Overtime… July 27, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Here’s a piece from the SBP from earlier in the year, and in its own way it is very depressing. Under the headline “Employers ignoring overtime” it says:
The majority of Irish professionals are receiving nothing in return for their overtime, a survey by recruitment consultants Robert Walters has found.
A total of 600 professionals took part in the survey, and were asked how their employer recognised the overtime hours they worked.
Some 62 per cent said that they got no recognition for extra hours worked. The situation has improved mildly in comparison to last year, when 66 per cent of respondents reported no rewards for overtime.
Okay, and for those who do get ‘recognition’ how does that work?
Of those who are rewarded, 12 per cent were paid overtime while a further 13 per cent got time off in lieu. The remainder saw their extra work recognised through career progression while a tiny percentage received gifts from their employers.
‘‘The days of working nine-to-five are long gone. With the majority of Irish professionals working longer hours for no extra remuneration, employers demand more out of existing staff in a downturn, and many would expect their employees to complete their workload irrespective of standard working hours,’’ said Louise Campbell, managing director of Robert Walters Ireland.
The way this operates is on so many levels. If ‘professionals’ are expected, and expect, to work hours in excess of the norm for no extra pay, or time off in lieu, then they will doubtless expect the same of subordinates, subordinates who are paid much less handsomely than they. But what, I wonder is a professional? I was told entirely seriously some years back that people who did the work I do are ‘professionals’ and therefore don’t join unions. This by a colleague. I was completely unable to get a sense of what the work that we did was that it justified that term? Was it third-level qualifications? The person who made the assertion hadn’t been and hadn’t any. Neither had another person doing the same job. Was it the nature of the work itself? Well, the slightest acquaintance with the potential wage spread during the boom from prospective employers would indicate that one might be remunerated across a scale ranging from well below the average industrial wage to a fair bit above it. And we weren’t being paid much in excess of it IIRC, if at all.
That the statement was backed up with ‘people like us don’t join unions’ perhaps serves to suggest the person had a certain sense of class linkages to union membership. And that may well have been true. But regardless it clearly meant there was a set of expectations as to what professionals might expect that would set them aside, and perhaps implicitly above other workers. But again, quizzing this individual as to their working life both in the job and in previous jobs seemed to indicate an alignment with the range of somewhat exploitative practices listed in the SBP article. Long hours, well past 9-5, no overtime or other remuneration for extra hours worked, no clear benefit to a nebulous status.
I never received a satisfactory answer. And in fairness we all wound up joining the union. But given that people considerably better paid than we and with greater supposed ‘status’ than we had were members too that proved nothing one way or another.
Anyhow, that attitude, I think bleeds into the no over time approach as well. We’re professionals (never mind the nebulous nature of that term, and the middling or worse wages) and that means we take one for the team, again and again.
I’ve never had too much of a problem working past five (or whatever time) if something needs to be finished up. But if one is working much past five (and much itself is a loaded term) regularly and for long periods of time then the problem lies not so much in the worker as in the work that has been allocated. Either there’s too great a demand or insufficient resources in terms of personnel or equipment. And it also comes back to the fact that while I value the work I’ve done over the years in both public and private sectors that is only one part of the equation.
And it seems to me that the attitudes described in the SBP article speak of serious dislocations in the work environment, and not to the benefit of workers.