT that was finding its feet in the early nineties. We now know that the merger did much more than simply unite and consolidate the existing membership of three kindred unions. Rather, it created a platform to recruit and organise more and more workers into our organisation, which became stronger and better able to protect and advance all our members’ interests as a result.
Exciting That’s what excites me about today’s ‘new union’ project. Like the IMPACT merger of old, it would bring together three unions – IMPACT plus the CPSU and PSEU – that already share a set of values and work closely together in negotiations, campaigns and workplaces across the country. By bringing some 80,000 workers into one trade union family, I firmly believe it would mean better services and outcomes 4
for our members. Not least by creating a very strong negotiating block, with members in the public service, civil service, semi-state sector, community and voluntary organisations, and even some private companies.
We’ve fought for, and won, the professionalisation of formerly-ignored groups in the health and social care professions – physiotherapists, social care workers and many more. This has resulted in decent pay scales and career structures, a measure of respect, and a model for advancing the interests of other groups like childcare and early years’ professionals.
It would simultaneously establish one articulate – and frankly unignorable – voice, campaigning in our communities, parlaying with public representatives, and defending our members in the workplace. Employers, politicians, journalists and, indeed, other unions, would sit up and take stock.
Thousands of SNAs are now part of our family, finally getting the protection of union representation and negotiated pay scales as a result.
But the biggest prize of all is the potential to organise, recruit and represent tens of thousands more members over the coming years – giving them a voice and making their lives better, while boosting the strength and influence of existing IMPACT members and the wider trade union movement.
Size matters, but only because of what it can deliver. We’ve had our setbacks and arguments, and progress sometimes comes too slow. But look what we’ve achieved since IMPACT was formed.‰
Despite some early anxieties, professional grades in the civil service and state agencies have survived and thrived, benefitting from the collective negotiating and campaign resources that enabled us to see off decentralisation and the privatisation of our Coillte forests. Our clout has helped restore the minimum wage and deliver public pay deals that benefit lower paid workers most.
United Many of us had our reservations about creating IMPACT back in 1991. I acknowledged that, even though I saw it was the right thing to do for our members and our movement. Frankly, staying in our silos would have been an easier option for officials and activists alike. But fast forward 26 years and very few people believe we made a mistake. The evidence confirms that a larger, united force has delivered for our members and the values we all support. Now it’s time to move up another gear. To create another new union that will be the platform for better trade unionism in Ireland. To strengthen the hand and amplify the voice of civil and public servants and the vital services they provide to the people of Ireland. And to hold out the prospect of a more prosperous and secure future for the tens of thousands we now represent, and the thousands more that need the protection of a strong, sure friend in the workplace and in our communities. That’s why I’m urging you to create some more history by voting for a new union in the forthcoming ballot. You may think it’s a courageous thing to do. I agree. But it’s also the canny thing to do, and the correct thing to do. Shay Cody is IMPACT’s general secretary l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
IMPACT people Amanda (second from right) pictured with IMPACT's youth committee in 2010.
Ready for take off
Amanda acknowledges that, for many activists, there is a reluctance or hesitation around the scale of change that’s being proposed. For some activists, being part of a smaller organisation has some appeal, in that the points of connection can be more easily established between individual union members, their branch representatives and officials. However, drawing on her experiences as an activist with both the PSEU and IMPACT, Amanda feels that service delivery will be a central strength of a newly formed union, as well as providing the structures to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard within a new organisation.
“It will lead to a more energised and dynamic union.” “I’m sure like any new thing there may well be some teething problems, but there’s a service delivery commitment with the New Union Project. That’s a very good reassurance to have. Our members should be aware of this too.
Having reminisced about the past, Amanda got straight into talking about the future, namely the proposed amalgamation between the CPSU, IMPACT and the PSEU. The New Union Project has Amanda firing on all cylinders.
“I think the New Union Project is a very positive thing and a move in the right direction for the three unions. Trade unions need to evolve to remain relevant to Irish society. The New Union Project is a structured and coherent way for this to happen, rather than in a reactive way. I’m hugely in favour of it, it will lead to a more energised and dynamic union.” 6
Photo: Michael Crean photography.
Amanda O’Hara is a training officer at the Department of Social Protection, a branch representative for the PSEU, and a member of the newly formed PSEU youth committee. Amanda previously worked at Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) where she was an IMPACT activist for the OSI branch, and a founding member of IMPACT’s youth committee. As someone uniquely experienced as an activist with two of the unions involved in the proposed New Union Project, she talks to MARTINA O’LEARY about a possible future. AMANDA O’HARA remains as we all remember her from her days as an IMPACT activist. Energised, enthusiastic and hugely positive about...well pretty much everything. When we meet she recalls her time as an IMPACT activist, how much she enjoyed working with her OSI colleagues - and how much she had learned from them with the same enthusiasm and energy.
For Amanda, it boils down to combined strength. “We will have three sets of experience, intellect, different levels of involvement and understanding of various types of campaigns. We can combine all of that to enhance our work into the future,” she says.
Membership development Amanda says that if the amalgamation is approved by the upcoming ballot, the new union will have three legs. “Number one you have to develop your membership. You have to recruit and retain members, train them up and organise the branches. The New Union Project will have greater capacity for membership development.”
Stronger voice “We will have 80,000 members, this gives us a much stronger hand. I also think bargaining, success and reward is huge. We will have a strong block of negotiators that will work on our behalf, with a very clear direction, and a consistent approach to their negotiations. We’ll become stronger, and we’ll have a stronger voice,” she adds. ‰
Relevant to society
“When you’re looking at close to 80,000 members, it’s a very strong negotiating power. I know that also brings a set of reservations members might have, in that their voice maybe lost. I’m thinking from a PSEU perspective. Our members have a very strong connection with head office and a strong reliance on them, and they might feel that they might lose this,” says Amanda. “I can only reassure them having read some of the proposals under the New Union Project that all of these structures have been very well thought out and nobody’s voice will be left unheard.”
Amanda believes that union involvement around civic participation is vital. “Trade unions need to remain relevant in Irish society. People need to know about us. If we want to recruit members, they have to have an understanding of what unions are for, and see that we’re relevant beyond the workplace. This is particularly important with young workers, as they are the future of the organisation.”
Amanda reminisces fondly about her time as an IMPACT member and representative. “I remember the biennial delegate conference, where the various sectors met – workers from health, civil services, local government, education, aviation. When I was working in OSI we used to meet with members working in various sectors from foresters in Coillte to cabin crew. We used to have some great conversations and we learned so much from each other as we had similar set of problems,” she said.
“I hope that they can discuss this and members can see exactly what is being done to make sure their voices will be heard.”
“The PSEU is the smallest of the three unions involved, and I know there are some reservations about being the smaller entity. All three unions will be communicating with their members over the coming months. I hope that they can discuss this and members can see exactly what is being done to make sure their voices will be heard and they’re not being subsumed into a bigger organisation. If it goes through we are all becoming the one organisation. It’s important to get that message across,” says Amanda.
“If members back the amalgamation in the ballot, the new Union Project enables this to happen in a very productive and useful way. People will be trained and developed as activists, and supported by greater resources, allowing more time to focus on workplace issues,” she says.
“We need to alleviate this fear. We need to talk to our members, be very clear about what this means, we can’t ignore it. At the end of the day the membership is the union. The strength lies with the membership, we need to make sure the message gets out there. If agreed by ballot, we’ll become one stronger and effective organisation. It will enhance how we will do our business.” l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Union merger: Your questions answered
Its new structures are designed to ensure that all grades, including professionals and technical staff, have a stronger and more effective voice.
Will it cost me more in union subs? No. Subscription arrangements for existing members will not change.
Will my union branch be merged? All existing branches would transfer into the new union as they are. But their members and activists will have access to better services.
Every IMPACT member will be asked to vote on a proposed merger this autumn, on foot of proposals to create a new 80,000-strong union with the PSEU and CPSU. BERNARD HARBOR answers your questions.
A proposal to merge three existing trade unions into one new union in 2018. The three unions are The Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), IMPACT, and the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU). If it goes ahead, we’ll create the second largest union on the island of Ireland.
One strong negotiating block representing over 80,000 members in the public service, civil service, semi-state sector, community and voluntary organisations, and some major private companies
One articulate and expert voice speaking for public servants and public services across the country
Substantially enhanced services to existing and future members through the pooling of talents and economies of scale, and
Agreed new union structures will ensure that all grades – big, small, or medium – will retain control over the issues that directly affect them.
Negotiators from the three unions have worked together to agree a rule book and transitional arrangements that maintain or enhance members’ entitlements and preserve the identity and autonomy of grades and branches, however small or large. They also prevent any grade or sector dominating the others. Smaller specialist groups will continue to receive dedicated representation on issues specific to their members. There will also be a written code of service standards, and a new ombudsman to champion the interests of individuals or branches who have service complaints or feel they are ‘left behind’ in the merger. The ombudsman will be independent, well-resourced and have sufficient status to make determinations.
Will there be changes to the IMPACT divisions?
Fórsa. The name was chosen by the combined executives of the CPSU, PSEU and IMPACT following research and development by the Red Dog creative agency.
And there are six-year transitional arrangements, which are mainly (but not exclusively) applicable to the most directly affected sectors – the civil service and semi-state sectors – to ease the transition to new structures.
What will the new union be called?
A larger, stronger and more powerful organisation would deliver better outcomes for members in pay negotiations, workplace representation, individual membership benefits, and services to branches and activists, through the creation of:
Your right to vote in elections and ballots, and to participate in branch and other union meetings, will not change
“New arrangements will maintain or enhance members’ entitlements and preserve the identity and autonomy of grades and branches, however small or large.”
What am I voting on?
What’s the point of a new union?
A strong foundation for enhancing trade union organisation and campaigning in the public service and beyond.
The proposal also includes strong safeguards to ensure an effective voice for individual grades, and to preserve and enhance the best traditions of each of the three constituent unions.
Will my interests get by-passed in such a large organisation? That’s a question that came up when IMPACT was formed through a similar merger in 1991. But the answer is ‘no’ because: l
The merger won’t change your union branch
How would our negotiating hand be strengthened?
There will be continuity of your allocated union official
You will have the same, or enhanced, union communications, information and training options
The new organisation would be the dominant union voice in public service negotiations and a voice that employers, public representatives, and the media couldn’t ignore. Among other advantages, it would create a single voice for clerical officers and equivalent grades across the civil and public services, and for all grade IV-VII equivalents. ‰
Your existing entitlements to financial and other benefits will be at least as good as now
There will be a written code of service standards and an independent ombudsman with powers to deal with members’ complaints
There will be changes in the civil service and services & enterprises divisions, because these are the areas where all three unions have members. There is no membership overlap in the other IMPACT divisions (education, health, local government and municipal). Therefore, they will retain their existing membership and structures. Their executive committees will remain unchanged until the next scheduled elections. The new civil service division will be about the same size as IMPACT’s existing health & welfare division. Both will have six divisional members on the new national executive committee. The other IMPACT divisions (education, local government and municipal employees) will retain their existing number of divisional members on the new national executive committee. Five officers will be elected as officers of the national executive at the first conference of the new union, which will be in May 2018 if the merger goes ahead. The new rules ensure that one officer will come from each of the divisions, with the local government and municipal divisions combined for this purpose. continued on page 10 ‰ WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
No. The new union will have members in six distinct sectors – the civil service, education, health & welfare, local government, municipal employees, and ‘services and enterprises,’ which includes staff in commercial and non-commercial semistates and in the private sector. The agreed structures will ensure that each of these retains autonomy over issues that are unique to their sector. Each will have its own biennial conference, with powers to determine policies on issues relevant to the sector, and to adopt advisory policies on broader union and social issues. Each sector will also have its own national executive, with powers to sanction industrial action. Each division will also elect members to an all-union national executive committee.
“The enhanced strength and visibility of the new union will make it a focal point for workers, including young workers, who want to become part of an active and effective trade union.” All-union policies on national issues, or issues that affect members of more than one division, will be determined at a biennial all-union conference. This conference will also elect national union officers and the rules ensure one officer will come from each of the divisions (with the local government and municipal divisions combined for this purpose).
Will technical and professional civil servants be dominated by general grades? No. There will be three officers of the new civil service division and the rules provide that a representative of each of the three constituencies (IMPACT, CPSU and PSEU) will hold one of these positions from day one, and into the future. As well as the three officers, membership of the new civil service division executive will be balanced between the three constituencies. There will be ten elected from CPSU grades, ten from PSEU grades and six from IMPACT grades. Branches will remain in their current form, ensuring that smaller, specialist groups continue to have control – and dedicated representation – on industrial relations issues specific to their members. And new ‘equivalent grade committees’ will make it easier to progress professional and technical issues that affect members in more than one branch. Other advantages for civil service members and branches, including those representing technical and professional grades, include:
Potential for greater influence within departments and agencies – on issues like filling vacant posts, increasing staffing, and opposing unfair work allocation – through co-operation on the ground
The ability to act as one union, with one voice, will stop management playing the interests of one group against another. We will be able to deal with differences before meeting management and put a single agreed position to the employer
More straightforward recruitment of new members at local level
Greater bargaining power on terms and conditions, including the ability to resolve anomalies and disparities between comparable grades.
Will any one sector dominate the new union?
Health & Social Care Professionals
National Social Care Workers Survey 2017
Can any of the unions change the agreed rules? No. Any rule changes will be determined by the national delegate conference, as is the current practice in IMPACT. Under a transitional arrangement, a 75% majority will be required to change union rules until 2024. After that, it will revert to a two-thirds majority requirement.
Will the new union be financially secure? Yes. In fact, by pooling the resources of the three unions we’ll be financially stronger. From day one, the new union will have €85 million in assets including a €50 million dispute fund.
IMPACT’s social care worker survey was conducted in May 2017. The findings show an unacceptably high rate of assaults in the workplace, with many rating management’s response to incidents as poor. IMPACT organiser GRACE WILLIAMS takes a look at the initial results.
During the negotiations on the merger an independent auditor was assigned to undertake a ‘due diligence’ exercise. They found that all three unions were financially sound.
Will the new union be able to attract new members? The three unions believe that the enhanced strength and visibility of the new union will make it a focal point for workers – including young workers – who want to become part of an active and effective trade union. There would be huge potential to increase union influence – and outcomes for members – through strategic organisation, recruitment and campaigning on workplace and social issues including housing, health, equality, taxation, and international solidarity. When IMPACT was formed in 1991 it had about 24,000 members. That has increased to almost 60,000 today, largely because of the increased resources and influence that came with that merger. A new union would be even stronger, with improved benefits for members and great growth potential. Bernard Harbor is IMPACT’s head of communications. A more detailed FAQ document is available on the union’s website l
WHEN WE talk about the relevance of workers’ rights in today’s context, some will argue that workers have sufficient protection already. They will simply state that workplaces are safe, that workers receive all the protection that they need from legislation, and that it’s a battle that’s already been won. The idea that anyone commonly experiences physical, verbal, sexual assault in their workplace is something that many might think is a thing of the past. However it’s a daily reality faced by those working in social care.
According to a social care worker survey conducted by IMPACT in May, 45% of social care workers have experienced physical assault in their workplace over the last three years. Of these, 41% said they experience physical abuse on a daily or weekly basis. This is just one example of the startling statistics which this survey has uncovered. The survey was open to anyone practising in social care throughout the month of May. With over 2,000 responses to the survey, from both IMPACT members and non-members, there’s a clear appetite among social care workers to have their voices heard. Many common themes ran throughout the responses. Supports and reactions to assault varied across different workplaces. 47% felt the reaction of management to reporting a physical assault to be dismissive, with many respondents stating that they had been told this is simply the
reality of their chosen profession. It’s clear that many professionals feel unsupported in the aftermath of assault. Supports that were offered to those who had experienced assault were not consistent across all workplaces, with some being referred to Occupational Health and Counselling, while others were offered nothing. Although these particular statistics paint an uncomfortable picture of work in social care, the survey did present a number of extremely positive statistics for the sector. Social care is becoming an increasingly well-qualified profession. Seventy per cent of those who responded to the survey have a thirdlevel qualification, with 38% having a level 8 Degree and 16% with a level 9 Degree. With 60% of respondents saying that they intend to be working in social care work in five years, it’s clear that for many it’s a vocation they want to continue to pursue. Eighty per cent of social care workers also have a permanent contract, whether that’s full-time or part-time, while 71% have been working in social care for at least six years. Only 14% of respondents are working in the private sector. The survey covered a range of other topics also, asking respondents about their understanding of CORU, potential career prospects, and professional supervision. A final report outlining all the key results will be published shortly by the IMPACT National Social Care Workers’ Vocational Group and will form the basis of our upcoming Pride in Your Profession Campaign. The report, when published, will be available to members at impact.ie l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Rhyming history As he was digging through the IMPACT archives last year to compile IMPACT 25, LUGHAN DEANE, born in the same year that IMPACT was formed, was intrigued by the stories of how the union came together. He looks back and observes that history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it often rhymes. “The new union will provide a vibrant focus for the defence and development of the public sector and for the protection and improvement of the conditions of public service workers. A larger union will have more clout in the trade union movement, with employers and the Government. A larger union will be more cost effective, freeing up resources to allow for the development of a comprehensive range of services to members. A larger union is a stronger union. We are satisfied that the proposed structure builds on the best of the structures of the unions and improves on them. We know that there is strong support amongst members for the merger. The months ahead will be demanding on staff and representatives alike. We will not be able to please everyone on every point. There is no group or union in the public service that represents staff across the service the way we will do. The merger will mark an historic milestone on the road to greater unity of purpose for public service trade unions.” THESE WERE the words that preceded the formation of IMPACT 27 years ago, ahead of the merger between LGPSU, UPTCS and the Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. The words on this page could just as easily have been written last week about the potential merger between IMPACT, the CPSU and the PSEU to create a new union: Fórsa. On that point, here are some more very relevant words on that merger 27 years ago:
Martyn Turner's depiction of the merger that formed IMPACT.
Peter Cassells, then general secretary of the ICTU welcomed the merger, writing that “for many years, Congress has been encouraging unions to come together.” He said that congress “hoped the process would continue so that the trade union movement would be strengthened to meet the challenges of the years ahead.”
“The public service executive union send warm fraternal greetings to IMPACT. We have enjoyed good relations with UPTCS and the LGPSU and look forward to developing these with IMPACT” – Dan Murphy, former general secretary of the PSEU.
Peter Cassells wasn’t the only one hoping for further mergers in public sector trade unions. The Christmas edition of IMPACT News in 1991 reported “One of the stalwarts of the IMETU was the late Barry Colgan who had a dream of one big Public Service Union.”
“The Civil and Public Service Union wish IMPACT every success in the future” – John O’Dowd, former general secretary of the CPSU.
Look at us now, 27 years into the future. We don’t have flying cars or hover-boards but we could be welcoming one big public service union l
WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
You’re not alone
Barry explained that IMPACT is encouraging all school secretaries to attend a meeting where they can, and is also encouraging members to bring along a school secretary colleague who isn’t an IMPACT member. Details of the meetings are available at impact.ie (see the events calendar on the home page). “We want to be able to outline the advantages of being a member of Eileen Barry and Barry Cunningham. IMPACT trade union to those school secretaries who haven’t yet joined a union.
Photo: Domnick Walsh.
IMPACT’s school secretaries branch have recently launched a recruitment campaign with the aim of establishing parity across the grades. Seventy new members have joined over the past six months. MARTINA O’LEARY spoke with some of the branch committee to find out what’s happening. Multi-tasking AS IMPACT official Barry Cunningham, puts it, the main issue and concern across the country for school secretaries is lack of parity. IMPACT wants every school secretary across the country to be employed by the Department of Education and Skills. “At the moment a few school secretaries are employed by the Department of Education and Skills, and others are employed by the school, who then gets a grant from the Department. The problem is they have very different pay, terms and conditions, some working below a living wage of €11.50 after 15 to 20 years working in a school,” he says. Barry explains there was an arbitration issued in 2015 which gave a 10% pay rise to school secretaries over four years. That’s a 2.5% increase a year, up until January 2019. While it’s a welcome boost, it still doesn’t bridge the gap between the Department of Education and Skills paid secretaries and the grant paid secretaries. “In order to achieve parity for school secretaries, we need to engage with them across the country. We need to get them interested in the cause and becoming members of IMPACT. It is vital that they engage with the union,” says Barry. Branch chairperson Maria Dunne outlines the main frustration. “We’re categorised as public servants when it came to FEMPI pay cuts, yet we don’t have pension entitlements or the conditions of public servants.” 14
Regional meetings & AGM
The school secretaries branch launched its new newsletter earlier this year.
Over the decades, the school secretary role has developed to include a wide range of work and responsibilities. The official job description is varied and differs from school to school, with many working on their own. However, across the board, the school secretary is vital to the smooth running of any school. There are 610 pupils in Eileen Barry’s secondary school in Waterford. “We have three school secretaries, with three individual roles. We work together, we intertwine, depending on what’s going on,” she explains. “I look after reception, which sees a lot of traffic, take phone calls, organise student files and keep the data bases updated. I record attendance and absences and make sure all the leaving cert results are recorded correctly. My colleagues do the accounts, order supplies, pay the bills, process wages and manage the website.” Kathleen O’Doherty has over 20 years’ experience as a school secretary in Donegal. Her current school has almost 600 pupils. “We report directly to the principal and work with the teaching and all other staff. In most schools there is a sign on the wall to say report to the secretary’s office, we are the first point of contact, no matter who it is. “In primary schools it’s the secretary who is the receptionist, the telephonist, looks after finance, and so on. You’re doing everything,” explains Kathleen.‰
“We’re multi-tasking all the time. We use the on-line claims system which is platform for communication between Department of Education and Skills to submit details of absences and make claims for substitute teachers and SNAs. “This requires a lot of concentration as accurate information must be submitted. This is near impossible for the busy secretary as there are constant interruptions from the phone and reception,”she says. Maria Dunne adds, “You hit the ground running in the morning and you never know what’s going to happen next. Anything could happen. A good day is when there are no disasters, when you’ve your list of jobs to do, and you come in and get through it.” Do they enjoy the work? I’m met with a unanimously positive response. “I think that’s why there are so many secretaries still in the job. In fact, even with the arbitration report, there are still secretaries in the job 15 to 20 years, who are still not on a living wage because they are still not up €11.50 after 15 to 18 years’ service. They wouldn’t be there if didn’t enjoy the work,” says Kathleen.
Recruitment drive Eileen explains that, because of the nature of the job school secretaries are very isolated. “There could be 300 students and 30 teachers, they have no one else to sound off, or get moral support from. Some days can be very difficult.
“Our principal message to school secretaries is that, as an IMPACT member, you’re no longer alone. A school secretary’s job can mean they can feel isolated, and we’re here to address that. These meetings provide an opportunity to meet with other school secretaries, share their experiences and find out what’s happening at national level. “We also want to let school secretaries know that, in the event of a workplace related issue, IMPACT is here to support you. There’s strength and unity in numbers,” he said.
AGM The school secretary branch will be holding its annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday 9th December in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise. All IMPACT school secretary branch members are welcome. “Our recruitment drive is about trying to get members and non-members to know who we are and what we do. We’re school secretaries too, we’re all doing the same job. “We understand the issues and the problems that exist. It’s so important to get more members, and for them to know they have a voice. Just because other IMPACT members aren’t sitting beside them, doesn’t mean the support isn’t there. It could be just down the road in another school,” she says. Barry Cunningham adds, “We’ve represented many school secretaries on a range of issues from pay, hours, job security and unfair dismissal. Representation on all these, and other issues is guaranteed when you’re an IMPACT member.” As part of the recruitment drive, the branch produced a newsletter which was posted to every school in the country. Each member of the committee has a region they are responsible for. Maria adds, “We’re holding regional meetings around the country. In most instances the school secretaries attending the regional meetings have never met with other IMPACT members before. These are secretaries in careers from 10 to 30 years and it’s the first time many of them have had a point of contact and a place to meet. With 70 new members having joined in recent months, the message is starting to get out there l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
School completion campaign
Inequality at the heart of education Ireland’s school completion programme has helped improve primary school attendance and increase the number of young people sitting the leaving cert. But there’s an inequality at the heart of the system. BERNARD HARBOR reports. IMPACT members working to boost equal opportunities in our education system are themselves subject to an unacceptable inequality in their terms and conditions. A 2015 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) review of the schools completion programme (SCP) found that primary school attendance, and the proportion of young people sitting the leaving cert, both improved after the programme was put in place. Yet two-thirds of the public servants delivering these impressive results have no occupational pension provision at all. The programme has made a huge contribution to improving school attendance and completion among pupils, predominantly in DEIS areas – those in receipt of additional school funding because they serve deprived communities. There are currently 124 SCP programmes across the country, each with a modest number of project workers managed by a single coordinator. Approximately a third of these programmes are funded directly through Education and Training Boards (ETBs), which means staff have access to the public service pension scheme.
Campaign But the remaining two-thirds are funded through management committees, and the staff have no occupational pension provision at all. This is despite a commitment, given during the 2015 Lansdowne Road talks, that the inequality would be addressed. This autumn, IMPACT is stepping up its campaign to win pension provision for all school completion staff. The union is 16
School completion programme
taking its case for pension justice to national and local politicians in a concerted lobby. And its school completion branch has also achieved an overwhelming mandate for industrial action to underpin the campaign if necessary.
the findings, the then-Tusla chief executive Gordon Jeyes said they pointed to “the excellent work being done by all those involved with SCP in promoting attendance, retention and participation.”
In letters to ministers and opposition spokespeople sent over the summer, IMPACT deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan deplored the lack of progress on the issue. He said there was no indication that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs or the Department of Education and Skills intended to address the issue.
“Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone recently declined an invitation to discuss the issue with IMPACT. But the union is pressing on with meetings with opposition spokespeople.”
“The relatively small number of dedicated staff affected by this inequality have given 15 of the best years of their careers to a service that has been widely applauded for providing effective and high-quality supports to troubled young people. Yet the majority of staff delivering these outcomes continue to be disregarded by the Department of Children and the Department of Education,” he said. The ESRI report said that “school principals are generally very positive about the impact of the programme on at-risk children and young people in their schools.” Responding to ‰
Yet, incredibly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone recently declined an invitation to discuss the issue with IMPACT. The union is pressing on with meetings with opposition spokespeople. Meanwhile, union members are engaging with their local councillors in the belief that they can win support for fairness for SCP staff working for enhanced equality in their local communities. They argue that the Government and relevant
6,000 children and young people supported in schools.
800 out-of-school young people helped.
Staff deliver in-school supports, after-school clubs, learning and study supports, therapeutic interventions, tailored provision to children and schools, as well as attendance monitoring.
124 programmes in communities across the country.
At a cost of less than €25 million (2014).
departments must commit to the extension of existing pension arrangements to all SCP staff in order to deliver equity across the service. Kevin Callinan said the process to deliver this must be fasttracked. “SCP staff have already waited 15 years for an obvious inequality to be addressed. The issue needs to be decoupled from other reviews and reforms of the SCP and its services. IMPACT and its SCP members will contribute constructively to discussions on the future shape of the service, but equality can and must be delivered now,” he said. Bernard Harbor is IMPACT’s head of communications l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
In the kitchen
Cooking the Books Food, cooking and eating are never far from DANIEL DEVERY’S thoughts. His fascination with the demands of the restaurant trade, and the pace of work in professional kitchens, even influences his favourite holiday reading material. Here he gives us a few recommendations on books about food and cooking… just don’t expect them to contain any recipes. MY DAY-to-day reading is a heavy diet of current affairs, politics and industrial relations. It’s a feature of the day job, which also involves writing, editing, thinking (and talking) about this stuff all week long. I’m not complaining, it’s work I enjoy. However, one of the more jarring aspects of this particular diet is that I find it hard to commit to reading for pleasure when I’m not working. Fiction, for some reason I still can’t fathom, is particularly challenging, and usually only tackled when there’s a decent break from the workplace. I have a very fond memory of being housebound by the snow a few years ago, and getting lost in Jonathan Franzen’s excellent novels The Corrections and Freedom. It took a blizzard to capture my attention but it was worth it. In anticipation of this year’s summer break I stocked up on a variety of titles, hoping to find myself lost in a book binge. Then, a few days before I went away I listened to an interview with New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton. The conversation was about her memoir Blood, Bones & Butter. The title alone was enough for me to order it straight away. I devoured the book in the first few days of my holiday. Hamilton’s story is one of a bohemian childhood in Pennsylvania, where theatrical spring lamb roasts for 200 guests were an annual event. Her French mother, a former ballerina, inspires a lifelong interest in food. The food ranges from the corner deli egg-on-a-roll in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 1980s, to handmade pasta in an Italian villa with her inlaws.
Hustle Along the way Hamilton is penniless in Europe, in trouble with the NYPD, unexpectedly married, in and out of school and completes a masters in fiction writing at the University of Michigan. In 1999 she takes over an abandoned and roachinfested restaurant premises in Lower Manhattan. She opens ‘Prune’ and it remains one of the city’s most talked-about restaurants. Hamilton’s writing is seamless prose that is gritty, direct and full of charm. She conjures up the intensity of Prune’s busy kitchen at the height of service as readily as she does the cocaine-fuelled chaos of her days as a cocktail waitress. In short, hers is a rollicking tale fuelled by curiosity, an appetite for hard work and an innate understanding of food.
Lust for life The Iggy Pop of food writing is, of course, chef-turned-travelling-appetite Anthony Bourdain. His days as a line cook are long behind him, but Bourdain still trades on his reputation as a hardboiled ex-junkie punk chef. His travel programmes, Parts Unknown and No Reservations can be slightly corny over-scripted affairs, but he travels to some very cool places to eat and drink with abandon. His YouTube promos with CNN’s Anderson Cooper are actually worth watching as he tends to drop the persona and speak from the heart about his adventures. Bourdain gave the food publishing world a mild bout of indigestion when he served up Kitchen Confidential; Adventures ‰
infuses great dignity into the people who do the work. Buford also travels to Italy to meet the people who helped train Bitali in the ways of authentic Italian cooking. You come away from this book thinking about the prep cook from Colombia and the grill cook from Puerto Rico more than the celebrity with his name over the door (incidentally Batali was an underling to Gordon Ramsay in his first solo London venture, an episode which is outlined in the book.) Buford gets stuck in to this world but remains, properly, an outsider. It’s a lesson to those of us with pretensions about cooking and eating (myself included) that ordinary lives in a professional kitchen are full of extraordinary demands. in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000. The book is part memoir but also an unflinching look at the intensity of life behind the kitchen door. Bourdain reckons it takes a masochistic, irrational dedication to cooking to survive among what he happily describes as the ‘misfits’ whose careers are spent in professional kitchens.
Side orders None of these books have recipes. And that’s OK. But I’d be surprised if they didn’t appeal to the type of person who spends at least a chunk of their weekend cooking something special.
Bourdain’s tales are tall but deliciously entertaining. There’s a rock n’roll swagger to his writing upon which his subsequent broadcasting career is entirely based. It’s ribeye steak rather than fillet, and served very rare. And I would definitely heed his advice about not ordering fish on a Monday and being wary of ‘today’s special’.
Kitchen slave Bill Buford is an American author and journalist who spent most of the 1980s in England. His time there led to his 1990 book about football hooliganism. Among the Thugs was the result of eight years of immersive research. This immersive approach served Buford particularly well when he came to write Heat. This 2006 publication is Buford’s account as his stint as a ‘kitchen slave’ at ‘Babbo’, the New York restaurant run by celebrity chef Mario Batali. Fancying himself as capable home cook, Buford was curious to find out if he had what it took to work in a professional kitchen. He met Batali at a dinner party and offered to work for free. Batali took him on and had him work every station in the restaurant from the dishwasher to the grill. The full title of the book is Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. In the hands of an experienced writer like Buford the kitchen and its cast of characters come to life. You’re left in no doubt just how incredibly tough an environment this is, and Buford
These are books to season the hours you spend waiting for a slow roast to fill the house with delicious smells, or while your dough is slowly proving. Perhaps best enjoyed while sipping a glass of something fermented, but just as easily enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a mug of tea. The world has more than enough cookbooks l
WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Rhubarb and custard If you fancy growing a sumptuous fruit and veg combination of rhubarb and strawberries for next summer’s deserts, it’s time to start planning your crop. Our resident gardener ITA PATTON offers a step by step approach to growing and harvesting these sweet ruby favourites. RHUBARB AND strawberry crumble has to be on my list of top five favourite desserts. Luckily it’s ridiculously easy to make, a perfect marriage of fruit and vegetable. Rhubarb, even though we mostly associate it with sweet dishes, is in fact a vegetable. Happily, both ingredients come from plants that are very easy to grow. Rhubarb or Rheum rhabarbarum, originated in Siberia. It’s a large deep rooting perennial with attractive pink to red leafstalks and large, triangular, glossy leaves. It is the perfect starter plant for the firsttime vegetable grower. The leaves of rhubarb contain oxalic acid and are poisonous, however it is perfectly fine to put them in your compost heap.
If available, apply some well-rotted manure around the outside of the bucket or tall pot. The resultant tender pinkish red stems which emerge about three to four weeks ahead of the normal season have an exceptionally subtle and sweet flavour.
all year around in the supermarkets. Unfortunately they tend to be watery tasteless fruits that don’t exactly evoke sweet warm summer evenings. To grow your own, position the flexible stems, or runners, from a parent plant in a way that the nodes, with their newly forming baby plants, can root into the soil or a small pot. Once the young plantlet is established, the runner can be cut. During winter and early spring the rooted runners can be potted.
Harvesting When harvesting don't remove all the stalks at any one time - a half to two thirds removal is advised. The stalks should be removed by holding down at the base and twisting off, rather than cutting with a knife. Rhubarb can be harvested until midsummer, after which the stems become rather tough and greener in colour. This halt to the harvest allows the plant to produce enough foliage to build up reserves for the following year.
Sweet fruit The second main ingredient of my 2018 scrumptious summer crumble will also require autumn/winter work. Garden strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa), are a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria (strawberry), and are available
The rhubarb plant in my garden didn’t provide the kitchen with a good crop this year so my plan this winter is to divide it when it’s dormant, a job that should be done every five to six years. Using a sharp spade dig up the plant and divide it into good sized clumps (roughly 10cm to 15cm in diameter), ensuring each clump has at least two undamaged "eyes" or buds.
Strawberries can be grown in hanging baskets, window boxes, growing bags or in the open ground as long as it is sunny, sheltered and fertile. During the growing season, water and feed regularly with a liquid feed. If planted in the soil tuck straw or shredded newspapers underneath to prevent them from dirt and damage as the fruit start to develop. If space is at a minimum there is hope on the strawberry front. Every home should be able to make space to grow alpine or wild strawberry plants (Fragaria vesca) which produce small fruits from early summer to late autumn. Granted their harvests won't be near as bountiful as the more popular summer fruiting varieties, but their fruits are sweet and have a superb flavour. I know of a window box with five, well-tended mature alpine strawberries of the 'Baron Solemacher' variety that reliably provides a handful of delicious fruit every two or three days. Bespoke crumble is on the way l
Planting When planting make sure that the top of the divisions (the 'crowns') are 2.5cm below ground level. If the soil is very heavy it’s better to have the crowns above soil level in order to prevent rotting. If you don't have an old rhubarb plant to split up, winter time is also the perfect time to plant a new one. There are a number of named varieties available, some that crop early and others with finer stems. Rhubarb has a reputation of thriving anywhere in the garden, but it does require a sunny site with well drained, moisture-retentive soil for decent cropping. Prepare the site before planting by removing all perennial weeds and dig in well-rotted manure or compost.
For established clumps, plants can be forced to harvest earlier by covering the crowns in December or January with a layer of straw, or similar mulch, and placing an upturned bucket on the mound to exclude light. This is a small scale version of the technique developed in the nineteenth century to produce ‘forced’ rhubarb in West Yorkshire’s famed ‘Rhubarb Triangle’. ‰
Ita Patton is a craft gardener in the National Botanic Gardens.
Winter jobs in your garden l
Make leaf mould by storing collected leaves in a wire netting container or in black sacks with holes pierced in the sides. The result will be a wonderful soil conditioner in one to two years.
Prune tall roses and buddleias by about a third to prevent wind rocking, which can cause root damage and destabilise the plant.
Clean pots and seed trays with hot water and disinfectant, ready for next spring.
Dig heavy soil during dry weather and leave it rough for frost to break down. This will also help to expose pests for the birds to eat.
Plant bare-rooted deciduous hedges in early winter. Before buying, make sure that plants have good healthy fibrous root system. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
At the movies
Signal disruptions Subscriptions to online streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV, continue to grow as people seek alternatives to cable and satellite subscriptions. The growth of these companies has disrupted how we consume media and has led to speculation about the demise of traditional viewing habits in general, and cinema in particular. MORGAN O’BRIEN takes a closer look.
Main photo: dreamstime.com
OF COURSE, the death knell for cinema has been sounded many times in the past. The advent of blockbusters in the 1970s was seen by many as the end of serious filmmaking, and the subsequent innovation of home video in the 1980s was predicted to diminish cinema audience numbers to the point of extinction. These developments certainly altered the nature of how films are produced and consumed, but they didn’t usher the demise of cinema. More recently, television, previously the lesser format, has assumed a growing level of prestige amongst audiences and has a growing gravitational pull on actors and directors. From the late 1990s, television shows like The Sopranos and The Wire established the medium, in the eyes of audiences, performers and producers, as the equal of film and cinema. To those for whom cinema has become a site of turgid repetition, stuffed with boilerplate formats, predictable sequels and thinly veiled marketing ploys, television has become a grander canvas upon which to present complex stories. In 22
the ability to watch what you want when you want. The company, which started life in 1997 as, quaintly enough, a mail order DVD rental service, launched its familiar streaming service in 2007, which warehoused large swathes of television and film. In 2013, the company took the significant step of producing its own content. Netflix can be seen as initially drawing on an existing market by resuscitating Arrested Development and rolling out big ticket shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. These shows were significant in earning Emmy nominations and awards, and helped legitimise web-based programming. Much like the music industry’s inertia over downloading and streaming, major film and television studios have been slow to react to the reorientation of the media landscape. However, Netflix’s increased emphasis on its own productions may well be in anticipation of studios moving to offer their own services. Disney is the only major studio to make such a move so far. However, in many respects Netflix continues to be a step in front and has established a ‘new normal’ in viewing habits that the traditional players still appear to be catching up with. Netflix’s expansion of its own productions has appeared to favour a range of niche, genre shows rather than aiming for mass market appeal. In
UPCOMING RELEASES BLADE RUNNER 2049 (6th October) Long awaited follow up to the 1982 sci-fi classic with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford reprising his role as world-weary detective Decker.
recent years, the cultural impact of shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones has struck much deeper than contemporary cinematic releases.
THE SNOWMAN (13th October) Michael Fassbender stars as Detective Harry Hole in this adaptation of the Jo Nesbo novel about a murderer who leaves clues on a snowman.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES (20th October) Drama based on the real life tennis matches between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell.
However, the idea of traditional mass audience television is itself an increasingly archaic convention. Companies like Netflix can be seen as both tapping into and hastening a sea change in how people watch television, with the tradition of regularly scheduled programming falling by the wayside to be replaced by binge-watching on demand. Equally, we are increasingly accustomed to viewing television and film on laptops, tablets and phones, which has led many to question the appeal of the ‘big screen’ experience in this context. Netflix remains the largest streaming service and now boasts 104 million subscribers worldwide. It has provided audiences with a wide range of television and film content and, crucially, ‰
THOR: RAGNAROK (27th October) The third stand-alone Thor film and, astonishingly the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sees Chris Hemsworth return as the Norse god to be pitted against his former ally the Hulk. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (3rd November) Kenneth Branagh directs an adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery novel about a murder on the titular train. The stellar cast includes Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp.
recent years, Netflix has offered audiences comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace & Frankie, dramas like Ozark and The Get Down, and scifi such as Sense8 and Stranger Things. Its model of working appeals to makers of television and film by reputedly offering them a greater Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. level of creative freedom. In contrast with traditional practices of television production, Netflix approves shows without the need for pilot episodes, varies running times to the needs of storylines, and has no commercials. Interestingly, the company refuses to reveal audience figures and has, until recently, been slow to cancel shows. This sits in contrast with television’s obsession with viewing figures and Hollywood’s pathological fixation with box office numbers. Arguably, this allows Netflix shows to develop and build audience over time. Equally, this practice can often lead to work of a better quality. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced large, often cumbersome and indistinguishable, summer blockbusters, the set of television series created for Netflix, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, has arguably been a far richer and more interesting viewing experience. Since 2016, Netflix has entered the film distribution and production game with mixed results. Films such as Siege at Jadotville and The Incredible Jessica James have been critically well received, while Sandy Wexler, part of the company’s deal with Adam Sandler, and the Brad Pitt vehicle War Machine were less lauded. Later in the year will see the release of Bright, a big budget sci-fi thriller directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith. The film is seen as a potential test of whether Netflix can compete with the major film studios the way it has with television l PADDINGTON 2 (10th November) Sequel to 2015’s charming Paddington about the continuing adventures of the Peruvian bear and the Brown family. In this instalment Paddington attempts to apprehend a book thief. JUSTICE LEAGUE (17th November) Latest instalment of the DC universe series of films, which, apart from Wonder Woman earlier in the summer, has failed to ignite. This follow up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team of heroes to battle the otherworldy threat of Steppenwolf. SUBURBICON (24th November) George Clooney directs Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in a black comedy exposing the rigid mores and biases of small town America, which bubble to the surface with violent consequences. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Play it loud
crackling venue. All the more enjoyable as Dave himself seemed unburdened of the responsibilities of his youth, fronting a hit band. The thing is, a few months earlier I had been to see Rankin Roger’s version of The Beat. While most of the set list was the same, both gigs were very different, but enjoyable in their own right. Roger’s Beat leaned more towards the Jamaican toasting style, for which he and his son (Ranking Jnr) are famed. Wakeling’s Beat stayed very close to the original sound.
Next time you hear that iconic intro to Mirror in the Bathroom, please give a salute to Papa Saxa.
Splitting the proceeds As ABBA once said, “Breaking up is never easy, I know but I have to go”, but they never said who should get custody of the back catalogue. RAYMOND CONNOLLY looks at the history of band splits and how the legacy is handled when you have multiple versions of the same band on tour. The music, it seems, can comfortably outlive the relationships. don't go and have breakfast with that person the next morning. In a hotel. And that's what we had to do.”
“I WOULD rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian” proclaimed Stephen Patrick Morrissey. Mozzer has, thus far, stayed true to his word and avoided that particular protein source. And that’s despite a legion of middle aged men eager to throw bunches of flowers at the Bard of Stretford and his finest ensemble. ”I did not break up The Beatles. You can’t have it both ways. If you are going to blame me for breaking up The Beatles you should be thankful that I made them into myth rather than a crumbling group.” You can’t deny that Yoko Ono has a point. As Alan Partridge said of Paul McCartney’s next project, “Wings? They’re only the band The Beatles could have been.”
I read that as ‘looking at you is putting me off my granola and flax seeds.’ Splitting up a band is one thing. Re-unions, or parts thereof, are quite another. All splits in the music industry seem to be acrimonious. The sound of skin and hair flying is usually made by opportunistic barristers tugging at each other’s wigs and filling their boots as the band tear each other apart (see the editor’s sidebar about New Order). Still friends, Dave Wakeling, Papa Saxa and Ranking Roger pictured in 2015 (via @TheBeat).
Awkward In the world of rock ‘n’ roll, the great split is as certain as night following day. In the post-Peter Green phase of Fleetwood Mac (a nod to the anoraks there) Stevie Nicks captured the awkwardness of splitting up with guitarist Lindsay Buckingham. “When people break up, you know, you 24
So why a re-union? You can actually miss something without wanting it back. A queen without her king is, historically speaking, more powerful.
Playful Eurovisionaries Bucks Fizz are touring as ‘Bucks Fizz’ (with Bobby G) while the other three original members are touring as ‘The Fizz’. No Bucks, just The Fizz. How will that go down on Blackpool pier? As for Oasis, Noel should hold out. Maybe offer Liam a job making the tea for his touring combo?
At this point I have to give a nod to Philomena Tracey, who’s an IMPACT member with the Dublin South HSE branch. Philomena’s uncle is the legendary Lionel Augustus Martin, better known to fans of The Beat as ‘Papa Saxa’ who sadly passed away in May this year. Next time you hear that iconic intro to Mirror in the Bathroom, please give a salute to Papa Saxa.
I remain grateful that U2 have remained together for all these years. It means that I only have the one act to avoid. Unless Adam goes off and forms FU2 l
Tearing themselves apart
Peter Hook parted company with Manchester legends New Order a decade ago, amid accusations and counteraccusations about who New Order actually should be. In short, they kept the name. Hook argued that, without him (and, let’s face it, his signature bass sound) the remaining band couldn’t, and shouldn’t, be called New Order. UB40.
The unusual thing about the various rival re-unions of ‘The Beat’ is that there is genuinely no hard feelings. Founder members David Steele and Andy Cox wanted a couple of years off to try something different. They recruited Roland Gift to form Fine Young Cannibals. Wakeling and Roger formed General Public and The Beat was history.
Rat in me kitchen This is in stark contrast to the two versions of UB40 on the circuit. Family rows are always the most cutting. Ali Campbell gets into a contract dispute. His brother Duncan advises him to hold out for more. Ali slings his hook. Duncan then decides to become a band member and joins up with other brother Robin to form eh… UB40. Meanwhile, Ali, totally furious with both Duncan and Robin, sets up UB40. This, my friends, is the Birmingham equivalent of JR, Bobby and Gary Ewing. There’s definitely a rat in me kitchen, and he’s on billable time. Honourable mentions for the bi-located touring band include two versions of The Beach Boys. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be in your shoes”? That’s how swinging started folks.
‘Hooky’ took off on tour with his band Peter Hook & The Light (featuring his son Jack on supplementary bass duties) and proceeded to play the entire back catalogue, leaving the lawyers to slug it out. New Order disapproved of his new musical direction. Enter more lawyers. Hook claimed he was losing millions of pounds in royalties after a restructuring of the band’s finances. More lawyers. I’ve been to all of Hook’s shows, he’s played Dublin’s Academy on every tour, a sixth visit in November is scheduled. He’s made a decent job of playing the albums live, and it is with the Joy Division material that he excels. New Order recruited an expanded outfit (replacing Hook with Tom Chapman), recorded new material with Iggy Pop, among others, and have taken to the road despite lead singer Bernard Sumner’s well documented dislike of touring. As Work & Life was going to print, word came through that the legal feud had come to an end, as New Order announced a “full and final” settlement with Hooky. The late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis once mournfully sang “Where will it end?” I guess now we know the answer.
Summer-Autumn 2017 Crossword Solutions See page 42 for the competition winners from issue 38.
The Beat I went to Whelan’s in Dublin’s Wexford Street in September to see pop/ska legends The Beat, featuring Dave Wakeling, the original front man. A fantastic night, and it was brilliant to see him kick back and enjoy banging out the old tunes in a ‰
Autumn-Winter 2017 solutions (From page 42)
ACROSS: 1. Abacus 3. Tablet 7. Again 9. Yeats 10. Undo 11. Robin 13. Salad 15. Cain 17. Manger 18. Abet 20. Emu 22. Ladies 23. Theatre 25. Pick 27. Count 28. World 31. Tame 32. President 33. Mikado DOWN: 1. Anagram 2. Aga 3. Tsars 4. Basil 5. Town 6. Myopic 8. Nun 12. Ben 14. Alter 15. Crossword 16. Abu 19. Brains 21. Meat 22. Laptop 24. Hood 26. Clues 27. Clone 29. Cara 30. Zero WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Travel and trips
TR ER AV
“Do you remember the way back to the hotel?” Bring photos of who you’re travelling with Particularly handy if you’re travelling with children, have recent photos of them in case they decide to go for a wander.
Know your surroundings and know the name of the street where you’re staying. If you’re in a hotel, take their card and photograph it. Even if you lose the card, you’ll still have it on your phone.
Be wary when you’re using a guidebook or maps
Make your own first aid kit
Whether you’re looking at a few days in Spain or heading on a three-week stint in Thailand, one of the most important things is to be prepared! UNA-MINH KAVANAGH encourages us all to relax and follow her simple and practical guide to making the most of your journey and avoiding any problems along the way. IF YOU’VE never taken a trip abroad before in your life, don’t worry. As a seasoned traveller, I’ve have had many experiences abroad (good and bad!) but thankfully never any major mishaps. Here are some of my top tips for safer travel on your next journey:
Take a photograph of your suitcase and what’s in it
This comes in handy if you ever find yourself without it and need to describe it to an airline or bus company.
Lock your suitcase This may seem obvious but so many people don’t. You can also bring smaller locks for backpacks if you’re on an overnight train or are staying in a hostel dorm.
Photocopy everything before you go! Make sure that you have copies of your passport, visas, health insurance and if you’re travelling with someone, make sure they have copies too. This is very useful if you ever need quick access to them, particularly in an emergency.
Scan and email your documents to yourself If you’re not a fan of having everything printed out, another precaution to take is to scan and email documents like visas to yourself so that you can access them online.
Learn key phrases so you can ask for help Or at least write down phrases that you can point at. If you have a smartphone, Google Translate on Android and iOS can be a life saver. Not only does it show the translation but it also can pronounce the words out loud. You can use the app both online and offline.
Main photo: dreamstime.com
Leave your valuables at home Keep the most important stuff in your hand luggage While it might be tempting to put everything under lock and key, if you ever lose your case having essentials on hand is vital (especially chargers!). 26
Do you really need to bring your jewellery with you when you’re planning on walking the Camino? Though glamming yourself up is nice, consider what kind of holiday you’re planning to have. Better to know that your most precious items are safe at home rather than risk losing them abroad.
Let friends or family know your itinerary Giving them an outline of where you’re going and how to contact you when you’re away will set their minds at ease. ‰
From plasters and antiseptic to diarrhoea tablets and mosquito repellent, it's great to have a first aid kit on hand when things get a bit rough.
Know where your local embassy is For Irish citizens, check out the Department of Foreign Affairs website (dfa.ie). Did you know that you can also register your details with them if you’re heading abroad? Here’s what they say: “The information will allow us to contact you, and provide assistance, if necessary and possible, if there is an unforeseen crisis such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or if you have a family emergency while you are overseas.”
Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance! You mightn’t think you need separate insurance but you could end up saving so much money by having travel insurance if things go wrong. If you’ve health insurance already take a look at your travel cover to see what you’re entitled to abroad.
Keep your cards close and your cash even closer From secret pockets to money belts, there are so many ways that you can hide your valuables on you (even your underwear could save you from theft!). Many people now have a dummy wallet so you can hand it over calmly but know that your other money is safe. When paying by card, make sure that the merchant does the transaction in front of you – card fraud can happen anywhere. If you lose your card or suspect any foul play, contact your card company immediately.
Know where you’re staying Mom told me a story of a friend of hers who went on holidays to Greece and stayed in an ordinary white house, had a great time on a night out but couldn’t find his way back. He had left all his travel details at home.
Along with bum bags and having big flashy cameras, this is a dead giveaway and screams "I'm a tourist."
Dress like a local Not only is it good to blend in but it’s respectful to different cultures too. Especially in conservative countries make sure you don’t wear short shorts, tank tops or anything that shows off too much flesh.
Do I stay or do I go? Have a system with your travel companions when using public transport abroad. If there’s a Metro where you’re visiting know how to get back to each other if you get split up. For example, if I don’t make it onto the train, I then wait in the same spot for Mom to come back to me. Otherwise, we could be going back and forth for ages!
Avoid taking part in public demonstrations It’s just not worth the risk for a few minutes of potential camaraderie. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, it could spell disaster. Demonstrations may be peaceful in the country you’re from, but they could become dangerous if you’re not careful.
Don’t trust everyone Unfortunately, while we’d like to think that everyone is genuine, this isn’t always the case. You may feel like you’ve bonded straight away with a local, but take a step back and observe their actions. Are they asking you personal questions? Are they probing into your itinerary?
Una-Minh Kavanagh is a journalist, travel blogger and social media consultant. This is an edited version of an article previously published on her travel blog beforemymamdies.com and is reproduced here with Una-Minh’s permission. Food lovers should also check out her excellent food blog spillthebeans.ie l WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
The immediate implementation of a Budget 2016 commitment to a quality audit of early years’ education services
The negotiation and implementation of agreed salary scales for early years’ staff to boost professionalisation of the sector.
Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said: “Having access to quality early years services can make a world of difference to a child’s life, offering the best start possible. It reaps benefits for the child, society and the exchequer, ensuring that every child can reach their potential. It’s important that Budget 2018 commits to investing in early childhood care and education – supporting the improvement of quality and access of services.” IMPACT official Lisa Connell said international research has demonstrated a clear link between salaries and the quality of early education experienced by children. But Irish workers generally experience low pay and poor working conditions in the sector.
Fergus Finlay. THE GOVERNMENT should allocate an extra €125 million in next year’s Budget, and at least €625 million extra over the next five years, to ensure that Ireland meets the OECD average spend on early childhood care and education by 2022. In IMPACT's costed pre-Budget submission, launched in September by Barnardos Ireland Chief Executive Fergus Finlay, IMPACT said two months’ paid parental leave for one parent should also be introduced next year, at an extra cost of €84 million. And it called for fees paid by parents to be capped as a condition of public funding of early childhood providers in future. The union says Government spending of just 0.1% of GDP on early childhood education puts Ireland at the bottom of the OECD league table. “This lack of significant investment has resulted in high costs to parents and low wages for workers. Irish parents pay some of the highest childcare costs in the world, while most of those working within early education don’t even earn a living wage,” it says. The EarlyImpact pre-Budget submission also demands: l
That Ireland meets the UNICEF early childhood spending target of 1% of GNP within ten years
The implementation of a Programme for Government commitment to review the early care inspection regime, and withdraw funding from providers who fail to meet standards
“Average pay in the sector currently stands at €10.27 an hour, with a €1 premium for graduates. It is inevitable that some children experience poor quality early education when the services are provided by poorly qualified and poorly paid staff. Budget 2018 can start to change that by signalling the necessary move towards a graduate-led workforce with payment of an agreed salary scale as a condition of public funding,” she said. IMPACT says simply providing higher capitation for higher qualifications isn’t the solution to low pay as there is no guarantee that higher capitation fees would be passed on in wages. IMPACT deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said the Government should eliminate the special VAT rate for the hospitality sector and invest it in early education. “If the Government took this step we'd start to come nearer to the amount of investment you'd expect in a modern economy but even then we'd still be well short of the OECD recommended level,” he said.
Photo: Picture It Photography
EarlyImpact pushes for investment
ICTU women’s seminar considers gender pay gap CONGRESS GENERAL secretary Patricia King gave a presentation at the ICTU women’s seminar in Portlaoise in September on the effects that the gender pay gap has on women at work. Patricia began her presentation by placing her remarks in the broader context of the recent national – and international – conversation on the pay gap. She referred, for example, to recent controversies at RTE and at the BBC. She emphasised that the gender pay gap is a complex and nuanced issue that is baked into the less-than-ideal structures of the labour market as they currently exist. 422,000 women in Ireland are engaged full-time in home duties, compared to just 9,900 men. The lowestpaid sectors – those of retail and food – employ a high proportion of women. Patricia said that this showed low pay is highly feminised. Startling statistical evidence shows that significantly more women than men work part-time hours. For example, Patricia highlighted that 186,000 women work between 20 and 29 hours per week compared to just 65,000 men. She stressed that the gender pay gap is not exclusively a private sector problem. There are 15 male secretaries general in the civil service, for example, compared to just two females. She spoke about the campaign for a national living wage, which is supported by IMPACT, and pointed out that twice as many men as women currently earn the national minimum wage.
A copy of the pre-budget submission is available at impact.ie.
Patricia said that the tone for these dynamics of pay inequality was set from the top. She pointed out that in political life just 22% of those elected to the Dáil are women and that just 32% of senators are female. Patricia warned that stiff challenges remained for the future where the gender
Patricia highlighted that 186,000 women work between 20 and 29 hours per week compared to just 65,000 men.
pay gap was concerned, but that there was cause too for optimism. The number of women at work, for instance, rose 40% between 1971 and 1992. The need for an adequately resourced childcare sector, as advocated by the EarlyImpact campaign, was also emphasised. Patricia referenced the gender pay gap transparency measures that IMPACT has called for. IMPACT lead organiser, Linda Kelly, also made a presentation on the gender pay gap. Linda’s contribution focussed mainly on gender pay gap reporting. She outlined employers’ objections to the Bill and set out IMPACT’s responses to those objections. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Union business Unions back new public service pay deal
Temporary health staff need support
The Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) voted to approve the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA). The deal was approved by an aggregate ballot of the PSC at a meeting in September.
During the recession, hundreds of temporary clerical officers were hired to fill gaps caused by a huge reduction in permanent health service staffing. But the HSE and other health employers are now hiring permanent clerical and admin staff again, after a decade of cuts and recruitment restrictions.
Individual unions balloted their members on the terms of the agreement. The agreement was supported by a margin of over 80% when union votes are aggregated.
The upshot is that permanent positions for temporary clerical and admin staff who are successful in competitions are underpinned. Now the union is acting to protect temporary staff who are unsuccessful in the competitions. “Increased membership of temporary staff will give us the strength and credibility we need to convince management to do the right thing for temps and the people they serve” – national secretary Eamonn Donnelly.
IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said: “The best way of ensuring success in this is for temporary staff to join the union. Increased membership of temporary staff will give us the strength and credibility we need to convince management to do the right thing for temps and the people they serve.”
For more on the PSSA, including a detailed Q&A document, see impact.ie.
IMPACT has also ensured that one fifth of the clerical and admin promotional posts (at grades IV to VII) now being filled are available to staff on fixed-term or specified-purpose contracts. The union also ensured that these staff would be exempt from online verbal and numeracy tests, because they have already demonstrated their skills and experience in their roles.
IMPACT’s latest lobbying returns published
Equality in the Workplace: A Reality? Photo: Picture It Photography
IMPACT’s Equal Opportunities committee hosted a special conference in September, bringing together policy experts, community activists and political representatives to explore the question of equality in today’s Irish workplace. The conference included two panel discussions facilitated by broadcaster and activist Dil Wickremasinghe. The keynote address was given by David Stanton TD, Minister of State for Justice.
IMPACT has submitted its returns to the Lobby Register covering the period from 1st May to 31st August 2017. Lobbying organisations are required to publish their returns no later than 21 days after the end of the relevant reporting period. IMPACT has so far made 11 returns for the most recent reporting period. Full details on each of the submissions are available on the IMPACT website.
IALPA welcomes ECJ Ryanair ruling IALPA, the pilots’ branch of IMPACT trade union, has welcomed the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), stating air crew members, in disputes relating to their employment contracts, have the option of bringing proceedings before the courts of the place where they perform the essential part of their duties.
Pictured (L to R) IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody, organiser Lisa Connell, David Stanton TD, Minister of State for Justice and IMPACT equal opportunties officer Patricia Fanning at IMPACT’s equality conference in September.
Aer Lingus Labour Court win Pay increases of 8.5% over 39 months recommended
Photos: Picture It Photography
IMPACT IS currently in negotiations in a bid to ensure that temporary staff who are unsuccessful in forthcoming interviews for permanent posts keep their current jobs in the health service. And the union is urging temps to join in order to strengthen its hand in the talks.
Game of Thrones star visits IMPACT
THE LABOUR Court has recommended pay increases of 8.5% over 39 months (2017 to 2020) for 3,000 staff at Aer Lingus. The increases recommended by the Court – which are not conditional to any additional productivity – average just over 2.6% per annum, which is consistent with current average pay improvements in the private sector. The pay terms recommended by the Court provide for the following increases: l
3% from 1st April 2017
2.75% from 1st May 2018
2.75% from 1st June 2019
The Court has also recommended that the parties engage to explore the potential for an agreement on an appropriate ‘profit share’ scheme. IMPACT national secretary Angela Kirk said the pay improvements are welcome. “The Court took particular note of the fact that there have been no adjustments to basic pay since 2010, during which time the company has performed exceptionally well. There is no doubt that the success of Aer Lingus during that time is down to the exceptional efforts and hard work of its employees.”
IALPA president, Captain Evan Cullen, said “This is a great judgement for everyone who works in the aviation industry in Europe. Along with our colleagues in the European Cockpit Association (ECA), we see this as a very positive result. It helps to empower aviation workers in any dispute with their employer by giving them access to the courts in their country of residence.”
Progress on IoT fixed-term posts The Department of Education and Skills has advised institutes of technology to offer permanent contracts to non-teaching fixed-term staff who are currently in “posts which would be considered as permanent positions.” The advice, which was set out in guidance to IOTs and universities in September, emerged after IMPACT won a commitment to the regularisation of admin, technical, library, support and management posts during the May pay talks.
GAME OF Thrones star Liam Cunningham visited IMPACT’s Dublin office in September for a special young members’ event. Cunningham, who is an ambassador for World Vision Ireland, was presented with a cheque for €8,000 raised by the IMPACT Young Members group for the charity at their ‘Great IMPACT Quiz’ which took place in May. A screening of the Yann Arthus-Bertrand film, Human as part of the IMPACT Insights series, was followed by a discussion on the refugee crisis led by Cunningham. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
Weighing up the heavy cost of a hard border Plans are now underway for an IMPACT Brexit symposium in November, focusing on the issue of the border with Northern Ireland. Has the border become a Brexit deal bargaining chip or is it another victim of the failure of Brexiteers to consider the consequence of their folly? IMPACT’s RICHY CARROTHERS says it’s the greatest single threat to the normalisation of life on both sides of the border. 10th APRIL 1998 marked a historic day for all of us sharing this island of Ireland. It was the day the Good Friday Agreement was signed. An international peace agreement, lodged at the United Nations on that basis, it’s widely accepted as the key component to the Peace Process that we now, perhaps, sometimes take for granted. One of the architects of that agreement, the late Martin McGuinness, warned that Brexit presented “a serious undermining of the Good Friday Agreement.” The fate of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland lies at the heart of this warning. McGuinness wasn’t alone in sounding the alarm, as Irish politicians of every party have sounded similar warnings since. More recently, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Irish government does not want any sort of economic border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, adding that if Britain wants to put forward technological solutions, that is up to them, but the Government “would not do that work for them.” While it’s hard to imagine, the reinstatement of a border remains a distinct possibility following Brexit, but any intended or unintended reinstatement of a border would be a retrograde step. Regardless of where you stand on the status of Northern Ireland and its future, few people on this Island are in favour of a border of any kind. ‰
All of this progress could end up on a bonfire of rights as the British government proceeds with its ‘repeal and replace’ approach to exiting the EU.
The concept of a border and customs checks have become far removed from our psyche over recent times. The ardent ‘leavers’ in the UK Brexit debate push false arguments, and some fanciful notions, over a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ border. To best understand the scale of their folly, they should consider the prospect of a border or customs checks between London and Kent or Greater Manchester and Lancashire. But Brexit isn’t just a problem for the UK and the North. For a small Island country with an open economy, Brexit represents a major threat to the Republic of Ireland and Europe more generally. Brexit poses great challenges to jobs, living standards and, as explored in IMPACT’s Hard Cheese Brexit seminar earlier in the year, it poses a significant threat to Ireland’s agri-food industry.
It’s not in the interest of workers North or South for the EU to seek revenge for Brexit by imposing punitive sanctions and barriers to progress. There is a shared responsibility on the three main protagonists to act responsibly. Namely, the EU and both the British and Irish governments. The integrity of the peace process must be maintained. A hard border could be avoided if the UK commits to the free movement of travel for all EU citizens and maintains existing protections and workers’ rights. The trade union movement will not accept attempts to drive down safeguards and living standards under the pretext of Brexit. The EU and British government must reach a sensible negotiated settlement on any divorce bill, underpinned by the British government remaining in both the customs union and single market.
Normalisation The border, as it was, ran nearly 500km from Lough Swilly in Derry to Carlingford Lough in Louth. Now, everyday tens of thousands of people crisscross freely the border areas; students, shoppers, tourists, commuters, school children, hauliers and workers. In fact, the Border is crossed 110 million times a year. This figure represents the continued normalisation of politics on this Island, and of life on both sides of the border, and is reflected in the majority referendum vote in favour of ‘Remain’ in Northern Ireland. 56% of people in the North voted to remain in the EU and now the British government is in the process of dismantling the rights and entitlements of EU citizenship and all that brings.
Horse trading The war inside the Tory Party is likely to lead to horse-trading on critical progressive aspects, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. Much of the pro-worker legislation currently in place originated in Europe, giving workers increased protections for part-time workers, fixed term workers, agency workers, the Working Time Directive and equality legislation.
In my view, it’s reasonable that any final agreement with the EU should be put to a referendum of the people with the option of remaining as is. This may be the only remaining safeguard for those ‘Leave’ voters who sought a divorce in haste (on the basis of a diet of misinformation), and will be forced to repent at leisure. The IMPACT symposium will take place in Letterkenny on Friday 24th November. More details, including speakers and how to register will be published in the IMPACT fortnightly e-bulletin and on impact.ie
TUC applies pressure on Brexit In September the leader of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, called on the British government “to leave all options on the table, including staying in the single market long term” in Brexit negotiations. As UK unions gathered for the TUC congress in Brighton, Ms O’Grady said the UK government’s “criminal lack of preparation” for Brexit still lacked a “realistic negotiating strategy.” She added, “The clock is ticking towards what I can only call a kamikaze Brexit. For the final deal we want all options on the table, but we know that an option that meets our tests is staying in the single market after we leave the EU.” The consistency of the TUC’s position on Brexit could be paying off, as a buoyant post-election Labour party announced in August it will support full participation in the single market and customs union during a lengthy transitional period. The party says it believes this could last between two and four years.
Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan has raised the prospect offering British voters the chance to reverse the Brexit referendum verdict l 32
WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
This more closely reflects the TUC position, and marks a departure from the party’s earlier ambivalence on Brexit. O’Grady said the shift of policy demonstrated Labour were the “grown-ups in the room,” and said she hoped others would follow.
Photo gallery Photo: William Rooney.
AN AFTERNOON WITH TEMPLE GRANDIN IMPACT’s Munster Special Needs Assistants’ (SNA) branch, which represents 2,000 in the province, organised an afternoon with Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin, is a renowned expert on animal behavior and husbandry, and an inspiration to tens of thousands of people affected by autism. Diagnosed with autism in the 1950s, Dr. Grandin went on to become an internationally-recognised scientist, speaker and author. IMPACT official Barry Cunningham told the audience of over 800, that Dr. Grandin’s story underlined the need for increased investment in Irish special needs education. In particular continuous professional development for SNAs and other educational professionals as called for by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social protection in 2016. Caroline Walsh and Jean Cleary, Limerick Early Years, with Dr. Temple Grandin.
Gina McDonnell and Patricia Foley.
Service dogs who work with children with autism.
Anne Marie Melia, Brenda Rogan from the SNA North Leinster branch.
IMPACT members at the event.
Photo: William Rooney.
Members of the SNA Munster branch and organising committee for the event. Catherine Heffernan, Deborah O’Connor, Helen Hogan, Nora O’Connor and Noreen O’Mahony, vice-chair of the IMPACT SNA Munster branch.
Over 800 attended the event including members of the SNA South Dublin South Leinster branch and the SNA Munster branch.
Dr. Temple Grandin speaking at the IMPACT SNA Munster branch seminar at the Nexus Hall, Cork CIT. 34
Michael Smith, Education DEC and Joan McCrohan, IMPACT organiser with the SNA Munster branch.
Enjoying the afternoon with Temple Grandin.
Patricia Fanning, IMPACT equal opportunities officer, Clare Keaveney, Jessica Ni Mhaoláin and Patricia Ni Mhaolain. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS 35
Photo: William Rooney.
All photos by Dan Linehan unless otherwise stated.
Dr. Temple Grandin chats with IMPACT official, Barry Cunningham.
Cracking the dress code With job opportunities on the rise lots of us are preparing for job interviews. And while we’re preparing to answer questions like where we see ourselves in five years or if we’re ‘motivated self-starters’, the interview probably really starts when we’re deciding what to wear. Drawing on some recent experiences, PATRICIA CALLINAN offers some winning sartorial advice. ALMOST 20,000 jobs were added nationally in the first three months of 2017, and predictions are for job creation and employment growth to continue. After a decade of cuts and recruitment restrictions the HSE, and other health employers, are finally hiring permanent clerical and administrative staff. Some IMPACT branches have already organised competency based interview training workshops for their members. These are proving to be both popular and useful. Now would be a good time to think about your interview preparation, including your appearance. Personally, I had two very different experiences recently that show the importance of planning what to wear to that interview. In a recent interview for Work & Life (Issue 36) with the charity Dress for Success, volunteer Deirdre emphasised to me the importance of a person’s appearance, when they are preparing for a job interview, to their self-worth and dignity. She said “we are all guilty of judging books by their covers. We all draw conclusions from first impressions, whether we like to think it or not”. We can influence those first impressions by paying attention to our appearance. But being satisfied with your appearance will give you confidence too. There will be enough stress on the day, without having to worry about clothes or shoes that are ill fitting or unsuitable.
Colour considerations My daughter was called for an interview in Dublin while she was working abroad. Due to time constraints, planning what to wear took place the evening before the early morning interview. I convinced her to wear a bright red dress. Some months later I was preparing for an interview myself and spent some time researching the ‘dos and don’ts’ of what to wear. There, as bold as you like, I discovered you should never wear red, unless it’s a job in law or sales. Red sends a message of power and aggression. I consoled myself that maybe her navy blazer, navy shoes and bag created a more toned down and understated ensemble. Plus the job was in marketing. But it was a bit like a superstition, once I discovered such colour connotations existed I couldn’t ignore the advice.
Blue is best There was consistency in the research. Hiring managers surveyed in a poll said the best colour to wear is blue, with a navy suit inspiring confidence and signalling that you are a credible and trustworthy candidate. Grey is another safe option and indicates that you are a logical thinker. Paired with a white shirt or blouse and you convey to the interview board that you are organised and detail-oriented. Black conveys leadership and ranks highest on the authority scale. Orange, for example, is a no-no. If you want the addition of colour keep it to a minimum and incorporate it in finishing touches like a tie, or neck scarf. ‰ 36
Tailor your dress code I spoke to Con McNamara, interview coach at EBCR Communications. “The clothes should not feature on the day. The interview is about you, not what you are wearing. The interviewers should not even notice what you are wearing.” That’s one less pressure to contend with, I thought. Con went on to say “You should relate your dress code to the type of job you are going for.” He would normally advise women to wear very little makeup and stick to a neat hairstyle. But he had a client recently who was going for an interview in a major department store’s makeup department, so the focus was immediately on her hair and makeup. Your appearance should not become the be-all and end-all either and should not affect the outcome of the interview, if you are the most suitable candidate for the job. Thinking that sporting the perfect outfit, or hairstyle, will guarantee success would be a mistake. A good rule of thumb on the day – if you are in any doubt is to err on the side of conservatism rather than individuality. No matter what the job is don’t wear jeans or leggings, because that could give the impression that you are really not that interested.
Be yourself If you to want to look smart, but not stuffy or formal, there are lots of current trends such as culottes, wide legged trousers, unstructured jackets and blouses with interesting sleeve details. If you never normally wear suits and ties, an open necked shirt with trousers and a sports jacket is a smart option. Much and all as it goes against the grain for me to say this, research tells us that an interview is not the opportunity to express your individuality. Of course, there are occasions when the opposite is true, such as roles in creative agencies. Companies now include “a casual dress code” as one of the perks of working there, which should signal a more relaxed environment. And, the good news is, despite that red dress, my daughter got the job l
Some do’s and don’ts to remember for that job interview DO Err on the conservative side. Imagine yourself as representing the company or organisation you are being interviewed for. This will help you to imagine the codes or standards which might apply. Think of an interview as a business meeting, where business dress in most appropriate and the safest option. For men it’s a suit or neat jacket and tie. For women business suit or dress with matching top Take a ‘less is more’ approach to makeup. Go for a more natural look with neat makeup, hair and nails Consider the comfort and fit of your footwear, as well as the style
DON’T Wear something too distracting. The interview board is more interested in what you are saying and how you present yourself, than the patterns on a dress or shirt Show piercings or tattoos unless you are sure they are appropriate Take a ‘casual Friday’ approach to an interview, no matter what day of the week it is. Jeans, leggings or tracksuits should be avoided as the interviewer will assume you’re not interested in the job when you are inappropriately dressed Wear something that you feel uncomfortable in. This would distract you from the interview and could affect your confidence and performance Be afraid to ask for help. Retail staff will know what colours and styles suit you best, and can help you to feel confident and professional.
Try out different colours that flatter you, and send the right message. Use an accent colour to break up navy, black or grey. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
A change is gonna come
change. To be successful, time is an essential ingredient, in order to allow individuals go through their own personal process of change.
Communications Communication is core to effective change management. Early, regular, open, honest, two-way communication. Opening a constructive dialogue with staff and their representatives helps diminish resistance to change. Keep in mind that what is said is not always what is heard, messages are always interpreted. The skills of the communicator, the current levels of organisational trust, the values, motivations and plans of the individual listeners will all affect interpretation.
Change is inevitable. Some will embrace it quickly, others more slowly, while many people resist it at all costs. ISOBEL BUTLER takes a look at how and why we react to change in the workplace in different ways, and how managing the change process well makes it easier and more effective.
Provide staff with a clear and explicit rationale for the change. Explain why it is needed and the risk of not making the change, this is often best communicated by senior managers. People need to understand what the impact of the change will be on themselves and their team. This is often best communicated by immediate line managers and team leaders.
Honesty In all communications honesty is important. You can’t sell negative change as a positive. Where change will have a negative impact provide people with the facts, and where there are benefits to a team or to individuals these should also be highlighted.
THE MODERN workplace is characterised by ever present change. In order to survive organisations, teams and individuals need to be able to adapt in response to environmental pressures and problems. The effect of change on individuals has the power to undermine adaptation.
Don’t dismiss people’s reaction to change, respect them and be patient. Allow them to work through their reactions. Continue to provide information and support especially when the impact of change will be negative.
Change may be intentional and planned, arise from deliberate organisational decisions or in response to unforeseen, unplanned developments. No matter the scale, all change affects people. Humans have a cognitive bias towards the familiar and the status quo. Change can introduce uncertainty, fear and anxiety. The desire for things to remain the same is powerful and contributes to resistance to change. Psychological research has shown that people experience twice as much psychological pain when they lose something they value, compared to the level of pleasure they get when they gain the same thing.
Different reactions Individuals differ in how they respond to change, some become fearful and resist whilst others enjoy and embrace change. A range of factors, including personal values, past experiences and the specific context and type of change, contribute to these differing responses. Our personal values and attitudes towards stability or our need for control also play a role. Being a risk-taker or valuing disruption and novelty may contribute to positive attitudes toward change or, at least, less resistance to change. Whereas valuing stability, constancy or needing to have a high level of control over your environment can contribute to resistance to change.
Resistance Organisational trust is an important factor in determining responses or resistance to workplace change. Less resistance 38
to change tends to be a characteristic of workplaces where trust levels are high, while fear and resistance characterises work environments where the level of trust is low. In this instance, it will apply even to small levels of change, and is often not the change itself that is problematic. Rather, it’s the people who are promoting the change that aren’t trusted. Previous experiences are also important. Organisations that have previously successfully managed change may experience lower levels of resistance, compared to those where previous change was unsuccessful, poorly managed or where people believe that the losses exceeded the gains.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change” CHARLES DARWIN
Resistance will be higher if the proposed change is considered to have a negative effect on highly valued aspects of an individual’s working life. How change is communicated, and the level of control and involvement that people are given during the change process, also has an effect. Early, clear and consistent communication helps people to cope with change, as does having some level of involvement in the change process. When change is universal throughout the organisation, everyone is a stakeholder. ‰
“Nothing so undermines organisational change as the failure to think through who will have to let go of what when change occurs”.
Design the change so that people can see early wins or benefits. When problems arise move speedily to try to resolve the problems. Involving people is time consuming, but is an essential part of the process of successfully changing l
WILLIAM BRIDGES 1991
TOP 10 CHANGE MANAGEMENT TIPS Overcoming fear Given all these factors how can managers help to overcome fear and resistance and increase buy-in for the proposed change?
l Remember in all change processes there are losses, identify who is losing what l Be proactive, think ahead and don’t be shocked by reactions to the proposed changes
If you are a manager anticipate and plan for resistance to change. Don’t be surprised by it and don’t take it personally, it’s a normal, rational response. When planning change, build in steps to allow employees voice fears and worries. This allows you to understand their fears and anxieties.
l Accept and acknowledge the losses that are being experienced
Armed with this information you can, where possible, provide reassurances, shape the change so that these fears aren’t realised. Design steps into the change process to deal with those fears or issues or provide support to people in dealing with the transitions.
l Be patient with people who need to let go or grieve for the lost status quo
Change is rarely, if ever, a one-off event. It’s a process. Change ultimately is arrived at through the changed attitudes and behaviours of employees, and will be more or less successful depending on their willingness to embrace the
l Engage with people, open a dialogue l Provide timely, honest information l Provide answers to people’s questions. If people need more information provide it
l Support people, help them through the transitions – dialogue, communication, coaching, training are all useful ways to support people l Respect how difficult this change process can be for individuals l Don’t avoid change just because it is difficult. Plan for it but build in the steps and supports that are needed to help people to go through the change process and embrace the future situation
Isobel Butler is an independent organisational psychologist who works with people on a wide range of workplace issues including conflict management, dealing with change and solving problems. If there are specific issues you’d like her to tackle in these articles send them in via the editor, Work & Life magazine, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org. WORK & LIFE: THE MAGAZINE FOR IMPACT MEMBERS
The social network
In this edition we focus on IMPACT’s Twitter and tweets from some recent events – An Afternoon with Dr. Temple Grandin, EarlyImpact’s pre-budget submission and our equality seminar.
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7 8 14 16 17 19 20 21 24
He/she is frequently engaged in hard exhausting work (6) David---- one time Dublin Labour T.D (8) Defamer, slanderer (8) Worldwide, embracing the whole of mankind (9) A large company of soldiers in ancent Roman army (1,6) Birth surname of England's Princess Diana (8) North Clare village (7) Accommodation, eg for soldiers (6) Ruin, impair (3)
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Published on Oct 3, 2017