A survey in the Guardian yesterday reported that men are often at the margin of debates that concern the so-called 'work-life balance'. It goes on to suggest that men older than 25 find that the effects of intensive work - averaging more than 10 hours per day for more than 25 per cent - causes stress, inhibits family commitment and leads to general exhaustion. The result is that men, like women, appear to be increasingly postponing family life amid the 'dominance of work'. This is a similar approach to yesterday's article by Madeleine Bunting. In effect, why are well educated, highly skilled, and much-sought-after-workers so powerless at influencing such a fundamental part of their lives? Some clues that may resolve this conundrum could be related to the fact that men are increasingly less likely to be in a trade union at a time when women are increasingly seeing the benefits of third-party, collectivised representation.
MEN LAMENT HAVING TO DELAY STARTING A FAMILY - THE GUARDIAN
In response to the Royal Mail introducing a novel scheme to encourage postal workers to improve their attendance at work, the BBC have dedicated a 'have your say' forum to discussing the wider implementation of a HR strategy of this kind. The number and diversity of responses are quite overwhelming (you will see this just by glancing at the comments) and probably only goes to prove that absenteeism at work is a highly provocative and sensitive subject for all parties in the employment relationship. Furthermore, it suggests that whatever happened at the Royal Mail, a scheme of this nature may not be so easily unfurled elsewhere. I'm sure more people would vote if matters like the quality of working life, and not so much creating opportunity to overwork and neglect other commitments, were central to inter-party politics.
SHOULD ATTENDANCE AT WORK BE REWARDED? - BBC NEWS
Finally, it would appear that the 'fuel protestors' might be on the march again even though they had the opportunity to bring down the government back in 2000 and insist on radical changes to how fuel is taxed. The issue that I find the most difficult to reconcile is in how haulage employers (their drivers are just a front for their activities) are using the very tactics - mass picketing of refineries - that were outlawed during the 1980s by a series of Conservative governments. It remains to be seen what could happen should this conflict intensify to the levels of five years ago. If it does intensify and bring about radical changes then it could be an ideal time for trade unions to legitimately call for more labour-related concessions from the up-until-now reticent Labour government (assuming Labour win next month).
FUEL PROTESTORS TARGET OIL REFINERIES - BBC NEWS
Five more work-related blogs to add to the list. All five are from the UK and include IT workers, a vertical borer, a civil servant, a retail worker and London taxi driver. Diverse as usual!