Our distinguished chairman, Lord H, cornered me at a pensioners’ do last week. “Hartley,” he says, “I’ve been talking with a few of the old boys, and it seems that making ends meet is proving a bit of a challenge. So I’ve been doing some thinking.”
I thought I’d held my composure. “No need to look at me like that Hartley, I’ve been doing my homework too, and found out how you personnel chaps are keen on age positivism, or whatever you call it. So I think that you’ll like what I’m going to suggest,” he said.
It turned out that he’d got my predecessor on the case and they’d identified nine part-time roles that could be offered to “let’s call them more mature types, you know, chaps who won’t let us down”.
In addition, he wanted to bring the contract for looking after the grounds back in-house, and advertise the jobs through the pensioners’ association. “They spend half their bloody time gardening, so they might as well get paid for it.”
True, he did have a point that we have high turnover and absence rates in some part-time roles. But the dampener came when talking with Roy, our in-house lawyer. “While we don’t know the letter of the law yet, I reckon we’d have to demonstrate why we’re effectively excluding other equally able younger workers. Nice idea, but it won’t last.”
So how do I explain to the old boy that we’ve campaigned for legislation to make things more difficult for ourselves?