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Bosses ‘using recession’ to squeeze staff

Written By: - Date published: 9:12 am, May 11th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: economy, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Well that didn’t take long. Bosses ‘using recession’ to squeeze staff:

Bosses being accused of using the recession to exploit workers by driving down wages, forcing unrealistic productivity targets on staff and creating an environment where stressed staff will leave without waiting to collect redundancy pay.

As evidence mounts of increasing employer pressure on staff, Labour leader Phil Goff has condemned the actions of “less scrupulous” bosses.

And unions say wage bargaining teams are struggling to decide if employers who use “recession rhetoric” are telling the truth or just being opportunistic.

If this is happening to you, you could consider posting your experiences here.

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10 comments on “Bosses ‘using recession’ to squeeze staff ”

  1. Pat 1

    Strange article. The only “evidence” to support it was a conversation with one Westpac employee, Phil Goff and some union bosses.

    Oh well. Best I sit back and wait for the flood of postings detailing the examples of all these bad bosses out there.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      Er, Pat, I think the “evidence” is there in the article.

      It wasn’t a “conversation’ the SST had with a bank employee, it was an interview. Presumably the SST were satisfied that the unnamed bank worker was credible or they would not have printed the comments.

      And I would expect union bosses to know if employers are putting the squeeze on employees and if they say they are, it would fit the current economic times perfectly. That’s how the employment market works, in part; in times of low unemployment, there are less sackings because the workers are harder to replace. My former employer used to turn a blind eye to dope smoking and even low level theft at work for exactly that reason, Bet he doesn’t now.

      In the current environment, with unemployment on the rise and a guilt free sacking regime for new workers, it is easier to dismiss in the expectation of easily replacing those fired. So more of it happens, justified or unjustified.

      It also explains why Rob “The 3 Million Dollar Man” Fyfe thinks he can treat his staff with such contempt. He’s hoping that they will be scared or starved back to work, because this is an economic environment that gives employers the upper hand in bargaining, which is exactly the point the article was making.

      If there are employers ripping workers off by claiming that their company is broke when it is not, then they should be exposed for the liars they are. It’s the moral equivalent of claiming bushfire benefits when you weren’t actually affected.

  2. vto 2

    On a per capita basis do you think there are a greater number of bad bosses or a greater number of bad workers?

    • Ari 2.1

      What does it matter, vto? When there’s a bad worker, the boss is pretty clear and unimpeded in their ability to fire them for just cause. If the boss is bad, there’s often not many alternatives their employees have- usually the two are to strike for fairer conditions or to put up with it. And some can’t even afford to strike.

    • lprent 2.2

      Are there more bad workers than there are good workers under bad bosses? Perhaps that would be a more relevant question. All it takes a relatively few crap owners, employers or managers to affect a whole lot of people.

  3. From my experiance it depends on the industry.

    When I was younger, working in fast food, far more often you’d find bad bosses. Then again, generally most young people in fast food really are to smart to be working there, and are only there out of necessity flexibility in hours, and fast food store managers tend to be managers by virtue of having spent far too long there, not something associated with being good at stuff.

    Once I got a bit older and moved onto construction, its a mixed bag. You’d get some morons running the show and some moron employees. With the notable exception of Fletcher Construction, they always employ very good staff and definitely came across as having the best safety standards in the industry.

    Desk job’s I can’t really comment as my experience isn’t really representative as I have been very careful about where I work, and so have managed to avoid morons in charge so far.

  4. Maynard J 4

    I suggest: As a rule, the more skilled an industry is, the better the bosses are.

    I think the real world correlation to that rule is fairly weak though – personalities and ego, old boys’ networks, favours and human irrationality conspire to put idiots into power anywhere. When you are unskilled you lack options to aviod the idiots.

    vto – do you ask if there are more bad bosses per 1000 bosses than bad workers per 1000 workers? Good question!! I think the ratio would be remarkably similar for the same reasons I gave above to the dissemination of bosses. The impact of the two would be very different tho.

  5. charlie 5

    CYF service centre staff are expecting a DCM letter this week.

  6. mike 6

    “And unions say wage bargaining teams are struggling to decide if employers who use “recession rhetoric’ are telling the truth or just being opportunistic.”

    Sadly this is the case at our company – the truth is clear to see for everyone except the union who after mugging their members for $300 PA won’t see the light and want to ‘save face’
    Job losses may be announced shortly and this will reflect very badly on the union – looks like we’ll be busy drafting individuals soon….

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    My nephews wage was cut from $35/hour to $20/hour due to the recession according to his boss. So, yeah, some bosses are using the recession to lower wages.

    What I find really amazing about this recession is that prices are going up, not down.

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