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More GEM

Laura Ricci • 9 February 2006

I wish to react to a "reaction to GEM article" sent by Pascal Stil on 31 December 2005.

I myself used to work for that "electronical sweatshop" (why the hell [do] some people call it like that, Mister Stil?) last year, and without knowing the author of the 1st article, I recognised the appalling working conditions he described.

Indeed, despite the company's "gadgets", such as the nice colours and shapes of the seats and walls, the "values" on the mouse-mat (Customer focus, Recognition, Integrity, Fun), you'll get quickly that you're just a pawn to the management, a machine they want to program to make as much money as possible.

On your contract - if you ever get one - you'll see your tasks aren't really described.

You have to be "FLEXIBLE".

That's to say they can move you from a section to another whenever they like it, from one day to another.

You'll read also that your wages are low, that you won't get any sick pay, that the over-time work is paid at the basic rate, that your breaks aren't paid.

You have to be PRODUCTIVE.

Then, on the ground, you will get poor training, actually your co-workers are going to train you. And you'll receive your "stats" every day, your quality scores every week. You feel you have to improvise but also back to school.

Quickly you will also seize the hierarchy comedy, some team leaders are buddy-like, others are authoritarian, but all of them are always watching you and putting pressure.

Concerning your job itself, it's only marketing stuff - sell what people don't need.

If you don't ask some questions like "Do you want to receive future offers," ooops "Do you want to benefit from our free information service?", you'll get a 0% and no bonus.

You have to be COMPETITIVE.

Wearing constantly your headset, you are part of that system which divides and intensifies work, makes the working conditions insecure makes things be blurred. Yes, Mr Stil (future manager?), you can get sacked anytime, like Morten I know several people who didn't know their rights and "disappeared" suddenly, dumped like shit.

You're not happy?

But the management is listening to you!

Every Monday, you can attend the lunch with the big boss himself, and put forward issues like, the sun keeping you from reading what's on your screen. Be sure he'll take notes.

You also meet regularly your team leader, such a nice and polite watch-dog, who kindly asks: "What can we do to make you happier?" (!)

Lastly you can go and talk to your representatives who have just been elected at the Employee Consultative Body, which as its name means, will be consulted (once a year?) but won't be able to negotiate.

You have TO SHUT UP and SMILE.

You have to PRETEND.

What if you don't? What if you try to talk with your co-workers and to organise the place?

Then you're a disturbing employee, a trouble-maker, a "bad" element. That's why your emails are controlled, and you're told off if you criticised publicly the company.

Eventually they try to get rid of you as quick and discreet as possible, but if they feel you know your rights (you're such a bad element!), they make an effort: they wait until you're tired to work there, by the way, they'll help you be tired.

You really have to shut up.

And the end, they're relieved you're leaving, actually so are you, because you've got some dignity!

But you also feel unhappy that that sad comedy goes on, treating badly other people, taking the piss out of our ancestors who died for our rights.

The problem is that most of the workers, oh sorry, the "agents" want to leave and therefore don't want to get involved in anything to defend their rights.

And they seem to ignore we're still part of the working class. Economic lobbies, politicians and mass media did a good job, but the struggle is not over, we are not so stupid, we just need to wake up.





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