Sunday, September 21, 2008

The stupidity and intransigence of the unions

I should probably go to bed, so that I can get on with some work tomorrow, but I thought that I would leave you with Travellgall's comment on the collapse of Alitalia Airlines, over at A Very British Dude's place.
Alitalia, the Italian state run airline has had a rescue deal pulled from it after the intransigence of trade unions meant those trying to save the company had to deal with workers who were physically incapable of adapting to real market conditions. Silvio Berlusconi said that this was a “catastrophe for Italian Society and trade unions”. Yet it was those Trades Unions that were responsible for the collapse in the first place, and every subsequent action made the medicine harder for them to take and the condition to get worse. Bad management had a hand in it too, but the lack of flexibility in the workers meant that the company was doomed by the unions. They refused longer hours for the same pay, well guess what Alitalia pilots, you’ll have all the spare time in the world now, just with no pay.
...

Yet the demise of the airline is best explained by this part of an article in the Times…
Despite the crisis, Alitalia's planes continued to take off and land normally. Fifty flights were cancelled yesterday, but the airline said that this was because of a one-day strike by a small trades union.

So let's get this straight, your Company is fighting for its life, everybody knows this is the last chance you've got to save your job, and YOU GO ON STRIKE!

And really, don't think that the Italian unions have a monopoly on utter, mind-boggling stupidity: the Trades Unions in this country are just as bad.

7 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

This is easily fixed.

Assuming Alitalia is worthless, as a business, just give it away. To the self same trade unions and let them run it as a co-op.

It may be that they adopt market principles and it works, in which case they've learned a lesson. Or it may be that it goes horribly wrong, in which case they've learned a lesson.

What's not to like?

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

People are completely brainwashed when it comes to unions and striking. They don't understand that it works against them. We are too persuaded of the cowboy vs indian mentality.

Tim said...

Hasn't Alitalia been massively subsidised by the Italian state for years anyway? Never knew how they got around the EU state support rules, mind - presumably its because only our government is stupid enough to implement all the regulations so zealously, when elsewhere they know that there are no repercussions to flouting the laws.

whoops said...

Mark Wadsworth is right. Unions, when it comes to it are either turkeys voting for xmas, or they are not. If your members vote for a strike when the company is going down the pan then that's up to them. That's not to say that I am against trade unions, I am indeed a member of one, but unions are supposed to be there to protect the workforce and when they are, in effect, pulling the plug on the employer then protecting the workforce they are not. The saddest thing is if non-union workers (who wouldn't get a vote in a strike ballot) lost their jobs too, but to be honest they should have joined and voted no, that's their problem.

windy blow said...

Years and years ago I can recall the old London Transport staff going on strike over pay, and in their long dispute they lost wages, naturally.

When the drivers and conductors finally "won" a small wage rise and went back to work, only then did someone work out that they would never make up the money they lost from being on strike. Even the wage rise wouldn't make it up.

Since I heard that I have often wondered if anyone in the Trades Union movement has ever been able to work out what is good for their members. So many issues seem too politically motivated and (my limited experience of being in a trade union once confirmed this) the issues are rarely to do with the welfare of their members. If it were, they would act somewhat differently.

xelent said...

Clear example of the statist stance... Stick thy head in the sand and hope for the best...

I'm sure in centuries to come.. Our future children will be wondering what on earth were we thinking..

Present company excepted of course..

Chalcedon said...

To sum up Alitalia..........I saw the capitano wander the planes and invite the prettyest woman onto the flight deck, where she remained during landing. I also noted the quite military turning dive to the right to line up with the runway. It was always a bit of a cowboy outfit, but public sector workers in Italy are as intransigent and stupid as ours are, but without any legislation to bring then to their senses.