Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Irish Workers more committed than ever.

Thats the finding of the latest ESRI report which states that " Our workers are more committed than ever; they are more willing to accept change and to take on more responsibility...". The broad study reviewed the Irish workplace in 2009 against that of "Celtic tiger" Ireland. Irish workers are stepping up to the plate  - taking on more responsibility for less pay.
Over half of the respondents to the survey, conducted between March and June 2009, noted that there had been workplace job losses in the preceding two years and workers were feeling more nervous and under pressure. One-third of employees said that their own job security had decreased compared to only 4 per cent in the previous 2003 survey.
In both the public and private sectors the impact of the recession, and the impact of the "manual devaluation", are evident. 21 per cent of employees reported a decline in hourly pay in the previous two years. Some 37 per cent of public sector workers reported a decline in pay, compared to only 16 per cent of those in the private sector. The burden of adjustment is being borne by ordinary folks who are losing job security and seeing reduced pay conditions.
Typically in all down-sizing organisations the work frequently remains but the no. of people to do it ends up falling. The result is increased burden on the remaining staff. 54 per cent of employees reported increased pressure compared to 34 per cent in 2003. 61 per cent reported an increase in responsibility. Yet the percentage of employees who would work harder to help the organisation to succeed increased from 81 per cent to 89 per cent.
There is a tendency among the more right wing commentariat, or the loony right which cheered on deregulation and excessive credit, to constantly ask for workers to give more, to do more and to accept less.
Lurking in the background to all that commentary was the idea that ordinary Irish people had fooled around and now the bill was due. We had lost the run of ourselves, wanted too much and lost competitiveness. The report has an answer to that hoary chestnut as well:
"This deterioration in competitiveness in recent years is primarily a result of the labour market pressures exerted by the growing bubble in the property market and the building sector of the economy. However, other inefficiencies, including a lack of competition in key areas of the economy, also contributed to the problem."
Consider that in NAMA tranches 1 and 2 that loans valued at €52 billion (pre-hair-cut) were given to 100 people and its clear how tight the inner circle was behind the boom. The self same boom which force the prices up. However as the boy from Pontchartrain says "We are where we are". I personally think it will be difficult to secure appropriate financial and legal redress against these people. It may be that we are forced to instead focus on how to create the anti-corruption framework, and appropriate regulatory controls to ensure that one interest group and one political party can never again co-operate for self profit while risking the future of the state they operate in.
The commentary in the press seems to have forgotten the role of the select, well connected, few. Instead looking at the easy option of blaming the feckless ordinary worker. Well as demonstrated in the ESRI report the ordinary Irish worker is anything but feckless and is more willing to work harder than ever.
It may be countered that well all well and good to blame the developers and Fianna Fail but we need solutions now not blame. And thats a perfectly valid comment because we do need solutions. People dont want finger pointing or retribution. First of all they want to be able to pay their bills like Seamus Sherlock or avoid emigration. But there does need to be a demonstration to the markets, the god like markets*, the interests of the Irish economy are not subservient to the interests of developers or other sectional interests.
As long as Fianna Fail are in power there is every chance that the foreign lenders will doubt the ability of that party to restructure the economy back onto a trajectory of growth and subsequently may question the long term ability of sth. Ireland to repay its debts.
Those commentators in awe of the market's wisdom should now start to focus on the fact that Fianna Fail itself, and its tendency towards sectional interest, may be a factor in why sovereign funds think we are likely to default (and consider that a few days ago the ECB wanted Ireland to activate the bail out fund to see how precariously close FF have now brought us - potentially days away from a default) .
Irish workers are clearly willing to put the head down. Its time that the Irish media took note and started to focus on two other possible reasons that Ireland's bond yields are going through the roof:
(1) Fianna Fail's slash and burn approach is ripping the heart out of the economy;
(2) Fianna Fail are so entrenched with sectional interests that the market must have doubts about whether their commitment to growing the economy is not at odds with their commitment to sectional interests which they have nursed for over a decade.
ESRI: http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/jacb201045/BKMNEXT168.pdf

* which same markets are new nailing us at near to 7% interest rates. Despite RTE's spin about last weeks debt sale as successful selling debt at over 6% is as successful as buying a litre of milk for a €10. There'll be somebody to sell it to you but you still get taken for a ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment