Monday, February 16, 2009

Is This Car News or a Management Rant?

"There was anger today as BMW confirmed that 850 jobs were being cut by ending weekend working at its Mini car plant near Oxford.

The cuts will mostly affect agency workers when they come into force from 2 March when the plant begins operating five days a week, instead of the current seven.

Union sources said workers booed and threw apples and oranges at managers after being told they were losing their jobs.

Agency workers leaving Cowley this morning expressed their fury at being given just one hour's notice of the redundancies.

"It's a disgrace. I feel as though I've been used," said one worker. "We should have been given one month's notice, not one hour."

Axed agency staff were given the grim news in meetings at the factory following weekend speculation that hundreds of jobs were to go.

Almost a third of the Cowley workforce are agency staff and some complained today they would not receive any redundancy pay.

The contract staff, who have few employment rights, were brought in to work alongside full-time employees on the production lines, which built 230,000 vehicles last year."

This story bothers for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is my business experience and my past bosses. I had one that in a managers' meeting, stated "Hire more women, they will work for 15% and raise our margins." another always wanted us to hire temps so we did not have to pay benefits, or at least delay the payment of benefits. and here we have contract labor (temps) working alongside full-time employees. This story does not give enough details. Were they hired to make Minis while the market was hot, soon to be discarded? Were they paid more than full-time workers to make up for no benefits? What were the promises made to them as they were hired?

Temporary workers should not be used as "scabs" to fill labor needs, and raise profit margins because they are paid less. That is unethical and shows no integrity of character. They are a viable labor alternative for short-term from a management stand point. Still, they need respect. Contract labor has become a predominant cheaper labor source because they seldom get benefits and can be discarded like "things". Workers are people and as such deserve a level of treatment that you would provide to a family member. Management wonders why morale is down. Because workers are treated as things. not people. They can sense this. The subconscious is an amazing organ of perception. (I won't go off on this today, but many drug and alcohol problems are brain chemistry, but others are an attempt at shielding and self-medication because subconsciously people can feel how vicious others really are.)

What is wrong with management that people are treated as disposable things? and why is this taught as a viable alternative to offering full-time jobs with benefits to workers? I can think of many "Joe" jobs my daughter has had that offer full-time employment when available, but employment often stays with 10 people working 24 hours/week so they don't have to offer benefits. And then employers wonder why they get ripped off by ungrateful employees!

Many companies now offer benefits after 90 days of employment, but if you hire an employee as a temp, or less than full time, that time does not go towards the 90 days. Bend over and spread them, we want to use you.

Sometimes management training and policies in this country just offend me.


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