Monday, 3 October 2011

Reps or Negotiators, Yes. But "Pilgrims"? I don't think so.

Taking a look at the Tory Conference in Manchester (I'm trying to get some faces memorised for the Crimewatch Special on "The Great Pensions Robbery"). I happened to notice Eric Pickles, in his best cheery victorian mill owner style, complaining about Trade Union facility time in the public sector.

What interested me most wasn't his attack - grinding the faces of the poor is after all this Government's speciality - it was more his language. People seconded from their day to day employment are, according to Mr Pickles, 'pilgrims'.

I don't know what it say in Mr Pickles dictionary " but in mine a pilgrim is "someone who journeys to a sacred place".

There are many ways to describe the HR offices where seconded reps go with members to assist with disciplinary hearings or return to work interviews. Or the sort of committee rooms where negotiations with employers take place. "Dingy"springs to mind,"Cheerless" is another and "This place could do with a lick of paint" is fairly common,but "Sacred"? Never. And given the way Mr Pickles and his millionaire Cabinet chums are insisting public assets are sold off to the private sector - I can't really believe that's how they think of them either.

So it's rather a curious term for the Tories to pick. Maybe they think that people will find it unsettling - who knows. However,given it's a term deliberately designed to obscure the truth about what people do it's not a term we should acknowledge or recognise.

For information about what people are doing on facility time and how we all benefit from it - try looking here

Meanwhile should have nothing to say about pilgrims - if someone wants to talk about "union reps" or "negotiators" - that's different.

For Pilgrims - try Lourdes.

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