Sunday, 25 November 2007

A very familiar situation

It is no secret that in the environment of a company, most employees; a.k.a. modern slaves are not happy with the management. From being underpaid to unpaid overtime to excessive workload and responsibilities, modern slaves just have to take them all. While some of us are still living the dream of making it big some day, most are in it in the name of survival. Hence, we continue to remain silent as slaves.

But there are a few brave souls.
Some are willing represent the majority to voice out concerns to management, and there are some who are bold enough to start union so that slaves can come together for a common cause.
Union is not a common thing in Malaysia but there are certain industries where unions are still in existence. One thing for sure, existence of union is hanging on a thread. Why? As time goes by, more and more people are not willing to join the union anymore and there are 2 main reasons.

The first reason is that most slaves believe the union is weak and is no longer a force to be reckoned with. Slaves believe or are made to believe that the management is just too powerful and any challenge will be futile. Union just do not get the support that they used to get anymore. But what slaves fail to realise is that the union is weak simply because they refuse to support it. Slaves fail to realise that if all of them come together in unity, the management might just tremble, pay might just increase and slave-hood might change for the better.

The second reason, which is the main reason why slaves refuse to be part of the union, is fear. Slaves fear that their career slave-hood will be threatened if they join the union. This fear is very real. Management will be notified of any slaves who decide to join the union and once that happened, the career slave-hood of that slave is finished. Call it exploitation or oppression or whatever you want, but this is also… very real.

And of course, when it comes to union, there are 3 types of approaches to it…

There are those who are brave and stand up for what they believe, stand up for their rights, and fight for what they deserve. These are those who will join the union and do the dirty work.

Then there are those who only hide in the background, refuse to join because they fear for their slave-hood but at the same time are very aware of what is happening in the union and are greedily waiting for any goodies that the union managed to rip from the management.

And of course, there are those who just want to go to work and play their part, get their pay-cheque and go home. They don’t want to be involved; they rather not know what is going on. If the union managed to negotiate any goodies, that’s good. If otherwise, life still goes on.

This is not a parody, it’s as real as it gets.

Now, does the whole situation sounds familiar to you?

29 comments:

myop101 said...

i am not sure. is union such a good idea? frankly, i am raised with an understanding that unions cause lots of problems and the fact that unions worldwide are breaking down perhaps testify to that (but then again, someone might want to point to South Korea and tell me otherwise).

i believe it all boils down to negotiation. if you are good, wherever you go your bosses would have to concede that to retain you they have to pay you good money. if a certain organisation do not appreciate you, you should just leave and find one that does.

i noticed a certain school of magic is now so badly derived of suitable apprentices that they are forced to raise the mana payments and treat them less as slaves. i guess i still believe in market forces and union doesn't gel well with it?

Kim Bosiwang said...

I onced tried the first method before but most who were around me were not supportive. And yes, the reason was that they were frightened of their career. After I did that, 2 managers approached me and said to be careful because I'll be in trouble. I do not have that much fear on career if it is for the right cause but I do have some fears asl well. Most of my colleagues would say I'll be blacklisted if I continued to be rebelious.

lynnwei said...

hhmm..now that you mention, i really think msia has very little unions...and i didnt understand wat it was when i was watching series...keke..now i know..

well...it's jsut the mentality of kiasu, kiasi...so, didnt wnat to get involve in something that will end up sendiri rugi! haha..

^^

rational thinker said...

malaysia nascent politics WAS started off by LABOUR UNIONS, but sadly, that was not really accounted for in our history textbooks. British ruling too, has successfully limit the existence of powerful labour unions in this country, as early union leaders were arrested and deported in the name of communism threats.

In modern days malaysia, there's hardly any powerful unions. we have the cuepacs, who occasionally make some powerful complaints, but alas, their leaders are all umno lapdogs. you can't really expect much, can you? while i am not sure of the labour/union law in malaysia, i got a feeling that Striking is illegal, or the leaders can be jailed under ISA or something weird. all in the name of nation building of course.

lastly, in my field of expertise, the professional "union", is of course, made up of the employers themselves.

How hopeless are the modern day slaves? :)

sooi2 said...

So did u "horn for support" during the picket outside menara maybank the other day? :p

Bee Ean said...

zewt,

I once joined this bank union and even supported them by investing in a leisure park project. Unfortunately, due to lousy management, 10 years after the park is still not finished, and rumor said the union president lost most of the money collected in the share market. I tried to contact them several times but no one ever replied me.

Besides, the unions in France are causing more trouble than providing solution. Everytime they want something they go on strike first and make people's life miserable. My opinion, don't let the unions get too powerful, they could harm the country.

Kata Tak Nak said...

When I got here I saw that you've already got 99734 hits. Let me be the 1st to congratulate on on your 100,000th hit which should come soon.

For a non-political blogger, you are a very popular guy.

Angie Tan said...

Hmmmm...

I'm not sure what is the state of unionism across the globe but here in M'sia, I don't see many unions except for a few industries.

For the IT industry, a union is completely rare, it has not dawned on us IT slaves to form a union of sorts. However, I have read about a "union" for programmers in the lucrative electronic gaming industry where programmers believe that their welfare should be looked after as well. --> IGDA

Anyway, the notion of unionism in M'sia is poor because we are "educated" not to be so outspoken against authority of any kind, and also, "don't-look-for-trouble-because-it-will-jeopardize -your-career" teachings from our parents, teachers or friends.

Maxforce said...

Without the unions, the slave (read as labor) force would be in worse conditions. During the beginning of the 20th century, the unions played a major role in ensuring many practices such as:
1) The exploitation of child labor
2) Hazardous working environment - think mines where thousands died each year.
3) Working hours and compensation.

There are more actually but I just woke up not too long ago :P. Interesting read really about the development of labor unions. But as history teaches us, it takes a long time for something to be implemented no matter how simple it is. First off, a strong leader is needed - but where is this strong leader? Heh heh

Maxforce said...

Oops - read as ensuring many fair practices in regards to:
1) The exploitation of child labor
2) Hazardous working environment - think mines where thousands died each year.
3) Working hours and compensation.

No - they didnt exploit children. The unions fought against it. :P

missironic said...

When I was in Paris, coincidentally it was their time to hold a strike there. From wat I heard, their labour union are pretty strong. The whole train services juz stopped moving! And it seems, every yr strike always happen in France. I guess this shows how strong their union is.

I guess, in certain countries strikes really happened alot and it helps their workers to demand for their rights...in a way, it help the workers to not being treated unjustifiably.

but then, if strike to happen in msia, will it have a positive effect? i wonder la!

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

If ur are the boss....do u want ur worker to be unionise??? Remember u want to made max profit for ur co! U will pay more for hardworking & orbidient worker! Unionise worker just do the minimum amount of job but want max payment & benefit.Union are suppost to ensure protection for their member in pay & benefit but they fail to ensure that member must also perform to earn their pay.Some just don't even really perform! So as boss do u want unionise worker?
U r the worker. Do u want to joint the union? If u want to enjoy the pay & benefit, do just the min amt of jobs & have no desire to promot then joint the union. If u r hardworking & desire for promotion then consider first before joining union as boss nomarly don't give pior to union member ( unless u happen to be union head )when promoting.Beside this whatever u do all 'control' by union.So do u want to joint union?
In good time union is good, in bad time it is bad & union worker are not encourage by co ( most co are stuggling to made profit ).
Anyway just my humber 'hor ny' opinion.
Have a nice day!

Huei said...

hmm..ok..u know i'd rather be the forth type, get away from it all. it's not "tou pei yin sat"..it's choosing the better path!! i wana MIGRATE!!

eh wait..u're talking about work hor =P hehehe

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

got meh, i thought it mainly happens oversea..what we have here is beyond a labour union wor..

Anonymous said...

4th type :
screwed the company & screwed the union cos one depend on the other to survive and both treat the workers like fools.

so, be your own boss.

alan zed said...

i think i'm the third one. heh.

zewt said...

myop101 - i think it has reached a stage whereby ppl are rising up everywhere, be it union or whatever. oh yes, i just had lunch with some of the professors of one school, he said new apprentices nowadays do not care if Overius Timenius is a compulsory spell.

Kim Bosiwang - yup... better look after your own ricebowl right? it's a sad sad thing really.

lynnwei - looks like we are beating sigapore in the kiasu and kiasi meter.

rational thinker - cuepacs are there to do the govt's bidding i guess. besides, they cant shout so much, lest they wanna keep their rice bowl too. hmmm... your last point is worth pondering. indeed... the top managament are united against the scattered pathetic modern slaves.

sooi2 - yup... i did honked.

Bee Ean - you sound like a capitalist. i think it's a matter of 2 perspective. just like any other thing. there will be people genuiely in need of a union to get the better of things. after all, it's a competitive world.

Kata Tak Nak - hahahaha... there are ppl out there who does consider me a SOPO blogger though.

zewt said...

Angie Tan - yup... couldnt agree more. we are groomed to just shut up and do our job. live the life just as fate designed us to live. dont question, if we suffer, it's our destiny. that's the thinking which has enslaved us for the longest time.

Maxforce - hey max... where have u been? noticed your fusion blog has got some activity lately... hahaha... i am sure the union fought against it. yup, without a good leader, no union will survive. and i think in malaysia, there arent any good leader. those who are good would rather be among the management.

missironic - it's very common in london too. that is what i called people power. no matter how ppl see it. i always think employees / workers / slaves.... should have some form of unity.

hor ny - yup... once you're in the union, you're blacklisted for good. it's a very good way to instil fear in people. just like what the 'big boss' is doing in a bigger scale on the bigger front. get what i mean?

huei - work or non work... migration will still solve everything hahaha!

constant craver joe - beyond a labour union?

anon @ 11.33am - hahaha.... means, go against the union lor.

alan zed - most are... you're not alone i am sure.

Helen said...

A good union can only exists if they have true leaders committed to a cause.

Other than that, union is more of a pest than a solution.

BTW, true leaders with zero personal agenda is facing extinction along with the dinasours.

evelyn said...

i think i will join the group that goes to work, play my part wait for pay check and go home. i hate office politics

bensiu said...

I think Malaysia should have a new tagline, not "Malaysia Boleh" but rather "Malaysia apa pun boleh asal ada wang" as in even being treated like dirt, by the end of the day if you're paid, just suck it up..

I have spoken to the Ambassador of French and he said very soon which I hope to believe, Asia will become Europe, where everyone learns to appreciate their skills and ability, we will not be bullied by our employers.

It will not be suck it up, but rather am I being treated fairly for the work I am doing...

Manal said...

yeay....100,000++ milestone.

Congrats zewt!

rinnah said...

I just wanna get paid! Hehehe. Somehow or other I just have this really bad impression of union bosses as bad guys who screw the little ones into sticking their necks out what with strikes and all while they're safe as the union boss.

zewt said...

Helen - very true indeed. am afraid to say that most leaders have their own personal agenda.

evelyn - but like it or not, u will be affected by it. you cant be away from it. can only ignore it.

bensiu - aiyah... why so long... it should be "ringgit malaysia boleh". kau tim right? i think that vision of the french ambassador will take a while to materialise.

manal - thanks. :)

rinnah - hahaha... thing can be very different in the real union situation. some workers are really exploited and deserve a pay rise.

myop101 said...

haha... but i bet the Claimous Sheeto will always be timely and accurate eh?...:)

missironic said...

Yea, i guess u had a point there..is like a safety measure for workers to be secure when working...union can help them not being ill-treated. i tink the banking union in msia is pretty strong. isnt it?

Wee-Leng said...

Like everything else, union has its pros and cons. And it needs balance. I have been given the several chances to get stuff sorted with the unions folks, trust me, nothing good comes out of them as most of them are unprofessional and unreasonable. But I am not concluding that unionship is bad, it depends who leads it and the agenda of the leader, afterall, it function exactly like any political parties a country. So, it's not exactly all for the union member if u dig further. Plus, you've got to r'ber unions are normally made up of non-professional folks who needs a body to back them up when needs arises, so who are we kidding.

Wee-Leng said...

Like everything else, union has its pros and cons. And it needs balance. I have been given the several chances to get stuff sorted with the unions folks, trust me, nothing good comes out of them as most of them are unprofessional and unreasonable. But I am not concluding that unionship is bad, it depends who leads it and the agenda of the leader, afterall, it function exactly like any political parties a country. So, it's not exactly all for the union member if u dig further. Plus, you've got to r'ber unions are normally made up of non-professional folks who needs a body to back them up when needs arises, so who are we kidding.

zewt said...

myop101 - those are so complicated, sometimes u wish to just forego your claims.

missironic - yup... think bank's union is the strongest here. try surfing NUBE...

wee-leng - i think the problem with union is when the leader has hidden agenda... that's when it complicates things.