Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you, thank you for my job!

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!”

6 comments:

Czarny Kot said...

The crisis has been great for a lot of employers-- a good excuse to make cuts and the employees who remain are told to put up with less pay and benefits because they're lucky just to have a job.

Brett Hetherington said...

Exactly. Spain’s main labor unions,
CCOO and UGT, have organized
marches in Madrid and other
parts of Spain for Saturday to protest
against any attempts to
make workers pay an excessive
price for the economic crisis.
Relations between the
unions and Spanish industry
have been strained by calls from
business leaders for severance
payments to be slashed as an antidote
for soaring unemployment.
The slogan for the march is
“Don’t let them take advantage
of the crisis.” UGT’s secretary
general Cándido Méndez said
the protest is directed against elements
“looking to emerge from
the crisis by imposing a reduction Spain’s main labor unions,
CCOO and UGT, have organized
marches in Madrid and other
parts of Spain Saturday to protest
against any attempts to
make workers pay an excessive
price for the economic crisis.
Relations between the
unions and Spanish industry
have been strained by calls from
business leaders for severance
payments to be slashed as an antidote
for soaring unemployment.
The slogan for the march is
“Don’t let them take advantage
of the crisis.” UGT’s secretary
general Cándido Méndez said
the protest is directed against elements
“looking to emerge from
the crisis by imposing a reduction Spain’s main labor unions,
CCOO and UGT, have organized
marches in Madrid and other
parts of Spain Saturday to protest
against any attempts to
make workers pay an excessive
price for the economic crisis.
Relations between the
unions and Spanish industry
have been strained by calls from
business leaders for severance
payments to be slashed as an antidote
for soaring unemployment.
The slogan for the march is
“Don’t let them take advantage
of the crisis.” UGT’s secretary
general Cándido Méndez said
the protest is directed against elements
“looking to emerge from
the crisis by imposing a reduction in workers rights." {Source: El Pais.)

Brett Hetherington said...

Is this a problem in your part of the world too, Czarny Kot?

dromedario said...

So... be a Robot, isn´t it?

Be a GOOD robot, not the robot who kills humans (or bosses).

Yes, there is a crisis, but it´s more than a economic crisis: it´s a ethical crisis.

Emilio Iglesias.

Jon said...

Brett,
I'm not sure who wrote the original article about this but in my book The No Complaining Rule, the goal is to not eliminate all complaining but rather use complaints as a catalyst for solutions. In the book i encourage employers to eliminate mindless complaining that breeds negativity and instead encourage employees to share their justified complaints so long as they also offer solutions as well. This empowers employees to improve the organization with new ideas and innovations. I specifically said this in the book because i wanted to make it clear that all complaining isn't bad. We just need to use justified complaints for a positive purpose. Employers must listen to their people and encourage them to share their justified complaints and solutions. Employees, then, must focus on staying positive, work hard and contribute to the organization. If both sides do their part and communicate it's amazing what can be accomplished. If you can pass this along to the people who wrote the original article i would appreciate it. Thank you.
Jon Gordon

Brett Hetherington said...

Thanks for the comment, Jon. The original story was in Spain's El Pais newspaper in December. Anyone (including me) who publishes articles and blogs runs the risk of having their work interpreted in a way they may not like. But when you call a book "The No Complaining Rule" there is a strong chance that someone will get the impression that you are advocating a workplace rule for "No Complaining." Your statement that there is a practice of "mindless complaining" by employees suggests that you believe workers often complain without reason. My experience is that there is usually a very good reason for complaints at work. When you go on to use the words "positive" and negative" I think the question must be positive or negative FOR WHO and for what purpose? (For bigger profits, for example?) By the way, I don't pass on others complaints, so maybe you will have to, as you say, be "innovative" and get "empowererd" to do that yourself. But hey, "Stay positive!"