No doubt about it – work makes us sick. Hence the time honoured tradition of pulling a sickie, taking a day or two off to relieve the work pressure and recapture a little of life. In this country the govt is busy trying to outlaw or suppress sickies, depending on how generous your viewpoint is of them. You can read about it here.

Just reading a book on industrial relations in NZ. Interestingly it says:

It has been calculated that in New Zealand in 1973 (the last year all the figures were available) the percentage loss of working time was:

0.1% from strikes

1.8% from accidents

6.0% from absenteeism

Thus if one-firth of absenteeims results from conflict as opposed to general illness — it causes ten times more working time lost than does strikes. Even if an exceptionally bad year for strikes is considered — such as 1976 — the average amount of work time lost per employee through strikes was only about half a day per year. This averages to forty-five seconds per day. Hence, if employees extend the morning and afternoon tea breaks by a couple of minutes, this wastes over five times the working time lost through strikes. Managers who attend one luncheon a month which extends for an extra hour and is not made up, are wasting more working time in a year than the average worker does through strikes. [Edgar and Geare p 175 Employment Relations in NZ and Abroad]

Hence all the fuss about trying to supress sickies. It costs capital more than it does thru strikes, even more so given that the ability to strike in NZ has been severely curtailed. I dunno about some of the emphasis in the quote above – fairly clear which side the writers are on when they state taking a few extra minutes for a smoko or cuppa is wasting time! And 1976 was a good year for workers and strikes. Not as good as 1979 with the 300,000 strong general strike. But pretty darn good. Anyway, they make a good point that even during a period of heightened class struggle that sickies and general absenteeism cost capital more profit than did strikes. However, this is not to downplay the effect of strikes. At certain periods and in certain industries eg the meat freezing industry, the most rebellious workplace in NZ in the 1970s, strikes did have massive impact, leading to a neoliberal restructuring and concerted attack of workers’ organisation in that industry.

Aargh, thought i would try and avoid the little wee posts that infect the blogworld. But this post is a wee one. At least I haven’t descended into offering up my opinion on every issue under the sun yet, in the highly individualistic single-issue manner of  NZ leftists of the blog world who try to and compete with each other for some type of leftist kudos. Actually the main reason i posted this is that i wanted to write it down before returning it to the library and avoid copping a fine…


~ by vomitingdiamonds on 14/11/2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: