Sunday, September 17, 2006

the parasitic workforce

Companies exist, in most cases, to make money. That way, they can pay employees, shareholders and bosses alike. For better or worse this makes sense in our free market capitalist society.

Why is it then that so many people expect a free ride? This isn't a dad rant or anything, as I concede that there are many people in society who need a free ride, either all the time or on occasion. I like to know that my tax money goes into paying unemployment benefits for example, as it is not out of the question that I may one day need to claim just such a benefit.

We have some large, partly government owned companies in this country full of people who do not want to work, but who turn up every day to draw a salary. Many are miserable, many complain about their employers, but they don't quit. Why is that? Put simply, it is because they are opportunistic. Put accurately, they are waiting to be made redundant. Many have been redundant in more that one meaning of the word for quite a long time already, and have simply waited, bored and bitter, often for years, just for a payout. Had they quit earlier they wouldn't receive as much money, and they would have had to prove themselves in the real world.

I think workers, when they are good, are the backbone of an organisation, and I don't agree with our new workplace reforms. I do however, see why the government could rally support for them from so many people. Parasitic workforces on the old cushy contracts which carried over from the public service mentality of the more senior employees of our largest former public assets are a liability. The main reason for this is, unlike those of us who have worked for private companies, these guys can hold their employer to ransom. Whilst the rest of us change jobs every 2 to 5 years, these guys rot for 20+ years in the one place, accumulating information which they hold onto to make themselves indispensable, doling it out only grudgingly towards the end of their career.

Another similar example is Ansett, where thousands of people thought they would hang around until the bitter festering end, rather than read the writing on the wall and leave earlier. Having hung around despite all of the signs, they then demanded compensation from tax payers.

Unions get a bad name, workers get a bad name, jobs get outsourced, and the government changes legislation so that all of the power I in the hands of employers. Whilst I hate John Howard, the ideas to screw workers have their roots in these parts of the workforce.

Rant over.
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