Alan is a newcomer to the slab room who is begrudged because of his social class.
He is preparing for university and will be working in the design room, not the slab room. His background and status means he quickly attains a position the Slab Boys must work their way up to.
Alan highlights the social differences between characters and the assumptions and prejudices around social class.
Alan is an educated and comparably privileged young man. This makes him the target of much of Phil's anger. However Alan himself has done nothing to bring on Phil's actions.
Many characters treat him with much more respect than they do for the Slab Boys. Jack Hogg shows him a degree of deference. Mr. Curry is impressed by Alan, and is keen to establish a bond with him.
Sadie is quick to comment on Alan's impeccable manners:
See that? There’s a showing up for youse…there’s what you cry manners.
And it is clear from his kindness towards Hector and his diplomacy in dealing with Phil that he is a decent character
Phil sees none of this. Instead he focuses only on the signs of privilege - a higher wage, expensive belongings, such as his - much mocked - pen, his access to a luxurious car.
The Slab Boy’s boss and a former military man, Curry consistently demands a higher work ethic from them. While they are young and rebellious, Curry is middle-aged, middle-class and very traditional.
While the Slab Boys dream of a better future, Curry looks to the past and his military service. He is keen to inform everyone of his heroic feats during the war and uses them as a way to compare the Slab Boys unfavourably with his own generation:
I often wonder how a pair of greasy-quiffed nancy boys like you would’ve fared in the tropics.
Mr Curry is the figure of authority in the Slab Room and does not let the Slab Boys forget it.
Curry is driven by discipline and conformity – making him a prime target for Phil’s rebellious attitude. He is appalled by the work ethic of the Slab Boys and struggles to identify with their culture or humour on any level, regularly reminding them that:
...things were a damn sight different in my day.
The difference between Curry and the boys is a clear reflection of the generation gap.
Curry is keen to assert his position in the higher ranks of society and shows a conventional respect to those of higher social status. As a result he fawns over Alan.
But despite sticking to his formal role as boss, Curry is a kind man; he is sympathetic, not judgmental, with regards to Phil's mother, and despite Phil's distinct lack of work ethic, Curry fights (unsuccessfully) for him to keep his job.
A designer (and former slab room worker) who looks down on the Slab Boys, believing them to be idle and demotivated. His acne makes him an easy target for Phil and Spanky’s taunting.
Jack's success at working his way up to designer suggests he should be an ideal role model for the Slab Boys. Instead, he is continually teased about his bad skin (
pimple chops) and disrespected by the Slab Boys, particularly Phil.
His success is a reflection of his willingness to conform and follow company orders. This leads to confrontation with the ever rebellious, Phil.
Jack is a grounded character who appears to be impervious to Phil’s jibes, and - secure in his own beliefs.