It’s easy to see how striking workers have lost the plot sometimes, when seen from a commercial standpoint.
Yet if one considers how top management in the self-same organisations measure their benefits – and salaries – in millions, I believe there is another view.
In Jim Collins’s ground-breaking book “Good to Great”, he mentions how Nucor Steel survived the previous recession:
Top management took a 75% pay cut, middle managers chose 50% and the “workers” only lost 25% – the equivalent of short-time – for a season. Unsurprisingly, they were soon back on track, and remain highly productive, as well as profitable, as they engendered a sense of trust, and unity of purpose that makes for brand engagement. No-one is denying that “a worker is worth his wages” – and that paying “peanuts” only gets you “monkeys”. Who wouldn’t admire such courage, though, and a tangible commitment to staff retention?
I don’t see this kind of sacrifice in the leadership of any of the organisations that regularly face strike action. There is a commitment, but it is not to the organisation, or the nation.
And it makes me wonder.