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(en) Poland, ozzip.pl: If you do not like it, change the job [machine translation]

Date Wed, 30 Jan 2019 09:48:00 +0200

Text prepared by the Angry Workers collective from Great Britain, created by people employed in logistic centers and warehouses in London's Greenford and Park Royal districts. ---- Although the conditions of our lives are different, something connects employees around the world. In order to earn a wage that allows us to acquire means of subsistence, we must sell our own time and energy to entrepreneurs. They have money, buildings, machines and resources, we have nothing but our hands and the heads we sell. In fact, we never ask why money and other things are only on one side, and those who do the job have as much as the cat cried - or simply do not have anything. Everyone agrees and often explains that it's a matter of luck or just bad luck. "The founding father of the company had a brilliant idea" or "they had a nose for the stock exchange". In most cases, money did not appear accidentally but as a result of violence. The capital belonging to today's companies can be associated with the privatization of state assets, the work of minors in factories, the trade of opium or slave trade and their exploitation on plantations. Regardless of all this, the basic problem is that thanks to the seemingly fair exchange of labor for the wages, most of the generated wealth goes into the hands of business.

There is no such thing as honest pay

When we work on the assembly line, we execute orders or service computers, our pay does not correspond to the value of what we have created, nor is it a share in the profits of our company. This happens even if we work on a chord or get a bonus. The company acquires our time, pay our strength and ability to work for pay. The wages, however, are enough for our subsistence: food, rent, school supplies for children, etc. It is to keep us alive so that we will return to work again. Wages sometimes rise, especially if there is a shortage of employees or specific skills. They also grow thanks to workers' struggles. However, companies tend to maximize wage reduction as a rule. By doing overtime, we may be able to earn more for some time, but in general, in the long-term perspective, for 50 hours of work, we will start earning as much as 40 hours in advance. The company will try to lower the pay so that it covers only the basic costs of living - regardless of whether we work 8 or 12 hours.

The exploitation is the norm

Each company is exploiting. Why? Because it does not pay the whole of our business day. In this way, the rest goes to the hands of our boss. How does it happend? The wage covers maintenance costs, e.g. PLN 100 a day. The management forces us to work, for example, in the production of cars. During a few hours, say 3, we produce a product worth 100 PLN, the rest of the working day remains unpaid. What will remain after the payment of employees, raw materials and machines is the company's profit. It is therefore interested in extending the unpaid part of the business day. He can do it in two ways.

The easiest way to extend unpaid hours, forcing us to work longer. In the 19th century, a twelve- and 14-hour working day was the norm. It was so common that workers were dying too early and the army could not find enough recruits. More importantly, the employees themselves had enough of this and started to fight for shorter work. In this way, they reduced the length of the working day, unfortunately, twelve-hour changes again became a norm in certain industries (construction, meat processing, logistics, gastronomy, etc.).

A better way to extend unpaid work is to increase work efficiency, for example by introducing more machines. Increasing the number of machines reduces the cost of our maintenance, we can produce more cars or food. Instead of 3 hours of work, 2 hours will be enough to cover the costs of maintaining employees. Thanks to this, the company can take over products manufactured during 6, not 5 hours of work. However, this situation has three major consequences:

- the company has to spend more on machines than on employees, which ultimately limits profit;

- the company will try to reduce employment because productivity will increase;

- this will lead to unemployment resulting in lower wages, for which only basic means of subsistence will be available.

Profit achieved through unpaid work is usually re-invested. Entrepreneurs allocate money for new cars for the sale of cars, re-payment of rent and payroll. This time, employees receive wages thanks to their own unpaid work done week, month or a year earlier. There is nothing honest about it. We are paid for what we have created. The problem becomes even more serious if we look at the whole of society. The work we do not only pays for our salaries, but the entire estate of the company (buildings, raw materials, machines). It's all made by employees. We are dealing here with a cycle of exploitation:

- we have to work for them because we do not have anything;

- we do not have anything, because wages are enough for food, renting a flat, etc .;

- all things necessary for production (machines, buildings, etc.) are controlled by entrepreneurs, but they were created by employees.

Because they have products that we ourselves have created, from the moment we cross the gates of "their" plants, they can tell us what to do. They can also slow us down. If we try to take away what should be ours, that is if we question their property right, then they ask the police and the courts for help. It is our work that builds their strength.

It is said that "the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer." It does not have much to do with corruption or with greedy politicians, but it results from the simple fact that we are forced to work for a wage.

Greedy entrepreneur?

Does this situation arise from the greed of entrepreneurs? Is it their addiction to luxury and power? They certainly have a weakness for their palaces and limousines, but as managing companies they have little choice. They must increase the exploitation of their employees because they compete with other companies. You can survive on the market only by making a profit from the sale of goods. How to do it? The company does not have a big impact on the price of raw materials or rent. The main ways to reduce the production costs of a sold product and increase profit are to reduce wages and increase labor productivity by putting direct pressure on us or implementing new technology. In this way, the market forces every entrepreneur to increase the exploitation of his employees. However, there is also pressure from the employees in addition to market pressure.

Furious employees

When you look back, you can see that employees are not only victims in this game. In each country there were fights for shortening the working day. Who would like to work 12 hours a day? As a result, the managers began to force them to work harder, not longer. At that time, many employees (eg tailors, weavers, blacksmiths) began to undermine the necessity of having a boss at all. After all, they knew best how to make products. Breaking the strength of skilled workers required the owners to spend more on machines that allow the employment of unqualified workers (often women, children, immigrants). Single tools or a small workshop can work thanks to several employees who are able to imagine life without a boss. A large factory made up of a team of machines strengthened the position of the owners. Someone has to gather all these employees and coordinate their work. If the boss does not have enough strength to do it, he will always be helped by the state. The state (prisons, correctional houses, police, infrastructure) has grown with the development of large industrial companies.

Race to the bottom

Konkurencja na rynku i wzrost podatków wydawanych na coraz bardziej rozbudowana strukture panstwa zmuszaja przedsiebiorców do zwiekszania wydajnosci. Dokonuja tego dzieki wprowadzeniu nowej technologii, która ogranicza sile pracowników wykwalifikowanych. Pracownicy, którzy walcza o skrócenie pracy i polepszenie standardu zycia,zmuszaja równiez przedsiebiorców do zwiekszania nakladów na maszyny. Pracownicy pragna lepszego i latwiejszego zycia i osiagaja to, zmuszajac przedsiebiorców do inwestowania w maszyny? Czy wzrost wydajnosci nie zwieksza dostepu do tanich towarów?W dluzszej perspektywie sprawy nie wygladaja tak dobrze. Do zwiekszania wydatków na maszyny konieczny jest wzrost zysków, a do tego trzeba zwiekszac produkcje i ograniczyc zatrudnienie. Oznacza to, ze w obecnym systemie, gdzie celem produkcji jest wzrost zysku,a nie zaspokojenie potrzeb spolecznych, zwiekszenie wydajnosci ma negatywny wplyw na wiekszosc ludzi i na srodowisko naturalne.

In order to increase profits, machines are used that allow the employment of unqualified workers instead of qualified ones. This process increases unemployment. Unemployment puts pressure on employees, which means that they accept lower wages and longer working hours.

Balancing expenditure on machines is possible due to increased production. Employees are subordinate to the production line and standards. Machines do not make our lives easier, they increase our effort. The greatest profit is achieved when the machines are working round the clock. The increase in profit not only destroys our lives through work. In such realities nature is treated as a cheap resource serving the implementation of short-term goals, therefore it is rotten and polluted (plastic in water, chemistry in food, smog).

In a shorter time, plants increase production, the market is flooded with more products. Thus, competition between enterprises and between countries increases. Enterprises that do not stand up to competition, go bankrupt and dismiss employees, which also increases unemployment.

Crisis of overproduction breaks out regularly. When the supply is higher than the demand, the investments do not give the required profit. People lose their jobs or close their small businesses, which causes poverty on a massive scale. People are starving not because the goods are not enough, but because there are too many of them! We see empty homes and mountains of unsold products because the employees are too poor to buy them. We see abandoned factories, and entrepreneurs do not want to use them because they do not bring profits. Such a system is absurd - production for profit causes overproduction, which in turn causes poverty.

There is an increase in social tension. Why do the poor have to be poor when there is enough wealth around, and the factories are empty? Business and politicians have to blame someone: unemployed, single mothers, migrants, other nations, strangers. Economic crises also cause an increase in tension between countries that are trying to take over the markets and access to cheap raw materials. Often, a war breaks out as a result of the economic crisis. States create demand thanks to the development of the army. The rich are safe anyway, because the poor are fighting on the battlefields. More and more raw materials and human work are spent on reinforcement. War brings destruction, but also profits.

A crisis is a normal state of the economy in which the primary goal is to increase the profit, in which the work people have no influence on what and how they produce.

This article was published in the 7th Workers Wild West magazine. Translation: Krzysztof Król

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