Monday, November 17, 2014
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Nearly 2,000 nursing posts have been axed in Scotland in recent years. The survey finds that 54 per cent of nurses are working beyond their contracted hours each week in order to meet demands, with 58 per cent saying they are under too much pressure. More than half (55 per cent) say they are not providing the level of care they want to as the pressure builds. Only 38.1 per cent in Scotland say they would choose nursing as a career if they had to do it all again.
Norman Provan, of RCN Scotland, said the report must act as a “wake-up call” for NHS chiefs and the Scottish Government. “It is both unfair and unsustainable to continue to rely on the goodwill of nurses to keep health services running. It is apparent that health services are only managing to meet demand because of nurses willing to go the extra mile, for free.” he said.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Health and Safety Executive principal inspector Niall Miller said: "This incident was wholly avoidable. HSE said its investigation revealed that the saw-blade guard was positioned incorrectly. Additionally, Mr Gawlowski was not trained to use the machine and was left unsupervised despite his inexperience.
"Mr Gawlowski was let down by the company's lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks and ineffective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment." He added: "From Mr Gawlowski's point of view, his life has been destroyed. He is unable to go back to work, unable to use his hand and he relies on others for many of the tasks of daily living."
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
There were 652,000 part-time workers in Scotland in the year to March 2010, but this had risen by 36,000 by March this year. The number of temporary workers has jumped 10,000 since June last year and stood at 128,000 in the year to 20 March. That is near enough a third of all Scottish workers.
Some workers will choose to work fewer hours, it is estimated that about a 250,000 Scottish workers are “underemployed”.
National figures show that 330,000 more people are underemployed in the UK than in 2010, including 200,000 with dependent children.
Keith Dryburgh, policy manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, warned “Citizens Advice bureaux are increasingly seeing people who want to work longer hours but cannot find them in a difficult economic climate. These are people who are struggling to make ends meet, and yet are often ‘invisible’ in the government’s statistics about employment.”
Monday, May 27, 2013
Then one fine day you are informed your services are no longer needed. In plain words: you are redundant. There is a recession, they say. “Nobody is to blame. Business is bad,” they say.
The employer has no more work for you. He scaling back production or closing down the plant altogether. While you remain without a livelihood, the CEO goes to his country estate or abroad to his villa in the Sun to have a good time. He is still well-off, recession or no recession. These hard times has not made a single chairman of the board or director of the large corporations homeless to beg in the streets. Your ex-boss does not care what will happens to you. You no longer are employed by the company and therefore no longer exist for it. The company has no obligations towards those it has made unemployed. The businessmen are still prosperous while it you who are suffering the greatest hardships. Yet, you and the like of you made the company a success. It was your blood, your sweat, your muscle and your brain that made the profits that the share-holders enjoyed. You had much at stake in this enterprise — much of your life. It was yours, more than the investors. It was part of your very being. When you were working for the company you were its “hands.” It used you to make profits and dividends.
You are given to understand that economic events are beyond human control. They call it a recession and make you believe it is sheer accident. But it isn’t. It is rooted in the very essence of capitalism. They tell you a recession is like a natural disaster similar to an earthquake. But there is nothing natural about it. It is not natural that men should go hungry while the means to produce are available. It is not natural that there should be poverty in the midst of plenty. It is not natural that milk should be dumped into rivers because the price is too low while babies are starving. It is not natural that the most ingenious means of production and transportation should be rusting away while those who produce them and can operate them are sitting idle, wasting away. All this is most unnatural. It is, in fact, insane.
Only when you understand the illness can you find the proper cure. The Socialist Party remedy is that all resources, all land and buildings, all manufacturing establishments, mines, railroads and other means of transportation and communication, should be, not private property, but the common property of all. We propose that production be made to serve the needs of all, rather than to serve the needs of the few. What we have in mind is very simple and clear-cut. Do away with production for profit. We seek a planned economy on the basis of common ownership without any class division where each person works according to his or her ability and each person receives from the common stock of goods according to his or her needs.
Capitalism creates a situation where large numbers of the people are dissatisfied and embittered by intolerable hardships. People change under such conditions. Capitalism itself prepares the conditions for its downfall. The Socialist Party is a political party whose aim is help assist in the capture of political power by the workers, but not as an end in itself but as the means to establish a co-operative commonwealth.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The impact on the mental health of employees was highlighted in the report Performance Management And The New Workplace Tyranny. Phil Taylor, professor of work and employment studies at the university in Glasgow, carried out the research. He said performance management had evolved into a "continuous, all-encompassing" process of "tight monitoring and strict target compliance".
Taylor said: "Many who have been in the workplace for 10, 15, 20 years, talk with great pain about how the workplace they joined has been transformed beyond all recognition over those decades and the aspects of work that gave them a degree of happiness or satisfaction – such as talking to colleagues, satisfying customers or doing a good job – have been subordinated to the pressure of targets. That is a genuine degradation: people shouldn't have to work like this. You are only as good as your last score, and you can have people who have been utterly loyal and committed to an organisation and excellent performers, then being thrust into the underperformance camp. That can exacerbate feelings of pressure and can lead to stress, which compounds the difficulties of actually doing the work and makes it difficult to get out of that category."
Mary Alexander, deputy regional secretary of Unite in Scotland, said an example from the financial industry showed it could take as little as six weeks from being put on a performance improvement process to being fired. She said, sales targets which were being set were often "not achievable and unrealistic".
Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland said: "We know that a tough and unsupportive working environment, and specifically workplace bullying and harassment can have a negative impact on a person's mental health and that, as a result of sustained bullying, some people may experience stress and anxiety. If that experience is sustained and not addressed by management at all levels, workplace stress may lead to depression which is a major risk factor for suicide."
Meanwhile another report reveals than more than 500 Scottish construction workers were blacklisted for jobs because of union activity. Personal details about 3213 workers were discovered at a Worcestershire-based firm called The Consulting Association. The files were used by more than 40 firms including Balfour Beatty, Robert McAlpine, Laing O'Rourke and Costain to check the backgrounds of potential workers. On the list are 142 workers from Glasgow, Clydebank and Dumbarton, 53 from Ayrshire, 51 from Edinburgh, and 28 from Aberdeen.
The Consulting Association had links with police and security services. Construction industry directors were addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (Netcu), a Huntingdon-based police organisation set up to counter "extremist" protest groups.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Raw jute was produced in significant quantities in only one region of the world: the deltas of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in Bengal in India. And for a short period – long finished by 1900 – Dundee and the surrounding district had a near monopoly on its manufacture. The Dundee jute industry was composed of many firms, most of them carrying out only one part of the process of buying, transporting, manufacturing and selling jute. Big profits were made in jute, but these were invested overseas rather than in the local economy. From the 1870s on, investment trusts launched by Dundee businessmen, channelled enormous sums into foreign investments and particularly into American railway, land and cattle companies. Dundee's ‘jute barons’ preferred to invest in American stocks rather than in developing new industries in Dundee. The result left Dundee dangerously dependent on the jute industry.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
The investment banking hierarchy is essentially a large bureaucracy. At the bottom are the manual unskilled maintenance staff like security guards, the janitors and the cleaners who keep the offices safe and warm and clean. Then there are the administrative assistants, who support several bankers at one time and make about $35,000 a year. Above them are the analysts, college graduates whose life consists of 120-hour work weeks and an endless stream of menial tasks for $65,000 to $90,000 a year. Next up, and supported by the analysts, are the associates -- freshly minted MBAs with more than a $100,000 in school loans hanging over them -- who can look forward to taking home between $100,000 and $175,000 a year. If these young men and women, who work 90-hour weeks while trying to juggle a family, survive long enough to become vice presidents, their compensation can rise to $200,000-$300,000 per year.
Above the vice presidents are the directors, which is a training zone for the next pay grade (or a graveyard for those who don't have what it takes). Directors rely on the workers below them to do all the grunt work, including research, financial analysis, and client presentations, while they mainly babysit clients and occasionally come up with ideas to pitch to them. Their pay for these relatively cushy tasks ranges from $350,000 to $500,000 per year; but even this is meager compared to what their superiors make. Managing directors, who work even less and spend more time golfing instead, can make anywhere from a million to several million dollars a year.
Finally you have the really big fish -- the CEOs, presidents, executive vice presidents, and others who manage the entire circus, think deep thoughts, and schmooze with politicians to get regulations loosened. What makes these gigs so coveted is not just the fact that few ever manage to join that echelon but that the pay-scale jumps to tens of millions of dollars (even hundreds of millions) per year for work that is only moderately more challenging than that of the managing directors. It may be lonely at the top, but it's lucrative.
It should be clear from the above that the wealth generated in these organizations gathers mainly at the top of the pyramid, while the people at the bottom, who do a lot of the heavy lifting and are instrumental in building that wealth, receive only a fraction of those riches. Sure, the pay scales in investment banking are pretty good by the standards of other industries, but it is the proportional difference between the compensation at the top and the bottom that makes a difference. This large income gap leads to an exponentially faster accumulation of wealth in a few hands, which in turn widens the prosperity gap even more. In other words, prosperity is not really trickling down but trickling up.
The more wealth trickles up in the capitalist system, the more it frustrates those at the bottom -- without whose efforts that wealth could not be created in the first place.
Taken from here
Monday, December 03, 2012
These days, workers are expected to be on call 24/7—24 hours per day, seven days per week. Seen in this light, innovations like flexi-time or working from home are in fact strategies to bring new sorts of workers—mostly women—into the job market and to subject them to a new set of (frequently electronic) rules and controls.
Think about it. Fifteen years ago, would you have taken a job if you had to be available every day, respond to messages from your boss late at night, and maintain contact with the office while on vacation? But today just about any job, especially the good ones, exhibit precisely this oppressive 24/7 character. At the same time technology has redefined labor into assembly-line piecework and new gadgets have allowed our less inviting piecework tasks to follow us home, filling family time, distracting our leisure time. Innovative machines bind us more tightly to our jobs while forcing us to work longer hours.
Historian Jackson Lears said in a recent interview, “Whatever the color of your collar, your job may still be ‘proletarian’ to the extent that management controls the pace, process, and output of your work.”
Corporate executives urge a drive toward efficiency—efficiency that can be best defined as low wages. Technology in the workplace holds out the promise of more time, but as we have seen, increased productivity— more output; fewer hours—benefits only the bottom lines of corporate profits wrung from the decreased cost of labor. High-tech machines enable fewer workers to do more while transforming complex artisanal tasks into piecework. Americans love to shop for bargain commodities, of course, but corporations also shop for labor, and modern technology and communication force workers to compete with lower-paid counterparts in Singapore, India, and China. Even here in the United States, an auto assembly job that pays $28 an hour in Michigan will pay half that in South Carolina. The workplace is being transformed by technologies deployed by corporations in the pursuit of efficiencies, increased productivity, and increased profit. “Productivity Hits All-Time High” may be a pleasing headline to the employing class , but Less-in/More-out is scarcely good news for workers.
Automation not only displaces jobs but change the very character of work itself. This may result in the alienated working class taking revolt but, fearful and discontented, they may also well turn toward authoritarian, simple-solution demagogue leaders expousing contempt for democracy and nationalistic xenophobia. This is already happening in the United States where state legislatures are bearing down on workers' rights and immigrants.
Socialists have to counter with a real alternative to wage-slavery. John Ruskin wrote, “In order that people may be happy in their work, three things are needed. They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.”
Taken from here
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Across the UK, some 340,000 disabled people have been placed in the work related activity group (WRAG), which means they must undertake a range of activities to help them get back to work, including training, job-hunting – and now mandatory work placements.
Most disabled people welcome support to get into the labour market, but compulsory placements rarely work, says Richard Hamer, director of external affairs at Capability Scotland. "When disabled people get forced into jobs, they tend to be unsuccessful jobs," Hamer said. "It can be very difficult, not just because of physical difficulties, but also mental impairments – poor mental health for example – for people to adapt to the labour market. If we start simply forcing people into jobs then there's a high likelihood that the employer won't be the best solution for them."
Susan Archibald, a disability rights campaigner based in Fife, branded the proposed plans "a disgrace" that "will put disabled workers at risk". Archibald estimates that around 30,000 work-capacity assessments are being carried out each week on disability claimants by Atos.
Disabled and elderly protestors plan to disrupt the showpiece relay at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, forcing up security costs, if the "fit-for-work" benefits test company Atos is not dropped as a sponsor. Campaigners plan to turn the Queen's Baton Relay, the equivalent of the Olympic Torch relay, into a public-relations disaster if Atos is involved when the Games start, with pensioners and wheelchair-users potentially being arrested for blocking the route.
Atos Healthcare has a £110m-a-year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions to run Work Capability Assessments to see if sick and disabled people are fit to work. Critics say the tests are flawed, degrading, and meant to cut benefit spending. Next year the firm begins work on a second £400m contract to assess mobility benefits.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Alison Fleming, head of pensions at PwC in Scotland, said: “The era of retiring in your 60s is facing extinction with many people born today facing a future of work from 17 through to 77."
Age Scotland said that poorer people live shorter lives and so will have to sacrifice a larger portion of their retirement under the new plans.
Lindsay Scott, a spokesman for Age Scotland, said “Do not rely on the government to make provisions for your old age as you will be exceedingly disappointed...We face physical and mental decline, a loss of cognitive ability and if you are getting into a situation where you need treatment for your physical ailments and for your mental health, and you have no money, then you are in dire straits, because not only are pensions taking a beating, look what is happening to the NHS. I can think of nothing worse for your old age as to be old, sick and broke.”
Monday, February 06, 2012
The Fair Employment report said one of the "key features" of the recession had been that "many employers retained staff on less generous terms and conditions rather than making large numbers of employees redundant". While it said this was "usually preferable" to redundancy, it claimed cutting workers' hours and wages could have a significant impact. The report stated: "As a result of the fragmented enforcement regime, our evidence shows that many employees are unable to raise and resolve poor practices that they experience at work. This leaves some employers free to continue inadequate and sometimes illegal employment practices."
CAS head of policy Susan McPhee said "It is time for the government to give exploited workers somewhere to turn, through the creation of a Fair Employment Commission with the legal powers and resources both to secure individual vulnerable workers their rights, and to root out the rogues. As a society we might have hoped that workplace exploitation was a thing of the distant past. Sadly, this report shows that many Scots are still being treated unfairly. Examples include illegal changes to contracts, unfair dismissal, low pay, withheld wages and victimisation of those who have tried to demand their rights."
Such good intentions but the government is the executive committee of the capitalist class and represents their interests, not the workers. A few cosmetic changes may be possible but the balance of power will always favour the employer.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Rebecca Taylor, web editor and mother of one said "The reason families don't spend enough holiday time together is because we are all desperately clinging to the jobs we do have in order to earn just enough to pay our huge childcare bills. Some mothers I know haven't managed a proper fortnight off since they gave birth."
Nicola Chappell, who has worked in TV for the past 20 years, says in that time, she has witnessed an almost complete transformation of attitudes. "I always make sure I take every single day of holiday that's owed to me but I've noticed that younger people in the office don't seem to take any. It's freelance culture – they're far too scared of losing their jobs to go away."
Dr Martina Klett-Davies, a family sociologist thinks our increasing reluctance to take proper holidays is directly related to the state of the economy. "We are living in an age of austerity. It becomes more prevalent to hold on to your job for love nor money and if that means forgoing holiday to do so, so be it."
"Having worked in HR for many years it is amazing how many people are willing to lose holidays or would rather be paid than take time off," says Tanya Milson. "This year in particular I have noticed a lot more unused holiday. It seems we are living in a world where none of us simply ever have enough time to get all our work done."
Monday, August 08, 2011
Workers said they were told there would be no further employment opportunities at Sykes unless they spoke a second language. After the call ended on the speaker phone one of the team leaders just said 'right, go back to your desks and log in'. The worker added: "We have been told that there are no other opportunities unless you speak German or Italian."
One worker said: "We were packed into a conference room, about 80 of us, and the account manager for O2 came on the speaker phone to explain that a firm in Ireland had come in to do the work cheaper and we would have 90 days before the contract was ended...People were really shocked because we were never told losing the account was a possibility and we are mostly on permanent contracts but they were also really annoyed that they didn't tell us face to face"
Caring capitalism at work.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland found just one in 10 nurses feel they have good staffing levels where they work. 96% of nurses reported working in excess of their contracted hours, with a quarter saying they did so every shift. One in six said they rarely or never took the breaks to which they were entitled. 29% said they missed their meal time at work at least three times a week. One in five nurses said that in the last six months they had spent a week or more at work despite feeling too ill to be there. Another 29% said they provided last-minute cover for absentee staff at least on a fortnightly basis.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland said there were "serious concerns" for patient care in the NHS
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Geraldine Gammell, the director of The Prince's Trust Scotland, which works with young people to help them into work, said: "Too many young people in Scotland are facing a cycle of worklessness and can't see a way out. It is a tragedy to think that so many feel condemned to a life of unemployment when there is a real will to work."
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Jim McCourt, who runs the Inverclyde Advice and Employment Rights Centre, says he has seen a lot of stressed-out RBS workers since 2008. "I have been doing this job for 15 years and I have never seen any company that is so unnecessarily brutal.”
From the Herald
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Three out of four workers are losing sleep worrying about job security, performance at work and finances, with civil servants, bankers and factory workers the worst affected.
Leigh McCarron, sleep director at Travelodge, said: “It is no surprise that those industries facing spending cuts and potential job losses came top. Job security and money worries are key drivers of stress.”
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