Thursday, 12 May 2011

Unions – Defending The Indefensible

Community's national officer Roy Rickhuss said the union was "extremely disappointed at the turn of events".

"Whoever made this decision - and they told us the decision was made in go down the route of covert cameras just did not understand, had no idea or concept of the industrial relations that had been built up over a number of years in that plant," he said.
Your members were sleeping on the job, Roy. I’m assuming that’s not in their job description?
Tata Steel spokesman Robert Dangerfield said the whistleblower's allegation of a "systemic malpractice - sleeping on the job - in one part of the plant had to be investigated and its veracity checked".

"This is the real world of a potentially hazardous workplace with workers scattered over a plant covering 12 square miles - not a science fiction fantasy like Big Brother," he said.
Quite. But the union’s little tantrum is, of course, backed up by the usual suspects:
Professor of industrial relations at Wolverhampton University, Roger Seifert, said there were "very clear guidelines" about the use of CCTV by employers when dealing with employees.

"The most important thing is... trust, so what should normally happen is you should warn people that you are going to put the cameras in. You should consult with the workers and the unions about where they're going to be put in and why they're being put in, and the use they're going to be [put to].

"At that stage, you normally get rid of whatever problem you think is occurring anyway, but to do it secretly smacks of trying to catch people out in order to sack them and teach them a lesson and that's not really good industrial relations.

"Tata prides itself on good industrial relations and I think they've shot themselves in the foot here and made a big mistake."
I think they’ve got rid of some useless, lazy former employees and hopefully put the fear of god into the rest….


Michael Fowke said...

It's pretty horrible being filmed at work though.

MrAngry61 said...

I'm surprised that the remaining workers aren't threatening sympathy strikes to force reinstatement of the dismissed - that's the way unions usually run things.

T said...

Michael it's no different to being supervised by a human being at work. A company has the right to expect that people will actually do the work they're paid for.

Michael Fowke said...

@T - but you feel you can't even blow your nose without some pervert watching you. It is Big Brother - though I have no sympathy with unions or workers who take the piss.

James Higham said...

Professor of industrial relations at Wolverhampton University, Roger Seifert

Usual suspects indeed. Norman Geras is another case in point. He and I get on but politically, he is into this sort of thing.

microdave said...

"Sleeping on the job" - That's hardly a new one. British Leyland workers were doing that back in the 70's....

@ Michael Fowke - vitually all of us are being filmed as we go about our daily lives, and it's not just the camera's you can see - mobile phone cameras are commonplace, and minature ones can be incorporated into things like pens.

I'm not saying I agree with the principle, but at least in a work environment you do have some comebacks.

Umbongo said...

"Professor" Seifert is typical of the over-educated and (outside fifth-rate academic institutions) unemployable lefty desperate to find a discipline he can pollute with his political shite. He boasts here of his appointment to the Council of the World Association of Political Economy, an "academic" front organisation funded by Seifert's political buddies in Beijing (probably using part of the British taxpayers' money donated to China by the Department for International Development).

A generation or two ago Seifert would have been a proud adornment of the World Peace Council or, indeed, any organisation which was set up by the Soviets to undermine the West in general and (particularly, I guess, in Siefert's case) the UK in particular. This is the guy who should have a CCTV in his office; not to ensure that he's not sleeping on the job but to find out what job he is actually doing.

Zaphod said...

I've got no sympathy with the union.

But it would be amusing to hear management's response to a proposal for cameras in the offices. I'm sure the penpushers are hard at it, eight hours a day; so they wouldn't have a problem with that. Would they? :-)

TUC crackers said...

Workers ... ah yes. Them.

I used to work in one place where one of the top union members (and all workers had to be in a union) had so much to drink every lunchtime he was useless in the afternoon, but the management didn't dare do anything about it. They knew the union would instantly call a strike to 'defend' their fellow member, even though he was as much a pain to his fellow workers.

Now if unions took responsibility for their member's malpractices and essentially fired them for bringing their organisation and even their politics into disrepute, we could accept their stance a lot more. But while their track record is 'brother before brains,' they are just out of touch with reality.

Captain Haddock said...

No sympathy ..

Kipping on the job & taking a full day's pay amounts to theft ..

A completely different scenario if it was during an official "down-time" period ..

Serves 'em right ..

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

"The most important thing is... trust,"

They were trusted not to sleep on the job, right?