Questions are being asked about the changing workplace environment as Australia struggles with record high unemployment, housing affordability, and debt.

It has very much become an employers’ market. And some employers are taking full advantage of the fact.

Hutchison Ports Australia recently attempted to sack nearly 100 wharfies via ‘flippant and heartless’ middle-of-the-night text messages. They appeared unconcerned about both the welfare of their employees and the message this act sends to the community.

The New York Times, this week, described a virtual Orwellian nightmare in its expose of Amazon – a vicious, self-aggrandising, and relentless struggle against co-workers to succeed and get the next promotion.

The attitude of both companies echoes that of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, where individuals are treated like ‘pieces of fruit’, having the peel thrown away when the flesh is consumed.

And the economic conditions of both countries make this not only permissible, but advantageous.

Both America and Australia are teetering on the edge of recessions. The massive levels of personal debt ensure workers are slaves in all but name; slaves to their creditors and therefore slaves to their employers.

The changing face of workplace practices only makes this worse. Workplace automation, off-shore outsourcing, and FIFO labour turn the screws on employees.

Workers are reminded they are eminently replaceable. If they don’t like what’s happening, they’re free to leave. But leave to what?

As much as academics and civil libertarians like to push for human-centred workplace practices, and as much as companies like to advertise their ‘People First’ credentials, it’s just not true.

Businesses exist to make a profit.

Businesses are structured so that the majority of that profit flows to a few at the top.

And there are no incentives for this to change.

About The Author

Someone you can depend on to respect you and care for your dog. Let me help you give your dog the life it deserves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.