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(en) Poland, ozzip.pl, Employeeinitiative: at Alexander Mann Solutions [machine translation]

Date Sat, 16 Jan 2021 11:41:01 +0200

In September 2020, the Employee Initiative Committee was established at Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) - the Polish branch of the British corporation dealing with the recruitment of employees and female employees. More than 50 people belong to OZZ IP from about 1,000 employees. ---- AMS acts as an "external HR department" for companies that decide to outsource this part of their business. It supports, among others large international corporations from the financial or trade sector. AMS employees and employees search for job vacancies for external clients, organize and conduct recruitment meetings, and prepare contracts. ---- The genesis of the commission: anti-crisis shield at AMS ---- What prompted AMS employees and employees to set up an Employee Initiative committee? As with many other new structures, these were the "anti-crisis" solutions that the government introduced to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic:

"It all started with a 20% cut in our salary as part of the anti-crisis shield. Despite the fact that our salaries and working hours have been reduced, the requirements and standards remained at the same level as before the shield. This caused dissatisfaction among many employees and employees of AMS. " - says a member of the presidium of the new company structure of our union. What's more, apart from the salary reduction, AMS staff also felt the lack of bonuses for the previous year and additional dissatisfaction was caused by the increase in responsibilities related to the reorganization carried out in the company. "In one department, despite earlier reductions in working hours, workload increased during the pandemic due to new responsibilities. In fact, people receiving 80% of their salaries were often required to perform 200% of the tasks, " adds another commission member.

In the opinion of committee members and members, attempts to signal problems with work overload to superiors did not bring results. Hence the idea to try to deal with them in an organized manner, by establishing a union structure.

Why the Employee Initiative?

"OZZ Employee Initiative is a union that has no industry restrictions. It brings together all categories of employees. Everyone is to help each other in it, no matter what their job is. It is important because at present work and employment are very flexible: one day I can work in this industry, another in a completely different one. So we didn't like the vision of a union that would only deal with one specific sector. " - this is how the members of the AMS committee explain why they decided to establish the structure of the Employee Initiative.

The second argument in favor of the Employee Initiative was how the various trade union organizations are perceived by workers and employees. "Let's be honest, Solidarnosc has the opinion of a yellow trade union, and not a structure that would actually offer help to its committees."

For many people, the argument in favor of collective management organizations was also the involvement of our union in wider social issues, such as women's rights, reproductive rights or support for women's strikes. "For me, a trade union that" interferes ", so to speak, in wider matters, improving the living conditions of all of us, although not necessarily related to the situation in a specific workplace, does the right thing. In our company, the issue of the protests related to the abortion ban was very much discussed and it was obvious to many women that this was something a trade union should also get involved in. "

The main employee problems in the HR services industry

An important problem that the new IP committee is now dealing with are the work standards: "Even before the epidemic started, there were changes in this matter. Until now, the workload ("workload") was calculated taking into account the number of arranged job interviews. Recently, "workload" counts by the number of candidates. The problem is that one candidate may undergo several interviews in the recruitment process - from one to eight. "On paper" or "in a table" this has reduced our workload, but in practice it is an increase in the norm. " - describes a problem related to standards in AMS, a member of the Employee Initiative.

In order to answer this problem, the committee sent a letter to the employer proposing to introduce an upper limit on the number of candidates that a person employed in AMS can work with at the same time.

Remote work - a new formula of work and new challenges

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak, many workplaces in the business services industry have had to face problems related to remote work. It is no different in the case of AMS. As representatives of the IP committee say, "remote work raises questions about many issues related to health and safety or workplace equipment, which seem to be unregulated. The Labor Code does not clearly define many issues related to it, so we are dealing with a "free American" . These ambiguities are used by employers who relegate responsibility and new duties related to remote work to employees: they expect to use private computers for work, purchase appropriate furniture, or organize all communication tools (internet, telephone).

Although the formula of remote work may seem beneficial for employees (apparently it is associated with less careful supervision, greater freedom as to breaks or organization of working time), it often generates additional costs. Issues such as: Internet access, telephone services or the purchase of appropriate furniture for work are often additional costs that are borne by employees and employees transferred to remote work. "What under normal circumstances is considered an obvious responsibility of the employer, in a pandemic situation and the introduction of remote work is suddenly perceived as an employee's obligation" - this is how one of the members of the IP committee at AMS sums up the problems related to remote work.

Here, the most urgent issue seems to be regulating all these issues in the form of legal changes. Representatives of the commission put it this way: "In our opinion, all these issues should be unequivocally recognized in labor law as an employer's obligation . " The Employee Initiative at AMS has not yet applied to the employer to introduce a monthly allowance to cover costs related to electricity, internet connection or the purchase of additional furniture and equipment. "But we have it in our plans."

First successes and plans for the future

Despite the fact that the commission has only been operational for a few months, it has already achieved its first successes. An example of a successful intervention is winning an additional bonus. It is awarded monthly to two people who indicate the entire team as the ones who help others the most and stand out the most. Unfortunately, key issues related to standards continue to be the subject of discussions which, so far, have not been resolved.

In the coming months, my colleagues from AMS plan to continue discussions on the standards and organization of remote work. In these activities, they intend to use the experience and knowledge developed by the Employee Initiative in recent years.

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