October 20, 2010 6 Comments
We just had another labor strike on site, and once again the expats are to blame.
Allow me to give you some background that led up to this.
Around the same time every year the local labor unions decide that it is time to go back to the drawing board and renegotiate the agreements that the primary company have with the local work force concerning pay, benefits, etc. for the junior staff. They usually only ask for minor things such as a 200% increase in pay, less work hours but the same (if not more) pay… you know, the usual. The old saying “shoot for the moon, pay attention to the ground, and meet somewhere in between” has been modified by these morons as they have replaced the word “moon” with “Alpha Centauri” and if only a measure of their demands are met, as the primary company tends to cave like a little bitch, they decided to kick off and either drop tools or riot.
I have seen both, with the one that just happened thankfully being only a drop tool strike.
This leads into the reasoning behind me absolutely loathing the concept of unions, which I believe to be a completely outdated institution that serves no purpose in the modern world other than to impede production and provide the workers the legal equivalent of extortion by holding the forward path of work over the heads of those that run the job or oversee the production of the product. Mind you, there was a place and time for such practices when the labor force was treated like machines that had no other right whilst working for a company other than acting like a cog in the assembly line, and yes there were basic humanitarian issues that had to be addressed and were addressed by the forming of unions, but those times have passed. I once asked one of the workers here what they actually gained from the union, and he told me that he received representation when it came to having to communicate to the management. When pressed as to what else did he gain for his dues other than a glorified mouthpiece for his concerns, he couldn’t come up with anything else. He didn’t get any health benefits from the union, didn’t gain any extra time off, and basically garnered little other than an intangible product that end of the day didn’t help him put food on the table. He did state that he has seen an increase in his pay while being a union member, but when I pursued that point with him he eventually came to the realization that yes indeed he had an annual increase in pay clause’d in his friggin contract, so that could not be attributed to the union. I then proceeded to turn it around on him and ask if he realized what silly little things like general strikes and riots actually did for their cause. He was told that every time they decided to strike it caused us to loose more and more confidence in their actual ability to do the work assigned, and when a riot kicked off and they broke shit (last event’s bill? -A little over a mil.) just gave us more and more reasoning to mothball the plant and shut the job down.
The man was distraught once he heard that their actions could potentially end his employment and began to pinwheel back, saying that he never participated in any of those events and was in fact just there to do his job.
This kind of segues into the reason that I have no love for unions, and that is that they keep their employees completely in the dark concerning actions that occur at a higher level than the floor and are basically vampiric by nature, not symbiotic, and will feed off a company for as long as the host can take it, as the union has no concern for things that create work, such as innovation nor profit margins, and are just in it to suck the corpse as dry as possible before moving on. The modern employee mentality as I have seen it is that if your job sucks, if you are mistreated by management or hate what you do for a living, you always reserve the right to QUIT AND GET ANOTHER JOB. Even in this environment of 10% employment if you look hard enough there is something out there for you to do that is not the job that you currently have, or chance to the wind you could just be fun-employed if you choose to. No longer are the days when you called yourself a “wage slave” because the conditions you worked in were directly reminiscent OF slavery, as there are laws in place that tend to frown on such a practice, and for that we may have historical union actions to thank for that… but those days and conditions are over and the old tools used to accomplish this might just need to be put away for a bit.
Another day in West Africa, another labor dispute.
(NOTE: Sorry guys, when these idiots strike it always pisses me off. Please carry on.)