This page presents, for those who have nothing better to do with their time, the correspondence between our own dear Chief Shop Steward and our consultants.
The consultant's initial covering letter, addressed to the Chief Fairy Shop Steward at Company B, was very short:
Dear Mr. [X],
Trade Union for Fairies
As requested via our agent at [Company A], we have pleasure in enclosing our report and proposals for possible names for your union, plus a constitution incorporating use of the recommended choice of name. The latter can, of course, be readily amended to use one of the other names if you prefer. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or require any further advice.
We also attach for your kind attention our invoice for our services, which we trust you will find acceptable. Our rates are based on those recommended for members of your union in the enclosed constitution, but quadrupled because we are consultants.
The accompanying invoice was also quite brief:
|Carrying out appropriate market research and recommending suitable names for your union||600.00|
|Preparing a constitution for your union||600.00|
|Total net cost||1,200.00|
|+ VAT at 17.5%||210.00|
|Total payment due||£1,410.00|
Please note that our terms are payment within thirty days, net. However, you may deduct a discount of 10% (£141.00) if your cheque is hand delivered by a suitably attractive and willing female courier.
Suggested Names for Fairy Trade Unions
(prepared by [Consultancy company]**)
We were asked, through our agent, to devise a suitable name for the proposed trade union. This is, of course, a serious matter which can impact profoundly on the public perception and hence the overall success, of any organisation.
We have considered this matter carefully, and carried out considerable research into the likely public reception and impact of the various possibilities, and have produced for your consideration below a short list of those potential names which seem most appropriate, bearing in mind the nature of the organisation and the reported abilities, talents and inclinations of your members.
Some comments on our reasons for rejecting a selection of the alternatives listed may be in order. Number 2 we thought seemed a little too portentous, no. 3 shows bad spelling in the acronym, and could even be confused audibly with no. 4. No 5 could give offence if simply stated baldly in reply to an employer's enquiry as to the union a member belonged to, while no 9 in the same circumstances might be interpreted as a threat. Numbers 6 and 7 therefore seem the most appropriate alternatives if our main recommendation for some unreason does not appeal.
** who should be ashamed of themselves
The initial draft constitution (still under discussion - see following sections) can be found on this separate page.
The Chief Fairy Shop Steward sent the following reply:
Dear Mr. [Consultant],
Constitution for NUFSED
With regard to the said constitution for NUFSED, I draw your attention to clause 8.3, in respect of standing and sitting on top of Christmas trees.
In this health and safety conscious world I feel it must be brought to the attention of our employers that being mounted on the top of a Christmas tree is hazardous in several respects. Firstly, to try and balance on top of a Christmas tree requires a large amount of concentration not usually found in an inebriated fairy. Secondly, incorrect mounting has the unfortunate effect of being painful and bringing tears to the eyes, not to mention also making certain bodily functions impossible. A suitable platform plus safety harness must therefore be provided. Strict interpretation of health and safety regulations do also dictate wearing a hard hat, but I appreciate that this would rather detract from the traditional fairy costume.
I also bring your attention to clause 8.4, which again raises a health and safety issue. As collection of teeth constitutes removal of body parts, the employers will need to provide rubber gloves, as well as an appropriate receptacle for said items.
The constitution as it stands also raises certain issues of political correctness, in particular, in the case of benefit in kind. The words "opposite sex to the member on duty" I feel would cause offence to members of the union whose sexuality may be a matter of ambivalence. This clause needs to be amended to provide a broader definition of "benefit in kind".
I await your comments on these matters.
The consultant replied to this letter with the following:
Dear Mr. [Chief Shop Steward],
Draft Constitution for NUFSED
Thank you for your letter received today.
It is in the nature of a draft constitution, of course, that it is open to suggested amendments before formal adoption, and we thank you for your constructive thoughts in this instance.
With regard to health and safety issues, while they are of course perfectly valid concerns which must be addressed, we feel these are not appropriate for inclusion in a constitution, but a matter for the Health & Safety Executive. The reason for this is that new hazards may arise at any time, either from minor changes in the existing conditions of employment, or in new employments, or even with regard to employments which may not have been considered at the time of drawing up a constitution. The HSE has much more flexibility to deal with such changes, whereas a constitution is inherently inflexible and should be confined to matters where this is not a major factor.
Examples of other possible hazards for your members are not difficult to find. A few examples might be:
However, possibly point c) above and your own point relating to safety harness (as distinct from a platform) for top-of-tree members is not really significant, since it is my understanding that those employed in such work are normally equipped with wings.
Your reference to the reason for the need for safety harness, does however, raise another point which should perhaps be mentioned in passing. Some unreasonable employers might contend that while on duty the fairy should not be inebriated. In this case, of course, their attention should be drawn to the fact that this has been be pre-empted by clause 8.1.
Your point regarding political correctness is, I suppose, valid (sigh...), so an appropriate amendment is probably required. We recommend replacing the words "of the opposite sex to" with the words "of sex attractive to".
You may also like to consider further additions:
Promising you our best attention at all times,
PS We shall forward our invoice for this further work in due course. Please pay by separate cheque, sent by separate courier. This is on the assumption that you wish to take up our discount offer on both invoices, the terms of which apply separately to each invoice. A small gap (say of half an hour minimum) is appreciated between the arrivals of such couriers to avoid their having to wait unnecessarily long for service (as distinct from an unnecessary length of service, which they seem to appreciate).
** Please feel free to forward our details to any employers needing advice on how to produce fairy rings (which are fungi parasitic on grass) and spotted toadstools (which are parasitic on birch tree roots). We shall be delighted to
fleece advise them.
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