Training attendance is the price I pay if I’m to retain my judicial appointment.
(No, no. Don’t get too excited. This is small beer stuff. I’m no high flyer.)
So, today I spent a day ‘being trained’. Being forced to remember all that I had learned too long ago – to revisit a subject I thought my legal books and case law would suffice for (if really forced).
TUPE. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 and then 2006… 77/198/EEC… 98/50 EC…Directive 2001/23/EC…
Why, oh why, TUPE?
Because the Government are consulting on possible changes.
TUPE was exciting once.
I think I remember. At the height of Thatcher’s revolution it represented some little protection for employees who faced transfer of their jobs to another employer. It made it less (only ultimately a little less) attractive for private contractors to bid for public services – ‘contracting out’ – when they faced the prospect of having to honour those employees’ same terms and conditions.
It came about because of Italy. Give it up for the Italians and their 1960s/70s employment law practices!
TUPE has long since had its high day. Cleverer legal minds than mine have picked it apart and exposed its bones – which were suddenly found to be full of holes. And the EAT has managed a lot of strange, sometimes contradictory caselaw on the subject.
There are a few areas of law which I hate. Which I dread. Where my mind seems to shut down as soon as I lift my books. But of them all, I hate TUPE. I dread being asked about TUPE.
Making the day worse (for me), the trainer lectured. In a whining monotone he delivered very competent material, punctuated by well-intentioned references to his personal life.
And so I had travelled into Glasgow down a time travel tunnel to find myself in a curious old-fashioned lecture. Something I’d just about forgotten happened.
Years of training via workshops and focus groups and working groups and video-conferencing and e-training and role-playing and…
I was sat in a stuffy room, facing a whiteboard with the smizzling rain of a grey Wednesday-Glasgow falling on the window behind me and I remembered why a term of University lectures had convinced me I was narcoleptic.
Vice President came first. Bearing an hour long gift of depressing statistics. Then the trainer delivered two 100 minute lectures back-to-back. Filling in for the folk who should’ve but couldn’t be there. Time dripped by. Measured by rain on the glass plate, by my pen’s scratching of notes and then single words and then doodles on the powerpoint, by twitching and fidgeting, by the sitting unease of near four hours on a straight backed tribunal room chair and a growing cramp in thigh and calve.
And then, between the nagging of boredom and the heat and the metronome anti-cadence of human voice my head began to feel too heavy for my neck, eyelids too heavy for my sight, the whole weary day of lecture and learning too heavy for a mind full of dreaming and of not wanting to be there.
A lifetime of learning and I still have no self-discipline in the classroom. If it’s not new and not challenging I simply switch off. I’m 45 and yet I do this to myself time after time. I just allow myself to drift.
I haven’t a clue what it is I was meant to learn today. Except that 4 hours in the same hard chair hurts your back.