Saint Monday alive and well in British industry

Before I reference an article on sickness and absenteeism in British industry consider a quote from Geoff Brown's (1977) book called Sabotage: A study in industrial conflict:

In some industries in mid-Victorian Britain, St. Monday was so common that some employers, while disapproving of it, were forced to concede defeat formally. In some Sheffield steel mills Monday became the day 'that is taken for repairs to the machinery of the great stealworks' (p. 64).

Now consider the article written by Dan Thomas of Personnel Today who quotes from a report by the Employment Law Advisory Services. In Employers lose millions of pounds from Monday and Friday sickies it is said that UK employers are losing tens of millions of pounds a year because of the huge number of employees sneaking extra days off work either side of the weekend. Therefore, is it really true that "UK businesses currently lose almost £12bn a year as a result of absenteeism in the workplace", or do employers like to shout about a problem that is commonly accommodated by informal practices?

A similar article also from Personnel Today suggests Time-wasters cost £88bn a year in lost productivity - i.e. employers have been urged to supervise their staff more closely and plan meetings meticulously, after it emerged that wasted time at work is costing the UK economy £88bn in lost productivity. Can it really be said that keeping a close eye on employees is the key to productivity? Is a high emphasis on keeping a close eye on employees a sign of good or creative management practices? Surveillance is part and parcel of the getting the most from labour, but it appears to be a rather 'low road' approach to boosting productivity. The full report quoted is available from Proudfoot Consultants.

Finally, it has been reported that a trade union leader from the Phillipines - Diosdado Fortuna - was murdered by an unidentified gunman on his way home from the factory picket line, currently in operation at a Nestlé plant in the Philippines. Add your voice to Labourstart's campaign for the government of the Philippines to undertake a full investigation into this crime. You can send a message to the Phillipines government here.

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