The basis for my blog today concerns an article by Madeleine Bunting in yesterday's Guardian. Bunting, incidentally, is probably the most prominent critic of our government's approach to work. Personally, I think she sums up the whole article in one sentence - 'The government is happy to tell us what to eat but not how to work'. In brief, the most enduring legacy of the Thatcher governments of the 1980s has been the legitimisation of businesses to have the 'right to manage'. The result is the politics of work are reduced from being a significant feature of governmental affairs to often little more than inter and intra teamwork bickering and infighting. The point being British workers have never been in a better position to shape their own working destinies, yet often find themselves quite powerless to resist long hours, limited career and training opportunities, and strict subjugation to customer demands and schedules. There is an alternative, but it's not an easu option.
NO MORE DOG EAT DOG - THE GUARDIAN
A second article that appeared in the Guardian suggest employers are beginning to find ways of making it harder for employees to make exaggerated expense claims - apparently, excessive claims cost British employers £230m every year. However, like absence is said to cost British business in the region of £15bn per year, despite the fact that a recent TUC study suggests the average British worker donates around £4,650 worth of unpaid work per year to their employers, it is often forgotten how some employers turn a blind eye to fiddled expenses. Moreover, employers often encourage such activities. Classic sociological texts like Mar's 'Cheats at work' and Ditton's account of pilfering bread deliverymen is arguably as relevant today as they were 20-30 years ago.
THE TRUTH VERSUS THE EX-FILES - THE GUARDIAN
A final story that grabbed my eye is not directly related to work. It concerns a new gadget called a 'TV-B-Gone' and costs around £9. This little device has the capacity to switch off a television from 45 feet. So what you may say? Well, consider first of all how common televisions are in public places, e.g. pubs, shops, hospital waiting rooms, the Post Office, airport lounges, etc. All, in reality, are there to sell us something, but most of all are there to shape our opinions. The main point being technology is often deployed to control our thoughts and attitudes, however, with this device people can fight back and deploy similar technology to further their own ends and not large corporations.
ANTI-TV GUERRILLAS WIELD THEIR NEW ZAPPER - THE GUARDIAN