||Issue No. 248||26 November 2004|
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Pee Pole Shame
Latham Is A Scapegoat
A Tool For All Seasons
Australians are rightly cynical when someone knocking off $4 million dollars a year without ever having to raise a sweat starts lecturing them about the workplace.
This week Kirby Adams, managing director of BlueScope Steel, spat the dummy about how there was a "season off strikes" when EBAs come up for negotiation.
In a mantra that has sounded like a broken record since the late nineteenth century this, apparently, is all the fault of big bad union bosses.
The employees, according to our man of steel, wouldn't have a bar of it if they weren't being led by the nose.
The outburst by our Tool Of The week raises two questions.
Why would anybody take anyone with a name like Kirby Adams seriously in the first place?
And what is wrong with workers trying to defend their standard of living?
According to Adams, who is another in a long line of septic tanks imported into the senior executive echelons of this country, workers should bend over and cop whatever he wants to dish up to them.
No doubt he has been lifting his human resources policies direct from his compatriot Donald Trump, who has shown us the American Way on Channel packer's program the Apprentice.
Of course Adams has a package at BlueScope that guarantees a two year payout should his open-ended contract be terminated.
This is in marked divergence from the sort of flexible, let-me-treat-my-employees-like-a-shovel mentality that Kirby wants his own workforce to accept.
Another corporate example of do as I say, not as I do.
While this sort of rank hypocrisy comes as no surprise, the fact that Tools like Kirby can dribble this fertiliser with a straight face is.
Kirby has gone on the record saying his first priority is to deliver double-digit returns for shareholders. Obviously the best way to do that is to pay your workers peanuts, sack them, shift your operations offshore, pay no tax and generally carry on with all the social responsibility of Attila the Hun.
His evangelical style may have gone down a treat in America's Jim Crow south, but he is now operating it hat is allegedly a civilised society.
The fact that this chinless wonder doesn't even understand something as basic as the social contract - and the fair go that goes along with it - shows that far from being a man of the future (as these New Right bomb throwers like to paint themselves), but rather, he is a tired ideologue stuck firmly in the nineteenth century.
If he is worried about people who are needlessly throwing their weight around to disrupt the workforce he might want to have a word to the bloke he looks at when he has a shave in the morning.
Its about time these social nobodies grew up and started treating people as real human beings, instead of jibbering on about something they know four fifths of stuff all about.
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