November sees big changes in the United States, Furlough extended in the UK. Our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns continues.
Donald Trump loses the US election following the largest turn out in a US election ever.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak extends the government's furlough scheme to the end of March 2021.
Leaders from all four UK nations agree a national deal to relax Covid-19 restrictions over the Christmas period.
The tiered lockdowns cause business to drop a little to 29% of normal.
View from the top
Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group
Thank God the furlough initiative has been extended. There is no doubt it is helping us keep staff and crew on board and although the first couple of months furloughing 300 people was a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare, there are fewer numbers now and we are on top of the issues. But outside of this, my humour is diminishing and the anger starting to simmer. The cause of my ire is these pillocks ignoring social distancing and the wearing of masks. It’s these idiots creating the spikes in infections so causing venues to remain closed and me and my fellow members of the event community to suffer increasing hardship, financial, mental and physical. There are days when anyone I see without a mask I just want to bust in the mouth. It is a sad reflection that our society is riddled to such an extent with such stupidity, ignorance and utter selfishness. Where have these cretins come from. My children can’t go to school, I can’t go to work, my wife can’t go to Harrods (ok I made this one up). You get my drift!
On the front line
Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West
An unpleasant month for me in that after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive, I was told I must self-isolate for 14 days. It again becomes apparent that we are very much still fighting this disease and the upmost care should still be taken to protect ourselves. I feel lucky that I didn’t test positive myself after a test.
We are told that we are to be moved onto a flexi-furlough scheme and as long as we are prepared to take shifts, we will continue to have our wages “topped up”. This is met with appreciation and relief from all the guys and me.
Scott Young – Senior Crew Chief – Scotland
A solid week of work, wow!
I really need to go on a diet!!
Sold my flat!!!
Dave Gregory – Senior Crew Chief – London
November hits and Boris announced another lockdown but this time I had freelance work and Gallowglass shifts which was good, so I was not stressing about money or lack of work.
Mark Visser – Crew Chief – London
Although the talk of going into lockdown again causes a slight drop in business there is still work available.
13th November sign more documents, this time for flexi-furlough.
With there being no yard to collect vehicles from, being paid to drop off or collect a vehicle from another driver makes one feel appreciated and not being exploited.
Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London
Another National Lockdown was announced, to one’s great frustration. Before we knew it however, we were back on a furlough variant coined flexi-furlough. This was a relief, and a psychological boost: Gallowglass was very much in a position to weather the storm, and we saw the number of shifts starting to increase. Most of our work was now related to the Film and TV industry, provided COVID protocols were respected. Lots of hours became available.
What happened in BD
Antony Cook – Head of Business Development
As we roll towards Christmas things would normally start to slow down and I would be gearing up for a few libations at the Production Managers Lunch/Dinner/Early Morning get together with our partners at TSL, Stage One & Delta Live, normally a great chance to chat with industry colleagues/miscreants who have been too busy throughout the year to take my calls (you know who are!!!) An event that takes a lot of prep & organisation for all those involved, the invitation list itself a lengthy tome as you would image, free beer & food for those in attendance, what PM would say no! A pain in the arse to do but really missed bringing it all together.
What happened in HR
Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources
Back into a mini lockdown! The LoveLife Prize fund went live to raise money for Stagehand which is the PSA’s live production welfare and benevolent fund. There are some truly remarkable prizes and I am encouraging everyone I know to buy a few tickets - the aim is to help those most in need to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their head. Staggering and impressive to see how many people have donated and then to see how much Stagehand have been able to raise. Amazing!
What happened in IT
Darren Thorley – Head of IT
Everyone is told that we will all be going on flexi-furlough to allow part time working owing to the drop in business volumes.
My time is primarily spent managing the Azure setup and keeping the costs as low as possible so for the first time, I was being furloughed for short periods.