Tag Archives: Asda

Why won’t people work for nothing?

Carl Cooper, 26, owns his own business – Car Smart UK in Canterbury, and had what must have seemed at the time to be a very bright idea.

It’s a real problem for a small business. You got a good idea, there’s a demand for it, you put in a lot of hours building up your business, but there are only so many hours in the day, you cannot be two places at once, you can’t talk on the phone to two different car dealerships simultaneously, you need more people. But the moment you bring new people in, the whole situation changes.

One big problem which does not occur to many people in Carl Cooper’s situation: you can be very good at running your own business but an absolutely terrible manager. But the cashflow problem is something you just can’t ignore.

Even if you just pay your new employee minimum wage, they’ve got to bring the company – that is, you! – a minimum of £4000 each quarter (allowing for 25% over the cost of their wages) just to break even. The chances are that even if you advertise for someone who can “hit the ground running”, an employee’s first few weeks will not be their most productive – they’re learning the job, learning what you expect of them. But you still need to pay them. Then if they’re telesales workers, you’ve got to rent more office space, buy the desks, get phones and phone lines and computers and all – huge expense, and their wages are really just the last straw, because you’ve got to pay them that whether they’re any good or not….

Imagine a little light-bulb coming on over Carl Cooper’s head. Continue reading

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Filed under Annoying Phone Calls, Benefits, Supermarkets

Resist the supermarkets

When supermarkets come to town, they wreck local businesses, set up a flow of money out of the community, increase traffic, and generally act like bullies who think they’re too big to fall. They make use of workfare labourers to save themselves hiring temp workers in rush periods, they override planning permission, and once they’ve shut down all the local “competition”, you can’t even boycott them, because where else can you shop?

When was the last time you read something really radical in the Guardian?

What is to be done? Oddly enough, perhaps one mad answer lies in the other Tesco-related story of the week. Just possibly – and obviously entirely unwittingly – shoplifting chef Antony Worrall Thompson has suggested an act of civil disobedience. If a critical mass of shoppers were to decide to do a Wozza for moral reasons, then the robotic scanners would become less economically viable than human checkout workers. Pilfering from Tesco would become a political act. – Marina Hyde in the Guardian

*sings* You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Because: You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends, they may think it’s a movement.

Except in honour of the man who inspired it all perhaps it ought to be You can get anything you want at AWT’s Restaurant.

After all, since Tesco had approved Bob Robbins, head of Tesco’s UK stores, making £47,450 by selling Tesco shares when he had insider information that their value was going to drop, you’d have to steal an awful lot of cheap cheese to even approach the kind of shady dealing that Tesco’s chief executive, Philip Clarke, says was just fine: Robbins sold 50,000 shares for £202,250 just 3 days before they dropped so substantially in value, for “necessary family expenditure”, and haven’t we all had Christmases like that?

Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer:

It’s probably not a good idea to break the law and helping yourself to items from Tesco’s deli counter isn’t to be recommended. But when the chief operating officer sells his shares eight days before last week’s profits warning, netting himself £200,000, isn’t that a bit obvious and offensive too? The company has defended Bob Robbins’s actions. Of course. But there are some who say pocketing £200,000 is a greater offence than taking a tub of reduced-for-quick-sale coleslaw. That Phil Clarke’s multimillion pound bonus somewhat overshadows the price of a packet of cheese.

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Slave labour is inefficient

One of the most consistent complaints that slave overseers make about their unpaid labourers is that they are lazy and inefficient workers. This is usually put down to a failing in the character of the slave. Sometimes it is argued that if the business making use of the slaves is itself efficient and well-run, the slave labour will be efficient and profitable. Specific examples of this argument have been refuted.

Workfare is not (yet) slave labour. Chris Grayling is right to argue that if someone has been on the dole for 12 months, then it can only help to have 8 weeks of work experience.

The scheme is designed to get young, unemployed people into the workplace for up to eight weeks of work experience. One of the young people you interview says: “I was basically doing what a normal member of staff does”, but the placements are not long enough to be a replacement for permanent staff. However, they are long enough for a jobseeker to impress an employer and, at the very least, to leave with a good reference and some practical experience.

Grayling goes on to adjure “let’s not be snobbish about this – plenty of people have started on the bottom rung and climbed their way to the top”.
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Filed under Equality, Poverty, Tuition fees