From education to employment

Workplace: A New World Order

Safaraz Ali, an employer with hundreds of staff is joined by journalist and trade unionist Tony Adams. They consider how the balance of power in the workplace has changed. Time was when unions with large numbers of members held huge power and in the minds of many too much. But now the pendulum has swung the other way with many people living with insecure jobs on short term and in some cases zero hours contracts with trade unions a shadow of what they were. Saf and Tony consider the modern landscape and what has gone before.

If some were to be believed there are no longer workers and bosses as everyone is now a colleague. The days when the bosses often occupied a different floor with their private offices, Personal Assistants or Secretaries and took lunch in their own dining room are the stuff of history. At one time it seemed that aspects of Government were determined over beer and sandwiches between Ministers and Trade Union leaders. Not so anymore.

But have things really changed that much and behind the veneer of the ‘democratised’ workplace? Saf and Tony wonder if ‘us and them’ is in a different way as real as it always has been but with the balance of power now firmly with the bosses. The power of trade unions has been hugely diminished and in so many places secure and well-paid jobs have been replaced by insecurity with large numbers of people living day-to-day on short term or even zero hours contracts.

For some the new world is welcome and provides for greater flexibility but this is not the case for others who look back with envy at their parents and grandparents who may well have had a job for life, something that has almost entirely disappeared from the world of work.

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