Showing posts with label working day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label working day. Show all posts

Monday, December 03, 2012

Wage slavery or liberation from toil

Overall real wages have scarcely budged in the 1990s in America, and earnings for college-educated workers actually declined by more than 6 percent. Productivity per person-hour increased by 5 percent between 2009 and 2010. 

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 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lazy Workers ?

New research shows that 49 per cent of working parents don't use up all of their holiday allowance, and that one in five of us simply can't take enough time off work to get away. We are becoming a nation where the notion of a fortnight away from it all is fast becoming a thing of the past.

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."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Over-worked

Nurses are "propping up" the NHS by repeatedly working more hours than contracted and providing last-minute shift cover, a union has claimed.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland said a survey of its members found just only one in 10.

96% reported working in excess of their contracted hours, with 27% saying they did this every shift.

More than a quarter said they provided last-minute cover for absentee staff at least fortnightly.

29% of nurses said they missed their meal time at work at least three times a week.

One in six said they rarely or never took the breaks they were entitled to.

One in five nurses said that in the past six months they had spent a week or more at work despite feeling too ill to be there.

Let hear it for the lazy workers once again!!!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lazy greedy workers ??

Teachers are working an extra 10 weeks a year without pay, according to new research by a major teaching union.A workload survey carried out by the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association has revealed that nearly 54% of teachers work 400 extra hours for their employers each year. The union uncovered that one in 10 teachers works more than 55 hours a week.Two out of every five secondary teachers said they were stressed during the working week.

Collected during December, February and March, the workload survey revealed that more than a quarter of teachers worked between 45 and 50 hours a week, 16% worked between 50 and 55 hours, and 10% regularly worked in excess of 55 hours.

The union also overwhelmingly voted to oppose the establishment of trust schools, which would see schools run by communities at arms-length from local authorities.The SSTA said trust schools are “about saving money, not about improving education”.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

capitalism makes you sick


Long working hours may raise the risk of mental decline and possibly dementia, research suggests

The study found that those working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than those who worked a standard working week.
Lead researcher Dr Marianna Virtanen, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said: "The disadvantages of overtime work should be taken seriously."


It is not known why working long hours might have an adverse effect on the brain. However, the researchers say key factors could include increased sleeping problems, depression, an unhealthy lifestyle and a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly linked to stress. The effects were cumulative, the longer the working week was the worse the test results were. Employees with long working hours also had shorter sleeping hours, reported more symptoms of depression and used more alcohol than those with normal working hours.


Professor Mika Kivimäki said "It is particularly important to examine whether the effects are long-lasting and whether long working hours predict more serious conditions such as dementia."


Professor Cary Cooper, an expert in workplace stress at the University of Lancaster, said it had been long established that consistently working long hours was bad for general health, and now this study suggested it was also bad for mental functioning.

"But my worry is that in a recession people will actually work longer hours. There will be a culture of "presenteeism" - people will go to work even if they are ill because they want to show commitment, and make sure they are not the next to be made redundant."


Harriet Millward, deputy chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "This study should give pause for thought to workaholics..."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Work Rage

Stressed out workers are increasingly suffering from 'work rage', according to a new study.

Four out of five people surveyed admitted they had lost their temper with a co-worker, for not pulling their weight in the office. More than two thirds of the 1,200 questioned said verbal abuse was common in their office.

"If you are one of those people who throw their Blackberry at the wall because you are frustrated at work, or snap at a co-worker while discussing how much you hate your job, then you are not alone."

Firms were urged to encourage staff to take regular breaks, and have a proper lunch in a bid to reduce stress.

Uh-huh , we can all see that happening in these days of speed-ups , unpaid overtime and the extraction of the last bit of labour-power from staff .

Monday, January 28, 2008

1957 and 2006 - Are we better off ?


What difference does 50 years make for the working class . Are we all better off . Well , it certainly appears that way . UK household income has doubled in real terms over the last fifty years. And the pattern of family spending has also changed dramatically. Basic necessities including food accounting for a smaller proportion of our family budget, while spending is up on leisure activities, travel and motoring. Income going to housing makes up a greater share.

In 1957, spending on food, fuel and rent , the basic three items , made up nearly half of all household expenditure. Taken together with clothing and travel, basics made up nearly two-thirds of family spending. The main luxuries for the ordinary family were tobacco and alcohol, which combined made up just under 10% of spending. The biggest other luxury item was meals eaten out making up 3% of spending. Four of the top ten spending items were food or drink, with spending on meat, fruit, vegetables and beer all in the top twenty.
Overall, the average family spent a total of £14.30 per week in 1957, out of a gross income of £16. In today's money, spending was £243 per week.


In 2006 the average household spent £456 out of a gross income of £642 before taxes.


In five decades, spending on most basics has declined sharply, with food making up only half as much of the average household budget as it did in 1957. And half of that food budget now consists of meals and takeaways - a new category introduced in the l970s.


But the cost of housing, including mortgage interest payments or rent, has more than doubled since 1957. Mortgage interest payments or rent accounted for 19% of spending in 2006, up from 9% in 1957Using a slightly broader measure of housing costs, which includes council tax, insurance and home improvements, UK households spent an average of £143 a week on housing-related costs in 2006 - or 22%.

Motoring and travel costs have doubled from 8% of spending in 1957 to 16% in 2006, mostly because of rising car ownership .


There are big social divisions in the ownership of some popular consumer goods, and the greater affluence is at least partly a result of more families having two incomes - both parents going out to work .


And But there are big differences in consumption between rich and poor.
Nearly every household in the richest tenth of the population had a computer and an internet connection. In contrast, among the poorest tenth, only 31% have computers and 21% have an internet connection. And 56% of that group have mobile phones, compared to 92% of the richest tenth. The pattern of car ownership also varies sharply by income, with less than a third of the poorest tenth of households owning a car, compared to 94% of the richest tenth of families.


Nor are we happier it is claimed .


According to economist Richard Layard of the London School of Economics, once people can afford the basics, happiness does not increase with income when comparing happiness among rich and poor countries. And looking at surveys of happiness over time, he says levels of happiness have not changed across either the UK - or US - in the last 30 years, despite the doubling of living standards in both. Moreover, the availability of new goods can just make people more jealous of what they are unable to afford, especially for the less well-off.


Other studies show that what we have lost in the last 50 years is time. Strikingly, most families now talk more in the car than at home.


Paradoxically , while we spend more on leisure goods than half a century ago, we have less time to enjoy our free time - increasing numbers of households need two earners as earlier said and working hours have increased even if there has been an official reduction , since doing overtime has climbed .


Monday, October 29, 2007

The days grow longer

The unpaid working time we give to our bosses .

Socialist economics is based upon the Labour Theory of Value which is the Marxian explanation of our exploitation . Unpaid labour is the source of all surplus value. Normally , this takes place in the work-shop or office from 8 to 5 but more and more the time of the working day is growing in ways that we are not immediately aware of giving to the employers . When capitalists buy a worker’s labour they buy the worker’s capacity to work for a full day . Nowadays , with factories seldom at your doorstep , workers are forced to travel to and fro their workplaces . This travelling time we also give free to the bosses .

The amount of time that workers spend commuting between home and their workplace has rocketed in the past 10 years, with millions of workers now taking at least an hour to get to the office, new research shows. TUC research found the number of people who travel for more than an hour to get to work has risen by as much as 40% and that around 145,000 people in Scotland are now setting off for work earlier and getting home later than they did 10 years ago and has increased by 1.5 million to 5.5 million across Britain. Not-for-profit group Work Wise UK said Britons face the second longest commutes in Europe, behind the Netherlands, averaging 8.7 miles a day. One-in-ten commuters has a daily journey in excess of two hours, and 3 per cent of employees are "extreme commuters" averaging three hours a day.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We work some of the longest hours in Europe, and on top of this have to endure the second-longest daily commute in Europe - on average 54 minutes per day."

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