Home Bowls A Turf Care Community’s need to be heard

A Turf Care Community’s need to be heard

by TurfCareBlog

A Turf care community’s need to be heard is a blog on my thoughts and concerns with some of the current and past changes to our industry. Those who represent us may be falling short in communicating such challenges as these subjects keep cropping up on social media and in every day conversations.

Feeling of frustration is growing

Feeling quite disappointed we groundspersons/greenkeepers (bowls) have had to shift from red to white diesel as an industry, but golf is exempt. Why is this the case and how is it the GMA haven’t managed to achieve exemption for us?

We on the other hand, due to the high cost of electric alternatives, are very much stuck with petroleum and diesel options, especially at the lower end and there appears to be no help in sight for GMA members. 

At the end of the day, we are all turf managers and in need of help but the GMA (Grounds Managers Association) has, to my knowledge, been very quiet on the whole red diesel situation, only releasing its last update on the 18th March due to pressure from those on social media. 

The GMA has said, pre-deadline, they are working on things in relation to the red diesel legislation. We are well over the deadline and as a groundsperson l/we have received no update. 

I am very disappointed, and it very much feels like we have been left under represented and under communicated from those who are paid to represent us. 

Red diesel blog- https://turfcareblog.com/red-diesel-changes-for-grounds-maintenance/

Does not appear to be a level playing field

Please don’t get me wrong, this is not aimed at greenkeepers personally, I am just using them as an example of an industry that appears better represented, although it has its own challenges.

Greenkeepers are permitted to apply insecticides to pest affected areas, but if a groundsperson is having the same pest issues with their turf, this product is unavailable to them. 

Why is a greenkeeper ok to use insecticides, but a groundsperson is not? How did we end up in this position as members and can the GMA help us going forward?

Worm casting control products 

Companies I believe decided to pull the plug on the supply of such products, I’m not sure this is the case but from what l have been led to believe. I think they were due for re-registration but for regulatory reasons the registration wasn’t renewed. For the non-sand-based soil groundsperson this is a major and continuing issue.

On face value, I feel at least as an industry the GMA didn’t engage with us and help us find possible solutions, other than encouraging cultural methods, which have very limited success on clay soils. I feel we need more support on this subject, as do many people I have spoken to!

Pay and conditions 

We did some polls across social media and received responses from a few hundred groundspersons, on whether you were being paid GMA recommended pay scales. Over 70% said they were being paid less than these recommendations.

Blog details – https://turfcareblog.com/does-it-pay-to-be-a-groundsperson/

We are in challenging times, but this also isn’t a new problem. My frustration is the GMA continues to list jobs on their website below their recommended pay scales.

If they stop doing this will things change, maybe not, but it would at least be sending out a message to an industry that we as your representative body are willing to take a stand on this subject alongside you.

What is the GMA stance on this challenging subject? 

I also recently wrote a blog on whether l should list job listings below GMA pay recommendations, which l think is a quite well balanced blog- https://turfcareblog.com/should-turf-care-job-roles-be-listed-below-recommended-pay-rates/

Turf Care managers concerns on twitter

Recruitment crisis 

We are seeing roles not getting filled, colleges dropping sport turf courses due to a lack of interest. Where is our next generation coming from and what is our representative the GMA doing about this? They are trying but is this enough as on the face of it, it doesn’t appear to be. 

Pay, recruitment and retention of staff seem to be the hot topics of social media amongst groundspersons. What can we do collectively and what are the GMA doing to help us in this very real crisis, is it the way we are just perceived as grass cutters? 

l did polls across social media showing over 70% of groundspersons think there are many collective challenges, but low pay topped all the polls when choice was prioritised. 

Plant protection products 

There is also now the need to disclose any use of plant protection products we may be using, but we aren’t hearing this from those who represent us, namely the GMA. Personally, I am only hearing this from outside sources. 

I am not someone who wishes to create a witch hunt; I just feel frustrated as a groundsperson that these issues aren’t being managed by our only representatives at a higher level i.e., the GMA. 

New plant protection regulations requirements-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/professional-plant-protection-products-ppps-register-as-a-user/how-to-register-as-a-user-of-professional-plant-protection-products-ppps-and-adjuvants?fbclid=IwAR3I6T1XbY2CiDHzohDQ0yAKvNVfQpMqaAeUMR9TbRyBB9kfTKxeWSEBuMw

It’s not all bad 

Personally, like myself many love the industry and hope to continue to work in it until they retire, working outdoors when the weather is good is wonderful. The industry also needs help. Not everyone will stay in the profession because of a few perks, and passions for a job can run dry when frustrations build. 

A call for action

Summary 

I deeply believe a strong GMA is a strong industry and I probably don’t have all the facts to hand, but here and now these are my honest concerns for our industry. 

The GMA is doing some great things but there’s still a major challenge of how people outside the industry perceive us and that is helping keep salaries low. We need help and direction to move forward as at the moment it appears we are only moving backwards.

We may need a collective drive working with the GMA who should be leading the charge to a better future for our industry and helping us through these challenges. I do feel we need to hear and see more from them to guide us with better communication, along with letting us know they are working on such challenges and in turn keeping us up to date.

This blog is written from a place of passion and frustration with no bias or agenda, and has been written and inspired by the continued concerns re-ignited on social media.

A Turf care community’s need to be heard by Brian with the help of many concerned turf managers.

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