Monday, 26 December 2011

Crackberrys for factory workers?

BBC News reports:

Volkswagen has agreed to stop its Blackberry servers sending emails to some of its employees when they are off-shift.

The carmaker confirmed it made the move earlier this year following complaints that staff's work and home lives were becoming blurred.

The restriction covers employees in Germany working under trade union negotiated contracts.

This move sounds like it might be sensible, and at least it wasn't imposed by the government, but I was surprised by the trade union connection.

Do VW factory workers receive emails, and Blackberrys to read them on?

Or are German office workers unionised?

I suppose a company the size of VW will have a large standing bureaucracy, and bureaucrats are naturally inclined towards unionisation, but it still surprised me.

Whatever the reason behind it, trade union involvement in any matter should be considered sinister. Behind any agreement with unions lies the threat of strike, implicit or explicit. And because it is illegal to sack striking workers, free contracts are distorted in favour of unionised labour.

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