A post on the Tories. It’s starts quite well, but quickly degenerates

October 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I read this and got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach…

A new breed of company in which workers will be forced to lose some maternity rights and all access to unfair dismissal tribunals has been unveiled by George Osborne as he tried to introduce a big deregulation of the labour market through the back door.

People are steadily being turned into machines, to be turned on and off at the whim of businesses. All the time we’re being told the country’s workforce need to be flexible. Employers are scared to actually employ people.

Employers are scared, though, because they can’t treat workers how they want to – badly.

The flexibility we’re told we need is not the flexibility a workers will presume, the flexibility to start early or finish late sometimes or to be able to perform roles, on occasion, outside of that which they would normally perform. What businesses want, or at least the fucking massive businesses that have profit sheets as big as countries, is the flexibility to hire and fire at will. To turn people on and off, with no thought to workers need for stability and security, the need to feel that they can commit to long term financial contract, such as mortgages.

Osborne revealed that workers could be given shares by their employer worth between £2,000 and £50,000, and any gains in those shares would be exempt from capital gains tax.

In return they would be asked to give up their rights over unfair dismissal, redundancy and requests for flexible working and time off for training. They would also be required to provide twice as much notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave – 16 weeks instead of eight.

I tell you what, I would rather have the security of a job and my current set of meagre employment rights than a bunch of shares that could be worth jack shit, no possibility of requesting a slightly different working day (and it is only requesting, not demanding) or not being able to take a company to court for being sacked for some spurious reason. And why revoke time off for training? Surely that is crucial for a flexible workforce, a workforce that can improve itself make itself better? And 16 weeks for a firm return date after maternity is already too long. Most people, when they resign from their job need to give a months notice. That should be plenty for a return from maternity date too.

Osborne told the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that the new “employee-owner” status would be optional for existing employees but existing companies and new startups could choose to offer only this type of contract for new hires, making it a compulsory condition of employment. Fast-track legislation will be introduced so firms can use the new type of contract from April 2013.

This is just a smokescreen to strip the worker of their rights. The new “employee-owner” will get a few shares, but who decides how many? It’ll be the company, and it’ll be nearer the two thousand pound end of the scale, not the £50k end. The new “employee-owner” will still be sacked if he inadvertently fucks up in the slightest, rather than asked to resign with a shiny golden handshake, that includes shares, when the whole den comes tumbling down, like those at the top of business. Some employees are more owners than others.

Stuart Rose, former chief executive of Marks and Spencer, said: “This is a win-win for entrepreneurs and employers in small and medium-sized companies that need a flexible dedicated workforce focused on growth.”

How the fuckety fucking fuck can yo have a dedicated workforce that can be told to get to fuck at a moments notice? These cunts at the top of these fucking businesses what the fucking impossible: They want to be able to hire and fire at a moments fucking notice, but they want their employees to be dedicated and hardworking. If you don’t provide security, people will not give a fuck. You make dedicated employees by providing security and perks, and looking after your workers when times are tough. You cannot have a loyal workforce that can be fired on a whim.

And on benefits…

Osborne signalled that some of the cuts would come from holding down the level of benefits: “How can we justify the incomes of those out of work rising faster than the incomes of those in work? Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift worker leaving home in the dark hours of early morning who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits?”

Osborne is right to ask where is the fairness. Living on benefits, though, is not the luxury lifestyle politicians and the tabloids make it out to be. The question has to be, why doesn’t working provide a decent standard of living?

Instead of a race to the bottom by cutting fucking benefits, why not do something about getting paid work paid better, so first time buyers aren’t forty-somethings, some the people on benefits can get a job and not have to have some other fucking benefit fill in the gap?

How the fuck did we get into the situation where two people that work forty hours a week cannot afford even a modest home for themselves?

He also proposed cuts to child tax credits for families with more than three children and holding down the housing benefit budget by withdrawing benefits to those aged 25 or under.

Ah, nice social engineering project, you have there Mr Osborne. When do you plan to make ‘encourage’ people to only have two kids? And what the fuck is it with the age discrimination? It’s the fucking same with the minimum wage. People can get themselves sorted and stable and then it all go to shit before the age of 25. Is twenty five the age when a Tory becomes A Man, is it?

Fuck ’em.

Bring on the revolution.

Some tips for companies new to Twitter

September 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Everyone that starts on Twitter can take a little time to find their feet and get into their own groove with it. This also applies to companies. So to help all those companies that have just decided to dip their toe in the water and feel the Fail Whale nibble on their pinkies, here are some of my pet hates all dressed up as tips on how to get into your groove quicker and get more out of Twitter.

Only use a clearly corporate account. Don’t have ‘personal’ accounts that are purely corporate. By all means have multiple accounts, but keep the branding across them and have clearly defined roles for each.

Also, if you put your company name in your bio and you’re always on duty. “My views are my own” is not a get out clause. If you were going to say something controversial you either wouldn’t put your company name in the bio or you’re a twat. “My Views are my own” do not excuse a slip or a misunderstanding. An Apology does. If you’re worried that anything you say might impact negatively on the business, keep work and personal separate. If it’s a personal account that is only used for work related stuff, remove the ‘own views’ line from the bio.
(I’m not entirely sure I’ve explained that one properly, but hey-ho)

Step away from the hashtag. Don’t hashtag your company name or what will become your company Twitter for example, if Company A uses the name @BusinessA, don’t stick the hashtag #BusinessA in every tweet for no reason. If you’re tagging a username, tag the fucking username. Overloading on hashtags gets you nowhere. Hashtag for a reason, when it adds something.

Make sure links go somewhere. Don’t post “We’re really rock n roll now” followed by a link to the front page of your website when the minor press release you’re alluding to is in the “News” section. People will click the link, find nothing however tenuously linked to rock n roll, wonder what the fuck you’re on about and not bother next time. They won’t go digging about for some vague bit of news, no matter how clever the tweet was. People will be less likely to (re)tweet even the most interesting news if they have to sort out copying & pasting and shortening links for themselves.

Have fun. Twitter is a ‘social network’, relax and loosen up, stop tweeting in the style of a press release. Don’t just tweet about stuff your own company is doing, tweet stuff from around the industry, non-controversial funny stuff, and if you can pull it off, like Waterstones and Betfair Poker, just plain weird.

Reply to people, don’t rely on the masses to come to you. You could even let people within the company, not just the boss or the PR guy, take charge of the account for a time. You never know, some of them might be Twitter gods and really get you’re follower count up.

Plans for bi-annual MOT dropped

February 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, has withdrawn plans to change MOTs from the current timings of the first MOT at three years and then annually thereafter, to four years and then bi-annually. This is A Good Thing.

The proposed reform was part of a Governmentwide drive to sweep away red tape in what was described as a “bonfire of regulations” aimed at stimulating business and economic growth.

I have no idea how reducing the amount of MOTs performed every year could be described as ‘reducing red tape’ to enable businesses to grow.

Obviously to perform this function on behalf of the government some requirements have to be met, somewhere secure to store the certificates, like the company safe, properly trained mechanics to perform the MOT itself and a bay with specific equipment required to carry out the MOT. The equipment can be fitted to an existing bay in the workshop that already has a vehicle lift or pit, and is something a good workshop will already have, and with proper maintenance will last for years. The mechanic with the paperwork to carry out MOTs does not get paid that much more than a mechanic without. The only real cost would be to send a mechanic a workshop already employs off to get his certificate. There really isn’t much ‘red tape’ at all.

In all my years of working professionally in vehicle workshops, not once has one been inspected by the ministry. Once the initial inspection has been done to grant the licence to carry out MOTs, garages are pretty much left to their own devices.

The only thing extending the period between MOTs would do is reduce the revenue from them, in terms of the actual MOT itself and also in the repair work that a failed MOT throws up, and that can’t really be considered helping businesses, can it?

The bigger issue though, is in vehicle safety. The MOT is an annual check to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. For many people the MOT is the only time a car gets more than just the depth of tyre treads looked at.

Supporters of the change argued that cars were better built and more reliable than they were.

Cars may be better built and more reliable, but without proper maintenance, even a modern car can be dangerous. The cost of an MOT once a year, just under £60, is not a massive burden to a motorist and the twelve months period in between is a good time period. The test also has ‘advisory’ notices, not just pass or fail tick boxes. A ball joint is worn or some rust in the wrong place is getting serious but not serious enough to fail. This gets flagged to the owner as needing attention. The annual test puts a bit (just a bit) of impetus on the owner to get it fixed. A bi-annual test would reduce this even further.

In addition ministers were keen to be seen to be driver friendly by easing the financial burden at a time of soaring fuel prices.

Getting rid of a £60 cost once a year does nothing, except reduce the income of MOT test stations and increase the risk to everyone else from dangerous vehicles.

If ministers want to be seen to be doing something for the driver, then reducing the tax burden of fuel would be a good start, and not just not increasing the tax on it. A good example of getting rid of ‘red tape’ to the benefit of industry and customers are the new rules on block exemption

The new rules introduce a 30% market share threshold above which agreements between car manufacturers and authorised repairers will no longer be block exempted, aligning the rules with the general framework (Vertical restraints block exemption Regulation 330/2010 adopted on 20 April, see IP/10/445 and MEMO/10/138). This will make it easier for the Commission to tackle possible abuses to the detriment of consumers, such as the refusal to grant independent repairers access to technical information. It will increase competition between authorised and independent repairers.

The new rules will strengthen repairers’ access to alternative spare parts which can represent a big share of the repair bills.

Car manufacturers will no longer be able to make the warranty conditional on having the oil changed or other car services only in authorised garages. Of course, manufacturers may request repairs covered by the warranty – and paid for by the manufacturer – be carried out within the authorised network.

More of this would be good, please.

On Osbornes’ plans to hand businesses more power over us

October 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

This really pisses me off

Workers will not be able to claim for unfair dismissal unless they have been in a job for at least two years – not one, under government plans.

The extension is part of Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to help business by changing employment law.

Two years?! Two fucking years!

Within 12 months a company can fuck off an employee with nothing more than a weeks notice. No reason is needed to be given. Fair enough I think. I’d rather it was less than 12 months, but it’s a compromise. I’m told it costs to recruit people and you never really know if you’ve hired the right person till they’re actually doing the job, so a probation period, for both parties is a sensible thing.

But, if a company doesn’t know if they’ve hired the wrong chap within twelve months of the appointment, then they need to review their recruitment process.

Twelve months is more than long enough.

We talk a lot about trade union rights – but what about the right of the unemployed person to be given a shot at a job and a career?

And how is this longer probation period helping an unemployed person? All it’s doing is leaving them in uncertainty for longer.

What about the rights of people currently sitting at home with nothing to do, desperate to get work, but the business can’t afford to employ them because they fear they are going to be taken to the tribunal?

And how the fuck is this going to bring down the cost of employing someone? It’s not suddenly going to drop the HR departments bills by half or whatever, is it? The cost saving is going to come from the drop in unfair dismissal tribunals, and that cost could quite easily be reduced by companies following a simple set of rules:

  1. Do not be a cunt of an employer

Granted, some companies might find it hard to follow that piece of guidance, but then they’ll deserve to spend money on a tribunal.

…by reducing the risk of tribunals for unfair dismissals the government hopes bosses will feel more confident about hiring people.

If you don’t have any confience in the recruitment process, fucking change it! People will litterally jump through any hoop that is set before them to get a fucking job, especially in this climate. The one thing that shouldn’t happen is for rulles to be relaxed so companies feel enobled to behave like wankers, which they will do.

What these cunts like Osborne forget (well maybe not forget but try hide or deny) is that the companies already have enough power over us. Without them, where the fuck are we? Where is our wage going to come from? Not everyone, for a whole variety of reasons can be self employed or start their own business.

All we want is a little bit of protection from being exploited too much.

The Dear Guest

March 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m not the only one that feels a little uneasy (it’s not quite the right word, but can’t seem to get the right one) about this, am I?

“[Prince Andrew] wants to raise the profile of the all-party group and wants us to make the case in parliament and to the business secretary of the business opportunities out in Azerbaijan. He feels it is a Cinderella country that has tremendous opportunities.

“One of the things he talked about was his feeling that a place like Azerbaijan is somewhere of great opportunity, and the more British politicians and businesses engage themselves with their counterparts in Azerbaijan, there will be material benefits.”

I know Prince Andrew is envoy for trade and not something touchy-feely like morals and ethics, but it’s a bit crass to say the least, isn’t it? Nevermind that ‘we’ would be doing business with a torturer and his regime, eh? Just show me the money!

Maybe I’m being a little unfair. Business, especially big business has never been about that, and if Andrew started bleating on about human rights everyone would wonder what had gotten into him. After all, he is the Trade Envoy, not the Amabassador For Not Being Beastly To People. That role is somebody elses. Probably.

I can’t be easy for Andrew, having to visit these places, be entertained by horribe characters and in turn entertain them when they visit UK. At least he only visits Azerbaijan in his proffessional capacity. If he visited there in his personal capacity, that might really cast doubt over whether he gives a toss or not.

Andrew has been to the former Soviet republic three times since 2008 in a private capacity

Oh. Well, it’s only three times in just over three years. It could be worse. The media there could give him pet name. Now that would be disatrous for ones’ reputation.

He is often described as “the dear guest” by local media


‘Business leaders’ write to the Telegraph

October 18th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

A gang of top business leaders have sent a letter to the Telegraph endorsing George Osbornes proposed cuts (and I paraphrase here)…

Go on Georgie Boy. Do it. Be a man and make those cuts. You know it makes sense.

I’m not confident enough in my economic learnings to say they are talking bollox, but…

The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector, and the redeployment of people to more productive activities will improve economic performance, so generating more employment opportunities.

… sounds awfully like a call for privatisation.

Now, privatisation is all well good, but when a public service is privatised there are never as many jobs filled by the incoming private company, with wages for the workers usually being at a lower level, too.

It’s not that hard to create jobs where a gap has been create by withdrawing a service that had only on supplier, is it?

The trick for the business leaders, which would really help us out (apart from not using convoluted ways to artificially reduce their tax burden) would be to create jobs without getting their mate the Chancellor kicking people out of jobs in the first place.

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