In a move straight out of some management manual somewhere we're heading to West Cork today to an activity centre for a Teambuilding Corporate Training Programme. This is going to include a Space Hopper Grand National (I shit you not) as part of an ice-breaking exercise this evening followed by the ultimate teamwork cliche - a build your own raft and survive a 'shipwreck' scenario - tomorrow.
The trouble is that we already work quite well as a network of individuals and also get on quite well on a personal basis, so what exactly all this is going to change is a little beyond me. Furthermore we're all conscious of how much money it must be costing because, in a spectacular own goal by the company, it's coming right on the back of all our pay reviews and salary increases, which have the whole place in a foul mood.
We have discovered that almost everybody in the plant at our level (non-management engineers, chemists, regulatory and other technical salaried staff) have gotten pretty much identical pay rises of approx 4.2% - despite the fact our salary increases are supposed to be entirely performance related (unlike, for example, the across the board pay rises union workers get gifted regardless of individual performance).
The new salaries have been so blatantly spat out by a computer with absolutely no sign of personal review that my annual salary is now €XX,937.30. That's annual - my monthly is, therefore, €X,X78.1083333. They couldn't even round it up (or down) to the nearest euro!
So people that have really bust their balls over the past 12 months (I'm talking 40 hours+ per month in unpaid overtime, phone calls in the middle of the night and at weekends) have gotten the same, below inflation, pay rises as women who have spent the last eight or nine months out on maternity leave (and who have since arranged transfers to cushy office jobs or 4-day weeks); lads who leave every single day at 3:25 on the button to go training; and, of course, people who are downright incompetent and yet suffer no consequences.
Me? I've been just about smart enough after seven years to twig that ball-busting gets you nothing more than a sense of personal pride that you've done a job properly and so my unpaid OT is mostly down to under 20 hours per month. But I'm still cross that my contribution is valued as being identical to someone who hasn't set foot in the place since some time last summer!
So, tomorrow, I might just see which raft has the managers on it and see if I can capsize it.