Friends, greenkeepers and citizens, lend me your eyes! As I reflect back to November 2006 and the inaugural meeting of the Independent Greenkeepers Association (IGA) little did we realise the strength of support that would start rolling for our humble wee organisation in the space only of a few short months. It seems to be the case that we all have both hands meeting in the middle, above our fish suppers. One and all we stand united, our collective enthusiasm driven by our love for our profession, and an acknowledgement that there is a catalyst for some measure of change. Surfs up folks.
Now then, when a group of colleagues embark on a journey such as this for no specific reason other than to create an association to represent our fellow greenkeepers with matters purporting to the true benefit of one and all, well perhaps across-the-board we are beginning to touch some nerves of mutual understanding.
As a democratic association we categorically listen and action the greenkeeper suggestions. We understand. We are all greenkeepers by trade and by life. In this context we are well placed in particular to understand the many frustrations and unreasonable circumstances encountered by our fellow greenkeepers up and down the length of the land, and where previously moral and sympathetic support hasn't really existed, well as far as we are able to it does exist now.
We have now listened to our members speak with a single voice of unity and purpose. 'We would be well served by our own independent Union'.
Here's the deal then. We register ourselves as an independent greenkeepers union which is not and never will be under the domination or control of an employer. We administer and fund ourselves. We do not seek to make any profit, the pleasure of representing our members is our payment in full, thank you very much.
We seek to be remedial and non-confrontational in nature, unless that is one of our members is ever placed in a non-lawful corner by an employer. Even then, we'd always look to mediate first. Friends, one cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
The single most important aspect of a move from association to a union is the fact that a representative of our organisation will be able to attend any disciplinary or grievance hearings between an employer and a greenkeeper.
We all know of underlying circumstances where greenkeepers have had their working lives held to ransom by unfortunate and frankly unlawful circumstance. At the sharp end this can mean disruption, damage to family life, loss of livelihood and so on, and all of it sometimes completely unnecessary.
Employers, particularly committees made up in traditional golf club style can and do get the matters of procedure and process all wrong. A camel is indeed sometimes a horse designed by a committee.
By working together I firmly believe we can make multiple and more fluid streams of connection between greenkeepers and employers, this to the benefit of all involved in celebrating the wonderful game of golf. Serving on a committee should be a pleasure as well.
Our web site is currently at www.theiga.net Please do come and chat, our forums are open 24 hours a day! If you are interested in joining us our Secretary is John Crawford, via firstname.lastname@example.org