Tag Archives: Thank You

Long Service Award

I had a strange letter from Tata Steel yesterday, apologising for a delay in providing me with a Long Service Award voucher. Now that’s something I hadn’t really thought of, but considering that I started work at British Steel on the 2nd of January 1996, I must have reached the 20-year milestone in the beginning of this year. Still, given the parlous circumstances of the company, which only got worse in the few months prior to my retirement, it was not actually something that I had expected to hear of.

The wording in the letter is rather strange. It states that “There have been a number of ongoing issues with provision of the vouchers” and later in the letter “… we are unable to accurately provide you with a date as to when vouchers will become available”. Makes you wonder what sort of altercation is going on behind the scenes. Are outside companies no longer willing to honour Tata’s voucher scheme, thinking that they might never see their money if they allowed the use of vouchers which they couldn’t recoup if the company went bust, or found a different owner.

All very mysterious, but since I haven’t had any communication from inside Tata Steel since the day I retired, I can’t really fathom what’s going on. I was given a name to contact should I want a cash sum instead of a voucher, so maybe I’ll use this avenue to see what’s happening.

Still, it makes you realise what a maelstrom the uncertain situation for those remaining in Strip Products UK must represent. There must be many people crossing both fingers and toes and hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.


To Whom It May Concern

In a previous blog I was talking about how old cynical me was still quite pleased when I received two reward & recognition vouchers towards the end of my time at Tata Steel. Something like this happened to me once before, but this time the thank you did not come from someone in a middle management position, but from the top.

This is how it happened : I was back in the UK, looking for jobs, and thought it would be nice if I could get some recommendation from my job in South Africa, just in case it was required. So write a little note to my boss there, and received the following letter:

To whom it may concern :Mr Roels was employed from mid 1984 to mid 1989 at the Iscor Works, Vanderbijlpark, in the division Product Technology.

Until March 1988 he worked in the section Steelmaking Technology, for the most part as Engineer on special projects, including hydrogen embrittlement in plate steel and cooling schedules for slabs. The last six months in this section he acted as Superintendent, with responsibility for BOF and Caster Technology and a workforce of three graduated people and fifteen Quality Controllers. Mr Roels was on the verge of being permanently appointed in this position, when a critical vacancy in the section Hot Mills Technology led to his appointment as Superintendent, Plate Mill Technology.

In his fifteen months in this section, he was primarily responsible for the development of new Plate Mill products (as rolled and heat treated). Here he was supported by five graduates and functioned well under extreme pressure resulting from expansion in the petrochemical industry with the emphasis on local supply of sophisticated pressure vessel steel qualities which had previously been imported.

All facets of Mr Roels’ work were characterised by a systematic approach which yielded meaningful, lucid results to the benefit of his employer and peers.

BJ Lodewijks
DG Stevens
G Kleinsmit


In the end I never had to use this letter. I did, however, keep it, because here was a clear acknowledgement from people I had worked for that what I had achieved was a job well done. That’s more than I ever got from my days anywhere else. I don’t know if these people are still around to receive my thanks, but here it is anyway.

Thank you Bart Lodewijks, Derrick Stevens and George Kleinsmit.


Reward and Recognition

During the first few years after Tata had taken over, a “Reward & Recognition” scheme was introduced, whereby anyone could nominate anyone who they thought had done a sterling job. When approved the person in question received a voucher worth £25 as a thank you for their efforts.

At the time I did not pay too much attention to it, and still don’t know what criteria apply for such a request to be approved, but I remember feeling rather cynical about it – after all, what does £25 mean in the grand scheme of things ? It doesn’t even amount to half a week’s shopping in Asda.

That perception changed the moment I happened to become the recipient of two reward & recognition vouchers in quick succession. Both came shortly before I retired, and after I had completed the development of two separate recording systems, one for our Occupational Health people, the other for our Internal Audit team. Especially was a bit touch and go but I still managed to have the last building blocks in place within the last month before I retired.

Somehow, even though the £25 voucher is not a big deal, it adds a bit of meaning to the thank you card you receive, and shows that someone is willing to put their money where their mouth is. Mind you, the surprise value also matters – presumably I wouldn’t have felt so good about if I had been half-expecting the reward.

So I assume that’s one in the eye for my normal cynical self.