A New Year – But Has Anything Changed?

So the trimmings have been packed away and the final remains of the Christmas Cake are either loitering around on the kitchen worktop somewhere wrapped in cling film, or have been “de-iced”, and deposited to the freezer, where they will lay until the desire to keep to this years’ new healthy eating plan has finally disappeared! Of course there still remains the challenge of all those packets of nuts, nibbles, biscuits and crisps that were horded before Christmas “just in case somebody unexpected popped in – which of course they didn’t. So they will remain there, normally with the same “eat by” date until somebody realises they all have to be ate by “next week”, where upon they will all be consumed in one single weekend, reversing any hopeful trend of a diminishing waste line. Why do we do it? The children should have returned to school but haven’t and the daily routine, established during the first lockdown in 2020 has been dusted off resumed. I am somebody that needs a degree of structure to my life. Not, as some would believe, a regimental repetitive regime – but just a focus. What am I doing tomorrow? What are my options?”

What 2020 has shown me is that the battles between right and wrong, or good and bad, are still as ferocious as they hall always been. Those early days of the Pandemic when we all crammed around the TV to listen to the latest news and government advice eventually led to many of us avoiding the TV at all costs – sick and tired of listening to the endless stream of mind-numbing questions over and over again, as good battled bad, and wrong attacked right – or was it all the other way around? Claim and counter claim followed accusation and counter accusation. Our hopes that with the BREXIT done we would be saved from this continuous ritual of hostility, proved eventually to be only a “pipe dream”. And to make things worse – whilst we have been very much focussing on the here and now others have seemed to have found it exactly the right time to bury “potentially bad news”.

Today, the 7th January 2021, British Gas Engineers commenced a five-day strike, with the GMB stating that a staggering 89% of its 9000 members voted in favour of Industrial Action. So what is this dispute about – an increase in salaries? No, it is not – it has been brought about because their Employers want to reduce staff and transfer others on to inferior contracts, a so called “fire and rehire” plan.

Last year a number of other Utility Companies announced staff compulsory redundancies, whilst others are doing a Centrica, (the owners of British Gas), by reorganising and reducing numbers, leaving many on less favourable terms and salaries. It seems one again that Companies have dusted off their true and tested methodology of engaging External Consultants to undertake the review that supposedly will support the outcome that they desire. Of course, many who read this will argue that at least these staff will still be in employment, whilst others have lost their jobs as a consequence of the awful pandemic that continues to impact us all.  And yes, one can argue that it a perfectly valid opinion to hold.

It seems the battle between the rights and wrongs, and the just and unjust continue. Whilst we now focus on what could be another extended lockdown and wonder “when will it be our turn to get the vaccine” – others are working away under the radar on their own plans.

I’m sure “a service of some-sort” will be restored eventually – but what service it will be will be very much dependent on what workforce is actually left!

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