Monday, August 22, 2005

Gourmet disaster

If Gate Gourmet treated their staff so poorly and paid them so little, why do 670 sacked staff want their jobs back?

Why does the BBC feel it necessary to point out that most of the staff are Asian? The BBC never felt the need to describe redundant Rover staff as "mainly white" nor should they have been.


The Fringe said...

Corporations are well funded and lay the ground rules. The only leverage the little folk like you or I have is to remove our labour. This is the one commodity we have to play with.

We should be supporting any worker who tries to get himself a better deal, because he is doing it for you and I as well. Companies and their profits will take care of themselves, they need a little more of an incentive to take care of the little people.

Let's give these guys the benefit of the doubt and remember that when you acquiesce with cynical management decisions, or when you cross the picket line - you have made the working situation worse for us all.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Or better for those of us trying to run a company... Depends on which side of the fence you are looking at it from, really.


The Fringe said...

On either side of that fence you are supposed to be a human being. Being willing to tread on someone else to get what you want isn't an inherent feature of one side of the fence or the other.

Snafu said...

The Fringe, I disagree. If they are unhappy with their working conditions and pay, by all means complain to the management. However, if management are unable to agree to their demands, they should find a new job elsewhere that pays more.

Companies and profits do not "take care of themselves". If a company's products are more expensive than a competitors simply because they pay their staff more, neither you nor I would purchase it. The company can trade on goodwill for a limited time but will eventually fail. Management need to ensure that costs are 'minimised' for the goods or services supplied.

Companies only "take care of the little people" when it is profitable to do so, I would not expect anything else. Can I be paid £1m per year!?!

weenie said...

Agree - if I was so unhappy with my job, I would just leave and try to get another one. I can't say that I agree with people going on strike, but that's my personal opinion. Guess that's from being brought up in the 70s, when every other week, somebody was on strike for one reason or another. The binmen being on strike during one of Britain's hottest summers is one that I remember vividly...

The Fringe said...

Yeah, a lot of people hold these opinions - so maybe there's something to be said for them. There is daily evidence that people who have benefitted from improved worker's rights in this country, have been well-trained to feel negatively towards the kind of collective action that brings incremental improvements.

"Can I be paid £1m per year!?!"

This is a common joke used to argue a point, but it is misleading. The joke implies a binary situation where one is either treated unacceptably or paid millions. This obviously reduces the debate to absurdity, which we could all do quite easily if it were a useful thing to do.

Your arguments presuppose the idea that giving your workers a fair deal is bad business; there is a sleight of hand that takes place when you presuppose that. I don't think it is bad business. I can think of a lot of companies that inspire trust, loyalty and hard work with their employee friendly policies.

Conversely, I would be willing to bet plenty lose money through wasted man hours and theft, who share your opinion that you should squeeze wages to make profits.

But we're both familiar with the arguments on either side so I'm sure we're not convinving each other ;)

Snafu said...

Fringe, the last thing that I would want to do is to reduce debate to an absurdity.

I assume most of the Gate Gourmet staff are low skilled employees whose jobs are readily transferable or learnable. Packing airline food is unlikely to require much skill or knowledge beyong knowing basic hygiene laws. As such, if staff are demanding substantial pay rises, I fail to see why management should say yes when staff can be replaced so easily at minimal cost or inconvenience to ongoing operations.

I am not against employee benefits per se, they are important means of retaining key staff for many companies by increasing the cost to an employee of changing companies.

As regards squeezing wages to boost profits, I'm personally in favour of paying staff more than the market rate for their services as long as they are aware that they are being overpaid!! Exactly how much is a management decision of course!!

Fringe, I'm also sure that we could debate all day and never change each other's opinion, however, I still enjoy trying though:)

Wat Tyler said...

Fringe- you're new but obviously keen.

Only this morning you were arguing elsewhere that David Davis was being funded by the slave trade (via Tate & Lyle), and now you reckon that the oxymoronic Gate Gourmet should not push through these essential changes in working practices because their workers don't want them to.

Like I tried to explain earlier, slavery's been abolished in Britain. If the workers don't like it, they should leave (maybe even taking advantage of the generous voluntary redundancy packages available).

The alternative is that GG goes bust.

Sounds like a pretty simple choice to me.