AGM Activism: the 4,000th Living Wage employer – thanks to Share Action!

 Miscellany  Comments Off on AGM Activism: the 4,000th Living Wage employer – thanks to Share Action!
Apr 262018
 

We all deserve to be paid a true Living Wage: a fair day’s pay for a day’s hard work, calculated based upon the Cost of Living. That’s why in Summer 2017 I attended Croda International’s AGM, on behalf of Share Action.

I knew we may be pushing on an open door; and I’m glad to say we were: our approach asking them to consider Living Wage Foundation accreditation was well received.

As a result, Croda met with ShareAction and the Living Wage Foundation; and in March 2018, Croda became the 4,000th UK company to become Living Wage Foundation accredited!

Picutre: me on a bus

On the Bus to the AGM

So yesterday I went to their AGM to congratulate them on their achievement, and to ask them what benefits the Living Wage is bringing them.

Before the “formal” business started, I chatted with Group Chief Executive Steve Foots. He described the Living Wage as a “no-brainer” for such a people-focussed company; and he was glad to share the good news around all areas of the company. Tracy Sheedy, Group HR Director told me that Croda’s commitment to the Living Wage had resulted in increasing wages and compliance across other local employers, which is great.

Then the formal business began. I steeled myself to ask my question – the first of several searching questions from the audience. I introduced the subject, and asked:

In what way do you see this positive investment in your employees as helping to deliver your strategy for the years ahead?

a selfie

With Anita Frew, Group Chair of Croda International

Croda’s directors told me that they were very grateful ShareAction had brought the Living Wage to their attention. It shows the power of listening to shareholders, and they were very happy to move forward. On reviewing their workforce, they discovered that only 10 of their 1,000+ UK employees were paid under the living wage. This was unacceptable given their people culture, and something they sorted out immediately. Now they are working on making sure all their contractors also pay the Living Wage.

People are the most important asset to Croda, as it is People who deliver innovation. They’re proud to be “doing the right thing” and have noticed a morale boost, and the publicity it has generated has also been positive, particularly as they happen to be the 4,000th Living Wage employer.

Afterwards, I persuaded Anita Frew, Group Chair to agree to a selfie with me (thanks Anita!), and I celebrated with the Board and shareholders over posh nosh, in the similarly posh surroundings of the Pavilions of Harrogate.

I guess it just goes to show: Share Activism does make a difference!

May 292016
 

Back in July 2014, whilst on a day trip to Whitby, I ate at the Angel Wetherspoons’ pub. I sent this tweet.

Wetherspoons responded by pulling the CCTV of our meal and interviewing the waitress. They indicated that the portion size was within one standard deviation of the mean of their standard so they were content with the size of the portion. They accounted for my disapproval with the observation that I had been eating for precisely 2 minutes and 17 seconds when I took the photo, and stated that the waitress had testified that I had not indicated any displeasure to her at the time of the meal.

I was impressed with this commitment to customer satisfaction, so when I attended The Corryvreckan (Wetherspoons’ pub in Oban) whilst on holiday last week, I decided to support their analysis with the provision of data from another sample. This is therefore a comparative study of the size of Wetherspoons’ Steak and Kidney pudding meal.

meal diameter The diameter of the meal is approximately 18cm, on a patterned plate of approximately 25cm. The surface area of a plate of diameter d is approximately (πd2)/4, or in this case 490cm2. Of that, approximately 250cm2 was obscured by food or by the gravy pot, that being an occlusion of approximately 51% of the plate. This appears to be roughly equivalent to that of Whitby in 2014; though I note that the practice of providing a gravy boat may give the impression of more food than previously.
 The chips appear to be distributed on the plate in a pseudo-random distribution. The average depth of food on the plate is therefore difficult to estimate, but is perhaps a mean of 1 or 2 centimetres from the deepest point.  chup thickness
 pie diameter 2  The pudding varies in diameter between 7cm at its “base” (the top in this picture) to 10cm at its “top” (the bottom in this picture.) The pudding is approximately 6cm in height. Using the reasonable approximation of a cylinder of diameter 8.5cm, its volume can therefore be approximated using the formula volume=(πd2h)/4=340cm3. The density of cooked ground beef is approximately 1.03gcm-3, essentially indistinguishable from the density of distilled water at standard temperature and pressure (1gcm-3), so I estimate the mass of the pudding is approximately 340g. Comparative research of other single portion steak and kidney pies reveals that this is within an order of magnitude of expectation.
 pie height  pie diameter
 There were precisely 30 chips, varying in length between 2cm and 12cm, with a median length of perhaps 8cm. There was therefore approximately 2.4m of chip on the plate.  chip length
 chip thickness  The average thickness of each chip was 0.64mm. Given the presence of some outliers with tapered ends, I am estimating the total volume of the chips on the plate as being 240cm x 0.6cm x 0.6cm or 86.4cm3. Fried potatoes have a density of 449Kg/m3, or approximately 0.5gcm-3, so I estimate the total mass of chips to be approximately 43g.

Research indicates that the average portion of cooked chips is 200g, and that a few chips either way can make large cost differences. I frankly suspect some scrimping here.

 There were 169 peas. They averaged 0.45cm in diameter. The volume of a sphere of diameter d is (πd3)/6, so each pea measured approximately 0.047cm3. The total peaage was therefore approximately 8cm3.

The NHS states that the “five a day” portions of veg can include “three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables”. A heaped tablespoon is 30cm3. This is therefore about a third of a portion of peas on that plate.

The density of cooked peas is 0.68gcm-3. The mass of peas was therefore approximately 5.5g.

 peas
 pie level  The gravy boat is a new addition since 2014. The depth of the gravy is approximately 3.5cm.

The average individual portion of gravy is approximately 50cm3.  For the gravy boat to hold that amount, it would have to have a surface area of perhaps 14cm2. I estimate that the surface area of this gravy portion exceeds this and therefore we are on the up.

But not all the gravy got eaten, as I was not furnished with a spoon.

 The total mass of the pudding, the peas and the chips was therefore approximately 390g.

The average eating rate varies substantially by individual, food type and circumstances but is approximately 100g per minute. This meal would therefore take the average person approximately 4 minutes to eat.

Of course, because I was being sarcastic and pissing about with a camera and a ruler, it took me substantially longer.

 tally
  drinkheight  My blackcurrant and soda was approximately 11cm in height and the glass was approximately 5.5cm in diameter. Its volume = (πd2h)/4 = 260ml, or just less than half an imperial pint.
 But, of course, some of that was taken up by ice cubes. There were 5, with an average size of 1.5cm. The total volume of ice was therefore 5 x 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 = approximately 17ml.

In approximately half of cases, restaurant ice has over 1,000 colliform bacteria per cube (i.e. faecal bacteria) and is thus more contaminated than toilet water.

On average, there was therefore probably 2,500 poo-based bacteria in the ice cubes in that glass.

 ice cube size
 receipt length  The receipt varied from 19cm in length to 20.5cm, at a width of 8cm. The total surface area of the receipt was therefore 164cm2. At an assumed weight of 58gm-2, the paper weighed approximately 9mg – or approximately a billionth of the mass of this European oak tree.

Conclusion

I hope that this comparative study of the dimensional composition of my meal is to the exacting standards of Wetherspoons and contributes to their body of statistical analysis of their meal – and I look forward to their prompt analysis as to whether their Oban staff complied with Wetherspoons’ evil corporate penny-pinching control-freak bollocks.

Slimming World Syn values of Diet Chef foods

 Miscellany  Comments Off on Slimming World Syn values of Diet Chef foods
Feb 262016
 

I am a fat whatsit and really need to lose weight. I lost a lot on Slimming World a few years ago, then did Diet Chef for a while, now I’m back on Slimming World again (there’s more choice and it’s more sustainable long-term.) So I have Diet Chef stock in the cupboard but I’m on Slimming World. Slimming World syns online and so on don’t list Diet Chef foods, so I’ve shoved the various Diet Chef foods in my cupboard through the Slimming World online syns calculator, with appropriate selection of any free food content. I thought this might prove vaguely useful to somebody else, hence this departure from my normal content on my blog.
I don’t guarantee it to be error free, the recipe may change, it’s not all the Diet Chef foods (just the ones I could stomach), don’t leave your grandma out in a gale and always make sure to shut the firebox and turn the blower on when entering a tunnel, or at the very least open the regulator all the way.

Main Meals

Meal Syns
Mild Chicken Tikka Massala
Lasagne
Sweet and Sour Chicken 6
Chicken in Black Bean Sauce
Chicken Jalfrezi
Thai Red Chicken Curry
Vegetable Curry
Macaroni Cheese 5
Sausages and Onion Gravy

Lunches

Meal Syns
Cream of Tomato Soup
Mushroom Soup
Pea and Ham Soup Free
Curried Parsnip Soup 4
Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup
Oxtail Soup 3
Creamy Pesto Pasta Pot ½
Spiced Bulgar Wheat & Couscous Pot Free
Lemon & Herb Bulgar Wheat & Couscous Pot ½
Tomato & Herb Bulgar Wheat & Couscous Pot ½
Tomato, Red Pepper & Cheese Pasta Pot Free
Vanilla Flavour Protein Bar 11½
Chocolate Flavour Protein Bar 11½
Peanut Flavour Protein Bar 11½

Breakfasts

I guess it’s up to you if you count any of these as “own brand” Healthy Bs, though they are slightly bigger at 40g.

Meal Syns
Fruit and Oat Muesli
Luxuri Muesli
Chocolate Granola 10
Treacle & Pecan Granola 10
Fruit & Oat Soft Cookie 10
Chocolate Soft Cookie 10
Original Muesli Bar 10
Chocolate Chip Muesli Bar

Snacks

Snack Syns
Fruit & Spice Oat Buiscuits 4
Stem Ginger Oat Buiscuits
Dark Chocolate Chip Oat Buiscuits
Mixed Berry Oat Buiscuits
Cranberry Protein Bar 30g 6
Strawbery & Apple Bar 2
Chocolate Bar 5
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