Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The TUC - fighting for the right to shirk

As a survey reveals that taking "sickies" is costing the economy some £1.6 billion a year, the TUC - a once proud organisation that fought for the right to work - now defends the workers right to shirk.

But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said that most people who took time off sick were genuinely ill.

Staff often came into work when sick because of the "unsympathetic" attitude of bosses to people phoning in sick, he said.


And yet ....

Last year, the Amicus union was involved in a row with employers after it was accused of advising people how to take sickies to watch the World Cup.

On its website, the union said it was "difficult to prove someone is not really sick" and offered a line of defence to workers who are caught out.

As a "boss" - albeit a rather lowly middle manager - I frequently suspect that some of my staff are not genuinely ill when they call in sick. This morning - as usual after the Easter break - I have staff off "ill". As it was such a pleasant weekend and the good weather seems set to continue, I have rather more off than usual. It's the same people every time who seem more susceptible, while the more resilient - or perhaps that should be diligent - staff are the ones who have to take on the work.

Perhaps the TUC should think about that. When someone throws a "sickie" somebody else has to do their job. Is that fair?

To the surprise of nobody, the problem is worse in the public sector - some 44% worse. As I'm in the private sector, I can redress the balance a little when it comes to pay review time. I know who the workers are and who the shirkers are - and I'll recommend pay rises accordingly. This doesn't tend to happen in the public sector where everyone - particularly in unionised industries - tends to get the same increase.

And it is the slackers in the public sector who get promoted as they can be spared from the department, while the reliable workers - the ones who turn up at Christmas and Easter - become so vital to the organisation that they have to be held back or the department will crumble.

I have every sympathy for a union or the TUC genuinely fighting for workers rights. I despise the way so many companies are off shoring jobs without any consideration for the harm this does to local communities and the economy in general. But when the TUC defends the workers right to shirk it makes it harder to put that case forward. Why shouldn't a company send production to some country where they know staff will turn up, will work hard and will take pride in what they are doing?

The unions and the TUC did a pretty good job of destroying Britain in the seventies and it seems they still haven't learned their lesson. The only way Britain can remain an economic force - and the only way we can win back jobs from overseas - is by demonstrating that we can do things better. Not be demonstrating our right to "throw a sickie" every time the sun shines or England play a World Cup match.

Independence requires the ability to produce and manufacture. Just like the government the TUC are supporting and promoting the dependency culture that is seeping into the people of Britain. A nation that makes nothing is nothing.

1 comment:

xoggoth said...

That is something that those who bleat about worker's rights, whether to sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave etc. never seem to grasp. Someone else has to take up the slack.

It is idiotic to say this does not matter in large organisations because such organisations do not consist of huge pools of fluid labour, they consist of small projects or sections. Whatever these people do not do falls on someone else!

If it was up to me I would totally abolish the lot. Companies exist to make money for the economy, they should not be arms of the social services.