Gary Hamel - Barbara Ehrenreich - Paul Foot - Arthur Scargill - Aravind Adiga - John Lewis - Robert Tressell - The Secret Life of the Hospital TV - Nelson: Britain’s Great Naval Hero TV - The Sydney Morning Herald -
The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors. Gary Hamel
Employers have gone away from the idea that an employee is a long-term asset to the company, someone to be nurtured and developed, to a new notion that they are disposable. Barbara Ehrenreich
But the courts, in ascending authority, solemnly declared that it was in the interests of justice for employers to be able to identify any ‘disloyal’ member of their staff and to sack them. Paul Foot, Judges Rule Against a Free Press
I’ve never known the employer who gives you anything; you get as much as you are prepared to go out and take. Arthur Scargill
I don’t treat them like servants – I don’t slap, or bully, or mock anyone. I don’t insult any of them by calling them my ‘family’, either. They’re my employees, I’m their boss, that’s all. I make them sign a contract and I sign it too, and both of us must honour that contract. That’s all. If they notice the way I talk, the way I dress, the way I keep things clean, they’ll go up in life. If they don’t, they’ll be drivers all their lives. I leave the choice up to them. When the work is done I kick them out of the office: no chitchat, no cups of coffee. A White Tiger keeps no friends. It’s too dangerous. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger p302
If there is to be peace in our industrial life let the employer recognize his obligation to his employees – at least to the degree set forth in existing statutes. John L Lewis
Over the men stood Misery, ever threatening them with dismissal and their wives and children with hunger. Behind Misery was Rushton, ever bullying and goading him on to greater excesses and efforts for the furtherance of the good cause – which was to enable the head of the firm to accumulate money. Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
Everyone was afraid. They knew that it was almost impossible to get a job from any other firm. They knew that this man had the power to deprive them of the means for earning a living; that he possessed the power to deprive their children of bread. ibid.
An evil-minded worldly or unconverted person might possibly sum up the matter thus: these people required this work done: they employed this woman to do it, taking advantage of her poverty to impose upon her conditions of price and labour they would not have liked to endure themselves. Although she worked very hard, early and late, the money they paid her as wages was insufficient to enable her to provide herself with the bare necessities of life. Then her employers, being good, kind, generous, Christian people, came to the rescue and bestowed charity, in the form of cast-off clothing and broken victuals. ibid.
He employed a great number of girls and young women who were supposed to be learning dressmaking, mantle-making or millinery. These were all indentured apprentices, some of whom had paid premiums of from five to ten pounds. They were ‘bound’ for three years. For the first two they received no wages: the third year they got a shilling or eighteenpence a week. At the end of the third year they usually got the sack, unless they were willing to stay on as improvers at from three shillings to four and sixpence per week.
They worked from half-past eight in the morning till eight at night, with an interval of an hour for dinner, and at half-past four they ceased work for fifteen minutes for tea. This was provided by the firm – half a pint for each girl, but they had to bring their own milk and sugar and bread and butter.
Few of these girls ever learned their trades properly. ibid.
As he grows older he will have to be content with even less; and all the time he holds his employment at the caprice and by favour of his masters, who regard him merely as a piece of mechanism that enables them to accumulate money – a thing which they are justified in casting aside as soon as it becomes unprofitable. And the working-man must not only be an efficient money-making machine, but he must also be the servile subject of his masters. ibid.
The NHS has 1.7 million staff making it the biggest employer in Europe. The Secret Life of the Hospital, Channel 5 2018
Nelson was one of about 100,000 personnel serving King & Country in the Royal Navy, the largest employer in late 18th-century Britain. Nelson: Britain’s Great Naval Hero, Channel 5 2020
Coke Further Undermines Colombian Investigation: Employers led by a Coca-Cola executive [Ed Potter] stopped the International Labour Organisation examining violations of workplace rights in Colombia. The Sydney Morning Herald 6th June 2007 online report, post 14th June 2007