Rolls-Royce workers fear not: the government's sent Bob Job and his rapid response team to find you work

Business

The scene: Derby town centre where the government’s Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response team has been dispatched and set up a pop-up shop to cope with the demand created by thousands of newly unemployed Rolls-Royce workers. Bob Job is interviewing Freya Finance, who has just been issued with her P45 and is wondering what she’s going to do.

Bob (brightly): “So who’s next? Ah right, Ms Finance. Worked in that department did you? Oh dear. Well just like your CEO Warren East, sorry, your former CEO Warren East, we want you to know that we and the government understand that this is hard and painful, but there’s no need to worry. We’re ready to help you get back into employment as soon as possible. Isn’t that nice?”

Freya (looking doubtful): “So what do you have?”

Bob: “I’m glad you asked. We have an attractive position opening up at an Amazon fulfilment centre! It’ll pay a bit less than you’re used to but…

Freya: “How much less?”

Bob: “Well, um, it is a bit better than the minimum wage.”

Freya: “So, a lot less. How on earth do you think I’m going to cover my mortgage if I take that? Is that really the best you can do? Don’t you have anything I can use the skills I spent three years and £40,000 on acquiring through my accounting degree?”

Bob: “Now there’s no need to be like that! Try to remember what the government and Rolls-Royce spokespeople have been saying. We feel your pain! Now, let me see, if that doesn’t appeal, how about this? It’s a company that’s local to you and they want someone with financial skills. It’s looking good…”

Freya (brightening up a bit): “That sounds more like it. What company would that be?”

Bob: “Sports Direct!”

Freya: “Moving swiftly on.”

Bob: “Now Freya, I really think you need to address your attitude. There are thousands of people in the same position as you, and not to put too fine a point on it, but if you don’t accept our help you can forget about signing on unless you want to be the poster child for when the local Tories want to bang on about lazy workshy benefit scroungers on the hustings. Or when The Sun wants to monster a welfare queen in a fancy house.”

Freya: “Lazy workshy scroungers who are in that position because of their policies you mean? As for The Sun, they’ll have to work quickly. At this rate the bank’s going to be looking at foreclosing on my house before long, and it isn’t that fancy, believe me.”

There is a pregnant pause as Bob and Freya glower at each other over the top of his computer. 

Freya: “You don’t have anything even slightly suitable do you? Admit it. And there isn’t going to be anything like the job I had for the company I was working for anywhere. We didn’t all vote Brexit in this town. Some of us were aware that nobody’s going to put a penny into manufacturing in this country while your bosses are screwing it all up.”

Freya (now speaking under her breath): “If only my gran had been Irish I’d get one of their passports, take that bloody Iain Duncan Smith’s advice and sling my hook out of this mess.”

Bob (tapping away at his computer with a hurt look playing across his face): “Wait a minute, what’s this? There’s something else just come up in finance! We need someone to come in and help us deal with, wow, an increased budget! Between you and me, it seems they’re expecting a lot more of these exercises. Half the car industry’s about to shut down as a result of Brexit, and the other half’s likely to follow it a few months later. So it looks like my job’s as safe as houses. Same’ll go for yours if you tick the right boxes, as I’m sure you do. It’s still not quite as much money as you got at Rolls but the pension’s good.”

Freya (taking a long and doubtful look at the gormless smile on Bob’s face): “You’d better show me the form then.”

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