Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1063/29814

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 November 2019

Incompetent bosses use tech to bully us

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Connor O'Farrell, warehouse worker and Usdaw union member

Management at my warehouse uses new technology to harass the workers - and has even proposed a new pay deal which includes scrapping Christmas bonuses for most of the shopfloor.

Rather than every worker getting 100, five managers would draw lots for a bonus for one worker each! The managers themselves would all still get bonuses, of course. Our union, Usdaw, has rightly recommended we reject this 'deal'.

Meanwhile, Tesco management is increasing the use of wearable technology - arm-mounted computers - on warehouse workers. Bosses say this is for 'increased productivity'. Of course, that means tracking workers every minute we're on shift.

But management can also use the guided picking software to keep certain workers deemed 'trouble' away from new recruits - and for intimidation and bullying.

For example, in my workplace, there is heavier lifting involved with produce such as bananas or bread trays. The shift-planning and rotation software has an override function, so managers can have the same staff bear the brunt of this workload on every shift - in the non-chilled chamber of the warehouse.

Up until recently there wasn't even a water cooler in there. Management only put one in begrudgingly after a worker fainted.

And if 'productivity' is their only aim, why slow down the training of workers? Many workers, including myself, have been waiting almost a year since finishing contracted probation for training on other positions in the warehouse.

The selective memory - and often outright incompetence - of management has led to this not happening. They also find petty reasons to keep new workers in their probation period, meaning they have to work the same job for less money.

New Tesco contracts have workers doing seven days on, four days off. This rota bypasses the unsociable hours bonus won in previous contracts!

Why claim we are given 30-minute breaks when in reality it is 25? Why not pause our productivity measures on our registered lunch, toilet and smoke breaks? Why refuse to have label printers on each truck, instead forcing us to go back and forth between just one or two?

Workers regularly get told family illness and childcare problems are irrelevant to the Tesco budget.

'Productivity'

It's not about maximising our 'productivity'. It's about management keeping workers overworked, underpaid, and toeing the line - maximising profit productivity, not the efficiency of the job.

I was called in for a meeting regarding my 'productivity' - even though my performance was not the issue, my 'still time' was. After refusing to have the meeting without a union rep present multiple times, they gave up trying as they had nothing on my conduct or performance.

But I was unjustly fired in 2017 from my first precarious warehouse job at Tuffnells for arguing against being underpaid and ignored.

Ironically, during my 'still time' at the current workplace, I was engaged in discussion with an agency worker. She had not been paid her full wages, and at the moment Usdaw only seems to want to organise contracted staff.

So I had to put her in contact with the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain - and within a week and one meeting, her pay had been restored. A minor workplace victory that made my shift bearable!

Invasive management technology is becoming widespread across firms. Further attempts to stifle freedom of association in the workplace should be anticipated.

But while management seems clueless about how to run the workplace efficiently, relying on snooping and bullying, the expertise shown by workers on the job and together on strike begs the question: could we not run our workplaces ourselves?

This collective control is the basis of a real socialist society. We have both the labour power, and the knowhow. Currently we are only out-organised - not outnumbered!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 November 2019:


News

Whose side are you on? Tories out - Corbyn in with anti-austerity and socialist policies

Tony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government

Grenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment

General election 2019 round-up


Berlin Wall

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall: How a mass revolutionary movement for genuine socialism was diverted


Socialism 2019

Elections, strikes and revolutions: Socialism 2019 - daring to fight

PCS: "Under the right leadership workers are prepared to fight"

Royal Mail strike: "This is going to be the biggest battle we've seen in Britain for a number of years"

McDonald's: 'I'm fighting for 15 an hour now because I have to work from 7am to midnight'

Northern Ireland: Uniting the working class to transcend division

Preparing to shape events internationally


International socialist news and analysis

End repression in Chile - freedom for soldier David Veloso


Workplace news

PCS: Pay, jobs, pensions... Vote for a fighting general secretary

UCU votes for pay and pension strikes

Incompetent bosses use tech to bully us

1 million cuts plan: Peabody housing workers announce strike ballot

Forbo Flooring Derbyshire strike

West Midlands Trains guards to strike

Double-dealing Hackney council bosses face renewed strike action


Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?


Readers' opinion

TV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 November 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

US:

triangle30 years since the huge anti-poll tax demo... And how mass non-payment of the tax was built

triangleLike what we say, help us keep saying it - fund the Socialist

triangleCoronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Can Bernie Sanders win the US presidency?

triangleSelling the Socialist

Workers:

triangleLeicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

triangleThe self-employed need 100% of their income, and now!

triangleCoronavirus news in brief

triangleCoronavirus: What role could community support groups play?

Union:

triangleUnion independence must be maintained - a reply to the TUC

triangleSouthampton: University workers win full pay for casual staff

triangleOrganising in the workplace in the time of coronavirus

Usdaw:

triangleRetail and the coronavirus outbreak - organise to defend workers interests

triangleUsdaw - the Activist

Tesco:

triangleSupermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits

Technology:

triangleThe private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

31/3/20

Leicester

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

27/3/20

Coronavirus

The self-employed need 100% of their income, and now!

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Construction site bosses put profits first

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Southampton: University workers win full pay for casual staff

25/3/20

JCB

Bosses not workers should pay for JCB shutdown

25/3/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

25/3/20

Socialist Party

'Meeting' to discuss socialist ideas - more vital than ever during the crisis

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What role could community support groups play?

25/3/20

Retail

Retail and the coronavirus outbreak - organise to defend workers interests

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Organising in the workplace in the time of coronavirus

25/3/20

The Socialist

Like what we say, help us keep saying it - fund the Socialist

25/3/20

RMT

Transport union RMT demands action for coronavirus tube safety

24/3/20

Coronavirus

Protest against Facebook censorship

24/3/20

Newham

Newham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

24/3/20

Coventry

Coventry socialist candidate wins votes against austerity

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999