In an almost unbelievable recent story, a Spanish cleaning company called Emlicodemsa has bamboozled it's mainly female employees with a brochure that was handed out to them with the words: “COMPLAINING FORBIDDEN.”
The El Pais article quotes one worker who belongs to the union Sindicato Unitario, which represents some 20 percent of the staff, as saying “Nobody else wants to protest. There are girls who work part-time, or have no permanent contract. They are afraid to speak out.”
But this union activist says she will continue to ignore what she believes to be the employers threats. "“They won’t shut me up. They haven’t paid advances for months now — they are really necessary for some families [but] ...we are afraid we won’t get paid at the end of the month.”
But however hard times may be, the brochure comes up with “three tools for not complaining.”
The first heading is “Positive Technique.” The second, is a word of advice:
“Concentrate on what you can do instead of what you have to do.” The third is: “Transform complaints into solutions.”
The brochure's text has other recommendations, such as: “I must make an effort every day, and help to improve the viability and profitability of the company, so I can go on having a good job that enables me to support my family.”
It also includes “consolations” such as: “Change your outlook and you will understand that your job isn’t something you have to do; it’s something you can do… You can go to work, while many others are unemployed.”
Emlicodemsa has acknowledged the distribution of these pamphlets. “They are based on a bestseller, and are aimed at creating a positive attitude among the workers,” explains company manager Antonio Fernández.
The book in question, The No Complaining Rule, by the US writer Jon Gordon, is described as “a simple method” aimed at changing negativity in the work environment. The person in charge of putting these techniques to work in municipal companies, Alfonso Barroso, explains that they are not intended to “annoy” anyone. “In the middle of this crisis, you have to be thankful for not being unemployed,”he adds.
The aim is to invert negative into positive. “Yes, let’s invert,” says the same female union member. “I’ll get the chairman’s monthly salary, and he can get my salary!”