Red Alert

Archive for the ‘management’ Category

Amateur Hour

Posted by on April 13th, 2012

Some days I despair about the quality of management we have in some of our important industries. Don’t get me wrong. We have some excellent companies with smart management, but some of the decisions by the Ports of Auckand and Talleys AFFCO just don’t cut it.

Yesterday the Ports of Auckland admitted they had leaked private information about one of their employees to a blogger who then reproduced it. Apart from being a breach of privacy, it was incredibly unethical, it is unprofessional and shows a serious lack of judgement by the management.

Then it was revealed that the wharfies have been welcomed back to work with multiple spy cameras on their machines, security guards in the lunchroom and a ban on exhibiting MUNZ logos on their clothing or belongings.

Treating your workers like they are the enemy is not a good way to go about mending bridges.

And there’s good old Talleys trying to waste SFO time and taxpayer money by claiming irregularities in the Meat Workers Union accounts. It only took the SFO a day to figure out this was a baseless complaint and reject it.

No one is pretending employment disputes are easy and I really want to see both PoAL and Talleys AFFCO settled.

But both these companies appear to be getting really bad advice. Its almost amateur hour stuff and would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so serious.

I agree with Len Brown. Heads need to roll at PoAL. He can make that happen.

Not much can be done about Talleys sadly. They just lurch from one outrageous violation to another.

Off to join the march at Moerewa.


Posted by on February 17th, 2012

As we’ve gone through three decades of painful economic change, a whole new language has emerged as part of the managerialist efforts to soft soap hard decisions.

Along with “human resources” and “people management” (as if working people are cattle that need to be herded in the right direction), we’ve also got the deceptive language of the destruction of decent work.

We have  “re-engineering, “right-sizing”, “right fit,’’downsizing” and other euphemisms designed to sugarcoat the harmful and very human outcomes of firings and job losses.

Productivity has become another word for expecting a whole lot more for a whole lot less.

And the latest fad is “Uptitling”, where having a fancy title for a job is supposed to compensate for lousy pay and insecure work.

The term “Associates” came to New Zealand a  few years ago.  Caterair and Marriott introduced this at Auckland Airport for their highly casualised catering staff, as if being given a fancy title meant the workers had some stake in a business, where they really had no say or control.

Uptitling is rampant overseas and it’s becoming a trend here too.

Receptionists have become “Heads of Verbal Communications”, Staff in Call Centres are “Client Liaison Officers” and the local rubbish collector is an “Environmental Facilitation Officer.”

Toilet cleaners are  “sanitation consultants” and leaflet  delivers are “media distribution officers”.

From a financial perspective, uptitling is appealing to employers.  They believe that rather than increasing somebody’s pay, all they have to do is give them a new fancy title. Employees will feel validated by their new status and maybe won’t pester their bosses for a raise for a little longer.

We’ll see.