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Union Membership in company where Union not recognised

BozabykaBozabyka Posts: 252
edited January 2017 in The cake stop
For some years I worked for a company where Unite was recognised. I have continued to be a member although I now work for a company where the union is not recognised. Is membership worthwhile at near £20 a month or would I be better talking to Acas if issues arise?

Posts

  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,809
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights

    Since the Guardian is left leaning it's got no axe to grind.

    The best platform you have is your employment rights and get to know these and act accordingly. Avoid at all costs the mediocre degrees and achievements of inhouse solicitors as the most able are in private practise and will effectively tear throats out on your behalf, or at least that's my experience from the opposite side of the fence. For a company to contest an employment tribunal the cost alone to defend the action is north of £20k. That cost is to defend the action and if they lose they will need to pay your legal costs and damages which means most companies will negotiate a compromise agreement which means you get a lump sum and have to abide by certain conditions.
    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 39,631
    slowmart wrote:
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights
    Thanks - useful link for the Labour party thread :)
    Whippet
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    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Bozabyka wrote:
    Is membership worthwhile at near £20 a month

    Even if the union is recognised what do you get for £250 a year?
    Fair-weather commuter
    Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0 in Black - WOW :)
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  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 39,631
    Bozabyka wrote:
    Is membership worthwhile at near £20 a month

    Even if the union is recognised what do you get for £250 a year?
    Well paid union bosses.
    Whippet
    Bruiser
    Panzer
    Commuter

    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,167
    My ex-colleague ripped our former company apart using a specialist employment solicitor with the costs covered by the legal cover on his house insurance. I think most people have that cover but never think to use it. The company took its usual arrogant stance thinking they could bully him with he legal costs and ended up turned to mincemeat. He said it was well worth the £2 a year increase in his house insurance policy!

    Having seen the complete lack of support given to colleagues by Unison during the 1996 local Goverment reorganisation I'll never join another Union. Even the supposed benefits such as cheap insurance and mortgages could be beaten on the open market with little effort. I did however help the local reps enjoy a week away on full pay to get hammered at the annual conference.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 3,453
    edited December 2016
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    slowmart wrote:
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights
    Thanks - useful link for the Labour party thread :)
    My wife works in the charitable sector. Same thing, pretty much, except for her it is middle class middle aged yoghurt knitters who don't know they are born. 30+ days leave a year, plus time back for every second after hours (not taking into account nattering for most of the actual working hours of course), and lots and lots of earnest wringing of hands over the state of things.

    I think its something to do with do-gooding. Gets you off the hook for having to do any good.
  • Stevo 666 wrote:
    Bozabyka wrote:
    Is membership worthwhile at near £20 a month

    Even if the union is recognised what do you get for £250 a year?
    Well paid union bosses.

    There's some sort of irony about this when combined with the statement "the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money"

    :lol:
    Fair-weather commuter
    Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0 in Black - WOW :)
    Giant Defy 2 - FCN 4(summer) / 5(winter) - Great bike
    Hybrid - FCN 8 - Relegated to the pub bike
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,952
    slowmart wrote:
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights

    Since the Guardian is left leaning it's got no axe to grind.

    The best platform you have is your employment rights and get to know these and act accordingly. Avoid at all costs the mediocre degrees and achievements of inhouse solicitors as the most able are in private practise and will effectively tear throats out on your behalf, or at least that's my experience from the opposite side of the fence. For a company to contest an employment tribunal the cost alone to defend the action is north of £20k. That cost is to defend the action and if they lose they will need to pay your legal costs and damages which means most companies will negotiate a compromise agreement which means you get a lump sum and have to abide by certain conditions.
    And what cost to the employee of taking a case to tribunal? I would also suggest that all unions are not alike. One personal account is not evidence that all unions are as described. Some may indeed be rather uninterested in the small(er) battles of individual members, but others may do much better at this.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,809
    rjsterry wrote:
    slowmart wrote:
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights

    Since the Guardian is left leaning it's got no axe to grind.

    The best platform you have is your employment rights and get to know these and act accordingly. Avoid at all costs the mediocre degrees and achievements of inhouse solicitors as the most able are in private practise and will effectively tear throats out on your behalf, or at least that's my experience from the opposite side of the fence. For a company to contest an employment tribunal the cost alone to defend the action is north of £20k. That cost is to defend the action and if they lose they will need to pay your legal costs and damages which means most companies will negotiate a compromise agreement which means you get a lump sum and have to abide by certain conditions.
    And what cost to the employee of taking a case to tribunal? I would also suggest that all unions are not alike. One personal account is not evidence that all unions are as described. Some may indeed be rather uninterested in the small(er) battles of individual members, but others may do much better at this.


    https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/make-a-claim

    Just over a years union subscription or more dependent upon the claim. Unions are an archaic and ineffective tool in today's employment landscape given the weighting of employees legal rights.

    Unfortunately the unions have little relevance or effectiveness in areas where they are most needed, zero hour contracts and the gig economy.
    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    Well, they do seem to have their hands full balloting for industrial action at every available opportunity - I'm not actually sure if that equates with standing up for their members.
  • meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    You are right, of course. Much of what unions do is unseen. For all practical purposes, employment law is inaccessible to most, and if used a nuclear option and effectively career ending. Unions offer advocacy otherwise unavailable.

    The problem, perhaps well exemplified by the RMT, is mass action. From what I can see, it is frequently stirred by a minority on the basis of half-truths, voted on by the minority and strikes observed by most, because of the peer pressure of not doing.

    Too often, union leaders act like blunt politicians, whilst pretending to be different. In the main I see this as disguising the real reason for strikes. Take the southern rail (and scotrail) strikes - clearly this is an effort to save jobs that will eventually be mechanised. Holding back the tide of technology and trying to prevent the inevitable. However its being sold as being for "safety", which just doesn't bear scrutiny.

    Do the people striking know this? Or are they just pawns.
  • Bozabyka wrote:
    For some years I worked for a company where Unite was recognised. I have continued to be a member although I now work for a company where the union is not recognised. Is membership worthwhile at near £20 a month or would I be better talking to Acas if issues arise?

    A fine question and what better place to ask it.

    So we are able to offer the best advice would you be so kind as to list the benefits of Unite membership and the procedures for individuals taking their employer to Acas.

    Also please rank yourself 1-5 with 1 being inadequate, 2 being need to improve, 3 being up to the standard required, 4 surpasses expectations, 5 outstanding
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,167
    meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    You are right, of course. Much of what unions do is unseen. For all practical purposes, employment law is inaccessible to most, and if used a nuclear option and effectively career ending. Unions offer advocacy otherwise unavailable.

    The problem, perhaps well exemplified by the RMT, is mass action. From what I can see, it is frequently stirred by a minority on the basis of half-truths, voted on by the minority and strikes observed by most, because of the peer pressure of not doing.

    Too often, union leaders act like blunt politicians, whilst pretending to be different. In the main I see this as disguising the real reason for strikes. Take the southern rail (and scotrail) strikes - clearly this is an effort to save jobs that will eventually be mechanised. Holding back the tide of technology and trying to prevent the inevitable. However its being sold as being for "safety", which just doesn't bear scrutiny.

    Do the people striking know this? Or are they just pawns.

    Why would employment law be inaccessible? I've given you an example above of someone getting top quality advice on employment issues for the princely sum of £2 a year on an insurance policy. It shouldn't be career ending either, why would a company not employ you just because you defended your rights that are backed by the law of the land? If they do that is it really somewhere you'd want to work and would they behave differently if you set the Union on them?
  • Pross wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    You are right, of course. Much of what unions do is unseen. For all practical purposes, employment law is inaccessible to most, and if used a nuclear option and effectively career ending. Unions offer advocacy otherwise unavailable.

    The problem, perhaps well exemplified by the RMT, is mass action. From what I can see, it is frequently stirred by a minority on the basis of half-truths, voted on by the minority and strikes observed by most, because of the peer pressure of not doing.

    Too often, union leaders act like blunt politicians, whilst pretending to be different. In the main I see this as disguising the real reason for strikes. Take the southern rail (and scotrail) strikes - clearly this is an effort to save jobs that will eventually be mechanised. Holding back the tide of technology and trying to prevent the inevitable. However its being sold as being for "safety", which just doesn't bear scrutiny.

    Do the people striking know this? Or are they just pawns.

    Why would employment law be inaccessible? I've given you an example above of someone getting top quality advice on employment issues for the princely sum of £2 a year on an insurance policy. It shouldn't be career ending either, why would a company not employ you just because you defended your rights that are backed by the law of the land? If they do that is it really somewhere you'd want to work and would they behave differently if you set the Union on them?
    Whilst here in the real world...
    It is unlikely that under normal circumstances a home insurance policy would cover legal work of this nature. It is basically assessed on probability of success, so for it to have ever been covered, the prima facie case must have been pretty damn strong. And whether or not having been in an employment tribunal is career ending probably depends on the sector. For employers in my field, it would be a red flag for sure.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,952
    slowmart wrote:
    rjsterry wrote:
    slowmart wrote:
    Employment law protects your rights better than any union. Unions exist for the sole benefit of enriching the officers of the union rather than delivering benefits for their members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ers-rights

    Since the Guardian is left leaning it's got no axe to grind.

    The best platform you have is your employment rights and get to know these and act accordingly. Avoid at all costs the mediocre degrees and achievements of inhouse solicitors as the most able are in private practise and will effectively tear throats out on your behalf, or at least that's my experience from the opposite side of the fence. For a company to contest an employment tribunal the cost alone to defend the action is north of £20k. That cost is to defend the action and if they lose they will need to pay your legal costs and damages which means most companies will negotiate a compromise agreement which means you get a lump sum and have to abide by certain conditions.
    And what cost to the employee of taking a case to tribunal? I would also suggest that all unions are not alike. One personal account is not evidence that all unions are as described. Some may indeed be rather uninterested in the small(er) battles of individual members, but others may do much better at this.


    https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/make-a-claim

    Just over a years union subscription or more dependent upon the claim. Unions are an archaic and ineffective tool in today's employment landscape given the weighting of employees legal rights.

    Unfortunately the unions have little relevance or effectiveness in areas where they are most needed, zero hour contracts and the gig economy.
    That's just the application fee. Unless you are representing yourself it's going to cost you a lot more than that to make your case, and no legal aid any more.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,809
    Pross wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    You are right, of course. Much of what unions do is unseen. For all practical purposes, employment law is inaccessible to most, and if used a nuclear option and effectively career ending. Unions offer advocacy otherwise unavailable.

    The problem, perhaps well exemplified by the RMT, is mass action. From what I can see, it is frequently stirred by a minority on the basis of half-truths, voted on by the minority and strikes observed by most, because of the peer pressure of not doing.

    Too often, union leaders act like blunt politicians, whilst pretending to be different. In the main I see this as disguising the real reason for strikes. Take the southern rail (and scotrail) strikes - clearly this is an effort to save jobs that will eventually be mechanised. Holding back the tide of technology and trying to prevent the inevitable. However its being sold as being for "safety", which just doesn't bear scrutiny.

    Do the people striking know this? Or are they just pawns.

    Why would employment law be inaccessible? I've given you an example above of someone getting top quality advice on employment issues for the princely sum of £2 a year on an insurance policy. It shouldn't be career ending either, why would a company not employ you just because you defended your rights that are backed by the law of the land? If they do that is it really somewhere you'd want to work and would they behave differently if you set the Union on them?
    Whilst here in the real world...
    It is unlikely that under normal circumstances a home insurance policy would cover legal work of this nature. It is basically assessed on probability of success, so for it to have ever been covered, the prima facie case must have been pretty damn strong. And whether or not having been in an employment tribunal is career ending probably depends on the sector. For employers in my field, it would be a red flag for sure.


    Most claims don’t actually reach a final tribunal hearing.

    20%, one in five, is settled via ACAS. 53%, just over half, are withdrawn by the claimant. Most of these withdrawals, but not all, represent some form of non-ACAS settlement. So, in somewhere around two thirds of cases, claimants walk away with a negotiated settlement.

    Only 3% of claimants obtain default judgment — judgment entered in their favour because the respondent failed to reply to the claim.

    Rather more, 8%, have their claims struck out without a hearing. In the vast majority of cases this is because of failing to obey the tribunal’s case-management orders.

    Only 14% of cases are determined at a hearing by the tribunal. In 2013-14 the results were split precisely down the middle. Half were won by the Claimant and half by the respondent.*

    *http://etclaims.co.uk/2015/01/claimants-ever-win-employment-tribunal/

    In effect a compromise agreement is reached where in legal terms all the events which led to the signing remain confidential and means the companies reputation remains intact and the employee secures a reference.

    I'd say if you have a solid case then you will in effect walk away with a compromise agreement, lump sum and a reference. The most important aspect here is to understand the obligations of your employer in meeting your rights in full. Thats a heavy burden to lift before a tribunal and the majority of small to medium businesses are ignorant of this duty.
    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,952
    slowmart wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    All unions are not the same. The RMT have a strong record of standing up for their members.

    (Waits for Tory hysteria...)
    You are right, of course. Much of what unions do is unseen. For all practical purposes, employment law is inaccessible to most, and if used a nuclear option and effectively career ending. Unions offer advocacy otherwise unavailable.

    The problem, perhaps well exemplified by the RMT, is mass action. From what I can see, it is frequently stirred by a minority on the basis of half-truths, voted on by the minority and strikes observed by most, because of the peer pressure of not doing.

    Too often, union leaders act like blunt politicians, whilst pretending to be different. In the main I see this as disguising the real reason for strikes. Take the southern rail (and scotrail) strikes - clearly this is an effort to save jobs that will eventually be mechanised. Holding back the tide of technology and trying to prevent the inevitable. However its being sold as being for "safety", which just doesn't bear scrutiny.

    Do the people striking know this? Or are they just pawns.

    Why would employment law be inaccessible? I've given you an example above of someone getting top quality advice on employment issues for the princely sum of £2 a year on an insurance policy. It shouldn't be career ending either, why would a company not employ you just because you defended your rights that are backed by the law of the land? If they do that is it really somewhere you'd want to work and would they behave differently if you set the Union on them?
    Whilst here in the real world...
    It is unlikely that under normal circumstances a home insurance policy would cover legal work of this nature. It is basically assessed on probability of success, so for it to have ever been covered, the prima facie case must have been pretty damn strong. And whether or not having been in an employment tribunal is career ending probably depends on the sector. For employers in my field, it would be a red flag for sure.


    Most claims don’t actually reach a final tribunal hearing.

    20%, one in five, is settled via ACAS. 53%, just over half, are withdrawn by the claimant. Most of these withdrawals, but not all, represent some form of non-ACAS settlement. So, in somewhere around two thirds of cases, claimants walk away with a negotiated settlement.

    Only 3% of claimants obtain default judgment — judgment entered in their favour because the respondent failed to reply to the claim.

    Rather more, 8%, have their claims struck out without a hearing. In the vast majority of cases this is because of failing to obey the tribunal’s case-management orders.

    Only 14% of cases are determined at a hearing by the tribunal. In 2013-14 the results were split precisely down the middle. Half were won by the Claimant and half by the respondent.*

    *http://etclaims.co.uk/2015/01/claimants-ever-win-employment-tribunal/

    In effect a compromise agreement is reached where in legal terms all the events which led to the signing remain confidential and means the companies reputation remains intact and the employee secures a reference.

    I'd say if you have a solid case then you will in effect walk away with a compromise agreement, lump sum and a reference. The most important aspect here is to understand the obligations of your employer in meeting your rights in full. Thats a heavy burden to lift before a tribunal and the majority of small to medium businesses are ignorant of this duty.
    All of which would suggest that Pross's acquaintance was not really typical.

    Going back to the OP, the answer would depend on what you think the likelihood of some kind of dispute with the new employer would be. It doesn't sound very encouraging if you are asking the question before you have even started.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • Good post. The very largest companies in my sector are <1000 employees worldwide, with a "big" company having 200-300. I think they mostly have HR people to pick up the pieces after arrogant man-children have broken something.
  • ProssPross Posts: 22,167
    rjsterry wrote:
    All of which would suggest that Pross's acquaintance was not really typical.

    Going back to the OP, the answer would depend on what you think the likelihood of some kind of dispute with the new employer would be. It doesn't sound very encouraging if you are asking the question before you have even started.

    How did you come to that conclusion? My ex-colleague walked away with a settlement better than he'd expected. He went through an internal grievance which he lost as have all the other employees who went down that route (hardly a surprise as the grievance is heard by one if the Directors. He appealed it and at his appeal had answers to everything thrown at him courtesy of his legal advice. From my (albeit old and brief) experience of Unions I wouldn't have counted on similar support.

    In answer to the original question, I can't see a Union helping a one off employee - their biggest weapon is encouraging withdrawal of labour if a dispute can't be resolved. How much effort would a Union put into helping someone outside their 'core' membership?
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 16,952
    Pross wrote:
    rjsterry wrote:
    All of which would suggest that Pross's acquaintance was not really typical.

    Going back to the OP, the answer would depend on what you think the likelihood of some kind of dispute with the new employer would be. It doesn't sound very encouraging if you are asking the question before you have even started.

    How did you come to that conclusion? My ex-colleague walked away with a settlement better than he'd expected. He went through an internal grievance which he lost as have all the other employees who went down that route (hardly a surprise as the grievance is heard by one if the Directors. He appealed it and at his appeal had answers to everything thrown at him courtesy of his legal advice. From my (albeit old and brief) experience of Unions I wouldn't have counted on similar support.

    In answer to the original question, I can't see a Union helping a one off employee - their biggest weapon is encouraging withdrawal of labour if a dispute can't be resolved. How much effort would a Union put into helping someone outside their 'core' membership?
    I may have got the wrong end of the stick, but the stats suggested relatively few disputes got all the way to a tribunal and then concluded in favour of the employee. No idea how common it is for that kind of legal representation to be covered under household insurance, but I would guess not standard.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    1980s BSA 10sp

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,809
    Bottom line hear is the legal obligations placed on a business which invariably most fall short, either knowingly or through ignorance. The net effect is the same, damages incurred and then it's simply down to how much is paid out.
    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • I lodged a grievance at one former employer. With only the government site description of the legal requirements of such a process to assist me. The guy subject to my grievance was appointed by the owner of the sme. They rallied around him. He put everything against me such as my line manager, who had already said he'd be there in my corner, got sent away the day the grievance meeting was scheduled. I got lumbered with a manager who no longer had any line management role with me. He was widely known for only doing things in his own interest. Result? It hurt and i never even got a pillow to bite on!

    They used an appraisal report partly written and saved on the servers by a former manager who'd long since left. It wasn't even in my file. It wasn't signed off by me as having been read / agreed. It wasn't finished and he re-wrote it in a later version (i found that much later). Either way there wasn't even any paperwork done for that one and only appraisal I'd had in that company.

    Basically put the causes of my grievance weren't looked at only evidence that i wasn't doing my job. There wasn't evidence but it was still recorded that i was incompetent in that process.

    Still the director chairing and deciding on tree outcome of my grievance within a year had dispensed with the person my grievance was with. I however got a couple of pay rises and became a key member of the company. Seems my grievance had been a bit of politics above my pay grade. Who'd have thought? Me for one. I played the game with long-term benefit. When he'd left those taking over knew the trouble i went through and how it was among the last straws that got him out.

    Now the only benefit a non-recognized union could have done for me is advise me and i believe i could have one of their people acting in my corner in that stitch up meeting i had. As i believe the law allows me to choose who to be in that meeting on my behalf. I didn't think the guy i got lumbered with was going to back the subject of my grievance up like that. The union guy and my actual line manager would have the knowledge / experience / skills to redirect the meeting to the topic of it. My line manager actually went to bat for me afterwards. Too late but another thing that led to the outcome being good for me in the long term. I'm lucky I guess
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,390
    The two main things a union are good for is negotiating pay deals and representing you in any grievance procedure. I had with a dispute and the experience of the union rep made it possible to negotiate the process without having to raise a formal grievance, thus avoiding the adversarial formal process. Basically he knew who the reasonable and level headed people were in HR and management and he was reasonable and level headed himself. This of course flies against the stereotypical image of union involvement in anything, but it is my experience.

    As your union have no representation at your place of work, they cannot do these things for you. While they would find a rep to help you with a grievance, the rep would lack knowledge of your firms particular practices and policies beyond what the law requires, and are unlikely to be any more help than the free support offered by citizens advice bureau. So not worth the money to you personally. If you have an ideological wish to support the union then go ahead. If your employer provides public services through a voluntary of private sector contract then union negotiations for the public sector will contribute to your future pay deals.
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,238
    Because the OP has less than 2 years service (actually <103 weeks) then he has no protection against on dismissal unless it is based on discrimination and maybe TUPE - which is, for the employee, nicely vague and complicated. He has all of the normal protection under contract law and employment law however.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
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