Thursday, July 28, 2005

use it or loose it

Although I have waxed lyrical about the joys of doing lunch,, this is a whole different kind of rant on the wonders of the midday repast. One of the mooted industrial relations reforms our draconian government is musing involves cashing in a lunchbreak for more pay or a shorter working day. It is clear Mr Costello hasn’t actually talked to many people in paid employment beyond his lofty tower.

One place that the reforms won’t even tickle is those who are part of the phenomena known as the overemployed. You see them scurrying through the city every day. Exhausted, white collar workers for whom the mechanisms of IR have long gone. Perhaps I shouldn’t show too much sympathy for them, after all some may say greed is the underlying motivation to not take lunch breaks and to stay at work until the cleaners arrive. However these days where there is no job security and much work at the middle to top level is already done on contract, the culture of appearing to be a workaholic is de rigueur. As for being paid more for the sacrifice of good nutrition and a happy digestive system, you must be joking. The corporations just smile a little wider and plan the next round of redundancies, after all if they can work this hard, can’t they work a little harder?

The realm where the protection of workers rights is most important is those on the bottom of the ladder – especially manual, unskilled work where you mightn’t need to be a brain surgeon to work but a slip up can be equally as fatal. If you have any doubts about the connection between working without a break and the increased risk of fatality, think of the trucking industry where the pressure to deliver the goods faster means almost unlimited hours behind the wheel.

So this week, and every week, celebrate lunch – whether it’s a packed lunch of vegemite sandwiches, a thermos of soup, leftovers nuked in the microwave, or out grazing on a delectable salad, sushi, a toasted focaccia on a chilly day or even, if you must, a traditional Aussie pie.

So what are you having for lunch today?


Blogger Aleks - Anarcho-Syndicalist said...

Sure a couple of more people may get hurt or killed if we reduce or get rid of lunch breaks, but this will be more than outweighed by the increase in productivity in the Australian economy!

Besides, people will only loose their lunch break if they choose to. There is no way an employer can force somebody to do this in negotiations, because the negotiations between an employer and employee are between two equal parties with equal bargaining power!

As usual, the government have got things back to front. Instead of putting a limit on what people can earn (I mean really, should people be earning 10 or 20 or 30 million dollars?) they want to reduce the minimum wage, and don't be surprised if they try to get rid of it all together.

And in this case instead of trying to ensure that for people's welfare they are required to take breaks, they want to give employers the ability to take away employees lunch breaks, because let's be realistic employers will force people to give up their lunch breaks.

11:32 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

True Aleks, Costello is voted for by individual people, not corporations and as individuals they feel as equal and powerful as he does when it comes to negotiating with an employer.

ps: Its a work from home day today so i had tempeh and salad wraps for lunch.

1:24 pm  
Blogger Jamie said...

I don't thrive in that overemployed culture! It gives me horrible stress in the pit of my stomach. Far better that I work for myself, as hard as I need to for my own goals.

And since I work at home, I usually have leftovers from the previous day's dinner for lunch. But today there are no leftovers, so I get to be creative. :-)

12:36 am  

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