Timesizing® Associates - Homepage

Timesizing News, December 16-31, 2001
[Commentary] ©2001-2002 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Sq, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080

12/31/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -

12/29/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
  1. Unemployed rediscovering value of work-life balance, by Virginia Galt, Dec 28 2001 Workplace Reporter, B1, via Anders Hayden via Shorter Work Time E-list (email swt-digest-request@swt.org with 'subscribe' as subject & message).
    TORONTO - Second of 2-part series -...With the national unemployment rate now at 7.5%, many Canadians are just grateful for steady work, [a] feeling [that] seems to have intensified since 9/11, which pushed the North American economy into a more pronounced slowdown, federal officials report.
    Indeed, thousands of employees have voluntarily reduced their hours under a federal [Canadian] work-sharing program that averts layoffs by spreading the available work around.
    [Bingo - timesizing, not downsizing.]
    This means a financial hit but, since 9/11, more than 13,000 Canadians in roughly 650 workplaces have decided the sacrifice is worth it, says Mike Walsh, chief of the work-share program administered by Human Resources Development Canada. The program, born of the 1980s recession, is a short-term measure designed to help employers contain costs and preserve jobs in tough times, Mr. Walsh says.
    ["Short term" and it started in the 80s? - don't think so. Hey, Japanese Labor Minister Chikara Sakaguchi should be visiting Canada instead of Germany to study work sharing programs (see story yesterday, 12/28/2001 below). Besides, Canada's a lot shorter flight time from Japan - less opportunity for "shoe bombers" etc.]
    Supplemental payments from the unemployment insurance fund partly compensate employees for lost wages.
    [Shades of Fred Best's book, "Reducing Workweeks to Prevent Layoffs - The economic and social impacts of unemployment insurance-supported work sharing" (Temple U: Philadelphia, 1988). This sounds like the program initiated in Massachusetts in the 1980s by the Dukakis administration. See "Tough times for hotel workers - {Gov. Jane} Swift pushing wage share program," on 10/23/2001 #2.]
    And, for some participants, the benefits go well beyond saving jobs. ...There has been a steady shift over the past decade toward free agency and short-term employment..says Martin Parker, managing director of the branch that places "just-in-time executives" [at] Caldwell Partners of Toronto, an executive search firm..\.. As is usually the case during economic downturns, companies are reluctant to beef up permanent staff levels. But there is increased demand for temporary and contract employees - including a market for temps at the top, according to Caldwell Partners.... While demand for traditional headhunting services is depressed, Caldwell's interim executive business is way up, says Martin Parker.... These contract executives go in, do a job and move on - and now account for about 10% of management ranks in Canada, Mr. Parker says. Companies often need restructuring specialists or project managers, for example, on a short-term basis. And because of the recent "tech wreck" and changing labour market trends, there is no shortage of available talent....
    Outplacement counsellor Marge Watters, of Toronto-based Knebel Watters & Associates, says employee expectations have changed. No one expects a job for life. Still, she says, it comes as an awful shock to most people when they are pulled aside and told their skills are no longer needed....
    [But as the new culture spreads - of 'sharing the pain' by sharing the vanishing work = timesizing, not downsizing - that shock will gradually become a thing of the past.]

  2. France's Fabius says economy ready for a recovery, Reuters 05:36 12-28-2001 via AOLNews.
    PARIS...- French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday the country's economy was poised for a recovery after a tough winter....
    [Indeed they are. All they have to do is gradually relengthen their 35-hour workweek - or be prepared to see more of their 9% unemployed vacuumed back into the job market, simply by market forces.]
    "France is resisting better than others...
    [...primarily because of the 35-hour workweek's ability to spread the work and the active spending power - not even the French themselves realize how profound, central and powerful a solution this is...]
    ...but we're not outside the general movement and that explains this development," he said, adding that he did not expect France to fall into recession....
    [...unless the premature ceding of nation-specific monetary policy to the European Union via the new common currency (the euro) interferes with France's long-term timesizing solution via workweek reduction. No matter what gains we make by sharing the vanishing work, stupid enough monetary and population policies can vitiate those gains. That's why our Timesizing program starts by plugging the leaks in monetary policy by giving e.g. interest-rate setting to public referendum in Phase One, and by giving the population variables (imports, immigrants, births) to public referendum in Phase Five.]

  3. LEAD: Nov. jobless rate sets record for 3rd month at 5.5%, by Rieko Saito, Kyodo News 12/28 via AP via AOLNews.
    Japan's unemployment rate climbed to 5.5% in November, setting a record high for the third consecutive month, with job losses by middle-aged, full-time male workers showing a marked increase, the government said Friday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate followed rates of 5.4% in October, 5.3% in September and 5.0% in both August and July.
    "Employment has deteriorated for the third month in a row. It is in a very severe situation," Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi said at a press conference. The government will seek swift and effective implementation-stimulus steps, for which it allocated fiscal spending under the first extra budget for the current fiscal year, and will push for proposed work-sharing systems, he said....

  4. LDP to set up task force to study work-sharing, Kyodo News via AP-NY-12-28-01 0412EST via AOLNews.
    TOKYO...- The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has decided to set up a task force [or "panel"] to consider promoting work-sharing as a way to help the nation's deteriorating employment situation, party lawmakers said Friday. The task force will start its talks early next year so that it will be able to come out with concrete policy proposals by May, they said.
    Work-sharing is a system where a number of workers share a job [they mean "a project"] by shortening their working hours so as to maintain employment and create new job opportunities for those without jobs.
    The LDP panel will study how to promote work-sharing and secure employment for aged workers, while it is also expected to consider expansion of the application range of social insurance for part-time and dispatched temporary workers, they said.
    [Too much detail too soon. Age should not come into it at all, only ability and trainability. Part-time comes into it only as in terms of removing the legal rigidities that separate "part time" from "full time" and thereby rigidify the definition of "full time" at some arbitrary level, such as health insurance only being available to employees who work at least 40 hours a week. To implement work sharing, all benefits must become proratable. And as the strong bargaining-power-depressing function of labor surplus is removed by work sharing, restored bargaining power will negotiate benefits back up.]
    In a bid to cap the corporate burden of social insurance premium payments, the task force will discuss how a company should shoulder the payments in accordance with each worker's employment system, such as their work hours.
    [Ohoh, sounds like they're making this a lot more complicated than it is - as if each worker has a different employment system, but then why would each worker have different work hours.... At least they're starting to speak about this and hopefully work out the bugs in their language around it. There are concepts that need to be disentangled from each other and clarified, for example, like the fact that you can cut the workweek and maintain hourly wages but not maintain pay, or cut the workweek and maintain pay but raise hourly wages.]
    while the government, the Japan Federation of Employers' Assocs. (Nikkeiren) and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) have already established a council [or "forum"] to study the idea of work-sharing, the LDP [panel] has decided to support the three-way forum after the jobless rate for November hit a record 5.5%, the [party] lawmakers said. The panel plans to exchange views not only with Rengo and other labor unions but also with Nikkeiren and specialists on labor issues, they said.
    [They won't get much help on work sharing from "specialists" on labor issues, because work sharing has been probably the single most neglected, and slandered, labor area over the last 60-70 years, thanks to Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt's failure to understand it and his consequent, internationally influential, propaganda campaign against it.]
    A senior LDP politician said, "Work sharing is likely to change conventional employment practices, and introduction of the system will be the first step for structural reform in the labor market."
    [Very true, but it will also reform all other markets in varying degrees. The focuses of the LDP party task force aka forum, and also the three-way forum aka council n their consideration of work sharing, should be on -
    1. First, flexibility. It was inflexibility that helped kill the Black 30-hour bill in 1933, and it is inflexibility that is making it rough for the 35-hour workweek in France today. There's no reason the system shouldn't have a "money-back guarantee" in the sense that the motion of the workweek can be bidirectional, not just down. And if by some miracle it does up too much, the remedy is obvious - automate more!
    2. Second, enforcement. It was lack of enforcement and perverse/reverse enforcment that undermined the 40-hour workweek starting during World War II. Enforcement doesn't have to be absolute. You only have to stop those with inflationary (monetary) motivation, not those with deflationary (qualitative) motivation. How to separate the gold diggers from the job lovers? Simple. Require reinvestment of overtime earnings. Those who love their jobs (deflationary) won't mind working overtime and reinvesting in training and hiring. Those who just do their jobs for the money will mind and won't work overtime, thus freeing up the work for ambitious inferiors and ultimately, the under- and un-employed. How to do that? In the private sector you can do it with a confiscatory tax on overtime earnings coupled with a complete exemption for overtime-targeted reinvestment in training and hiring. First you apply it to corporations, then to individuals.
    3. This brings up a third focus and behind it, a fourth. Training, training, training, continuous training - targeted by overtime or overwork.
    4. The hidden focus is - design the system to solve its own problems. Is the bunching up of work on a few people (overtime/overwork) a problem? Design it to the be the trigger and targeter and pacer and funder of overtime-obviating training.
    5. Fifth, no arbitrariness. The level of the workweek in a corporation or in a given political constituency, whatever the level, should be linked to e.g., corporate revenues or constituent unemployment, and not set by "experts" or any other process of guessing, dreaming or wishing. For example, economy-wide, if unemployment is too high or rises, the workweek SLOWLY goes down. Define "slowly"? Define it by asking the participants. Give them a multiple choice of reasonable answers. Do a referendum on this on a regular basis. This applies just as much on a corporate level as in a city, prefecture or national government. In 1983, Mitch Kapor as CEO of Lotus held a vote in the cafeteria in East Cambridge on whether to call the successor to 1-2-3 "Beacon" or "Symphony." Symphony won by a considerable margin. Don't just ask your citizens more. Ask your employees more.]

12/28/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
12/27/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
  1. Nikkeiren proposes work sharing, wage cuts, Kyodo News via AP-NY-12-26-01 1203EST via AOLNews.
    TOKYO...- The Japan Federation of Emloyers' Assocs. (Nikkeiren) plans to urge Japanese companies to propose work sharing as part of 2002 spring wage negotiations with labor unions in order to maintain employment levels,
    [and level of consumer markets]
    according to a final draft Nikkeiren guideline for the 2002 spring wage negotiations. According to a copy of a draft obtained by Kyodo News, Nikkeiren suggests that employees will face wage cuts, saying it is necessary to review or suspend mandatory regular pay raises if businesses adopt a work-sharing system.
    ["Mandatory regular pay raises" - sounds like mandatory inflation. There should never be mandatory regular pay raises anyway. And the lack of such a phenomenon does not equate to wage cuts.]
    It is the first time for the business body, which will merge with the Federation of Economic Organizations next May, to propose the introduction of work sharing in such a detailed manner.
    [Hope there are details we haven't seen so far, because nothing we've seen so far in this article constitutes proposing the introduction of work sharing in a detailed manner. The Timesizing program is closer to a detailed proposal. Nevertheless, if the Japanese get going with this, the world is in for some much faster, solider progress -]
    Work sharing is a system where a number of workers share a job and shorten their working hours so as to maintain employment and to create job opportunities for the unemployed.
    [Ah, we sense the crumbling of the moronic case against the slandered, misrepresented and misnamed "lump of labor fallacy."]
    Nikkeiren has been talking with the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, Japan's largest union body, since October over work sharing, but they are still divided over the issue.
    [The unions can relax about wage levels if once they obtain a flexible, market-oriented work sharing system such as Timesizing, because by suctioning the labor surplus into the job market, work sharing harnesses market forces to maintain and raise wage levels much more flexibly and efficiently and irresistably than any government-mandated wage manipulations. That is one of its major purposes - to centrifuge spending power out of the unspendably huge concentrations it has pooled into - to the detriment of the overall economy.]
    The Nikkeiren draft guideline makes it clear that wage hikes will not be on the spring negotiation agenda, saying, "We are not in a situation where we could discuss which to choose, a wage hike or employment."
    [No big deal. Japan is currently experiencing a general deflation, which is equivalent to a general wage hike for everyone anyway.]
    "We should negotiate how to maintain employment by checking overall labor costs," it notes, adding, "it is necessary to review or suspend regular wage hikes."
    [Let employers mumble in any way that comforts them. Work sharing centrifuges income, from overpaid employers where it has been concentrating as well as from overpaid employees, such as sports figures, where it has been concentrating - anywhere it has concentrated in unspendable excess.]
    "We need to positively consider maintaining employment by reducing overall labor costs," it says.
    The guideline also seeks deregulation of the labor market such as the liberalization of the temporary employment system, while it expresses opposition to dismissal-restriction legislation.
    [Restricting mass layoffs is good. Restricting individual firing for just cause is bad.]
    On labor-management relations, it calls for further cooperation in roder to protect employment.
    [Empty rhetoric.]
    Nikkeiren plans to adopt the guideline at its general meeting in January.

  2. Koreans decide it's time to slow down frantic pace, by Sang-Hun Choe, AP 12/26/2001, Print Edition A16, via Anders Hayden via Shorter Work Time E-list (email swt-digest-request@swt.org with 'subscribe' as subject & message).
    SEOUL - ...South Koreans call it ppalli ppalli ("hurry hurry") - doing everything quickly, from leaving planes to eating, walking and driving.... "Ppalli ppalli was the main driving engine behind the nation's rapid industrialization," said Yoo Suk-choon, a sociologist at Seoul's Yonsei University. South Korea was reduced to ashes during the 1950-53 Korean War, but has built itself into the world's 11th-largest economy.
    However, government officials and social critics blame ppalli ppalli for many ills: traffic jams, corruption, slipshod construction and the reckless expansion by corporations on borrowed money, which proved a disaster during Asia's 1997-98 financial crisis. Today, after decades of rushing, there are calls for a more leisurely lifestyle.
    The government, supported by labour groups, is pushing legislation to introduce a five-day work week. Most Koreans still work a half-day on Saturdays. "Korean workers need to live more humanely," said Park Kwang-woo, a policy co-ordinator at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the country's largest labour group....
    [In his intro to this story, Anders Hayden notes that Korea is the OECD country with the longest average annual work hours (our only annual figures don't list South Korea - see 7/08/2001 #3 - but we have weekly figures that do on our looong workweeks page and a slightly different list on 6/6/2001 #1). Anders then asks, "Given current trends, perhaps it will not be long before the U.S. surpasses Korea for this dubious distinction?"]

12/25/2001  today's Timesizing news round the world -
12/23/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
12/22/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
  1. Air Canada agrees to work sharing, reducing job cuts, Reuters 16:14 12-21-01 via AOLNews.
    TORONTO..- The Canadian Auto Workers Union said on Friday it had helped save nearly 800 jobs at Air Canada {AC.TO}, the country's largest airline, after it challenged layoffs at the airline and got it to agree to a work sharing program.... The work sharing program will cut schedules by one day a week for a period of up to 26 weeks, starting Jan. 6..\..
    [So a 4-day workweek is going to implemented at Air Canada. Wonder how it's doing at Lufthansa.]
    The union said Air Canada will now cut 427 jobs as opposed to an initial plan of slashing 1,281 positions, which was challenged by the union..\..
    [Hmm, 1281-427= 854 saved jobs. So why did they say nearly 800 instead of nearly 900?]
    Air Canada, the world's 10th largest airline, had announced plans to cut thousands of jobs in the aftermath of 9/11 that brought air travel to a halt.... "A compromise was reached that required the company to negotiate voluntary measures with the union," the union said in a statement. The union's members work in Air Canada's airport services and call centers....

  2. Canada's CBC reaches deal with striking workers, Reuters 18:20 12-21-01 via AOLNews.
    TORONTO - The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said Friday it reached a tentative agreement with some 1,600 technicians to end a strike that has played havoc with the public broadcaster's regular programming.... Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union spokesman Mike Sullivan also confirmed the deal but said he could not yet provide details on terms and conditions. The dispute centered on wages, overtime, and working conditions....
    [So overtime is again a bone of contention.]

  3. Russian parliament backs new labour laws, Reuters 04:56 12-21-01 via AOLNews.
    MOSCOW...- Russia's parliament pressed on with President Vladimir Putin's economic reform programme on Friday, giving final approval to a labour law replacing Soviet era legislation, when the state was boss. The new code adapts to post-Soviet economic reality in allowing private firms to hire and fire workers. It also seeks to boost job security, locking in workers' rights and penalizing employers over delays in paying wages.
    ...Vyacheslav Volodin of the centrist Fatherland-All Russia group told RTR state television, "Look what issues have been settled here - the length of the working day, overtime pay, defending the interests of young people, women." The new code formally provides for a 40-hour working week, enshrines the right to paid leave after six months' employment instead of 11 months, and sets 28 days as the minimum holiday entitlement....
    [So with four weeks minimum vacation, Russia is now ahead of the USA, especially if Russia enforces the 40-hour maximum.]

12/21/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
  1. Hitachi, Toshiba introduce work-sharing programs, Kyodo via AP-NY-12-19-01 1251EST via AOLNews.
    TOKYO...- Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. have introduced work-sharing programs among workers at their troubled semiconductor production plants to prevent layoffs, company sources said Wednesday.... Electrical machinery makers, hit hard by a slump in their information technology business, are under increasing pressure to cut costs to remain competitive..\.. The two firms went ahead with the work-sharing scheme without waiting for results of talks now being held among the government, the Japan Federation of Employers' Assocs. and labor unions on the issue....
    [Hey, just like Kellogg's in Dec., 1930, or Lincoln Electric in the 1950s, or Nucor Steel in the 1980s. Some companies are smart enough to "just do it" so they stop contributing to their national and our global economic death spiral.]
    Sanyo Electric Co. also plans to introduce a work-sharing scheme next spring..\..
    [Whoah, three big Japanese companies jumping into work-sharing. This may move Japan ahead of France in demonstrating the future of "work smart, not hard" - while the English-speaking economies get left in the dust of "work hard to get ahead" regardless of worksaving technology, downward pressures on pay and the unspendable concentration of spending power.]
    Work-sharing involves available work being distributed as evenly as possible among all workers, or else reducing overall work time, when production slackens to prevent layoffs....
    [In direct contravention to the ranting by Paul Samuelson and other idiot savants against the "lump of labor fallacy." Maybe you boys better just siddown and shaddap. You've cost the world economies enough jobs and balanced production-consumption over the last 100 years since you started this rant.]
    [But there is a downside also in the Hitachi implementation -]
    ...The ongoing work-sharing program is likely to last [only] until next March, the sources said \because\ Hitachi is pushing ahead with restructuring plans under which it will cut 3,100 jobs in the semiconductor division by March 31, 2002.

  2. Paris uproar over plan to scrap Saturday school, Reuters 09:27 12-20-01 via AOLNews.
    PARIS - Paris parents, teachers and priests were up in arms Thursday over a proposal to end one of those little oddities that make life in France just a bit different from elsewhere - Saturday morning school sessions. Under pressure from families demanding a full weekend free, Paris City Hall and its board of education unveiled a plan to switch the Saturday classes to Wednesday - which, in another Gallic twist, has long been a free day for primary schools.... The unusual rhythm of the French school week dates back to 1905, when the state barred all religious education from public schools but agreed to leave Wednesdays free for catechism.
    [So let's see. Here's the problem in a nutshell, with emphasis on the "nut." Sun. school is on Wed. and Wed. school is on Sat. And they can't move the Sat. errands to Sun. without busying up the weekend even more.]
    But parents have become increasingly critical of school on Saturday, saying it ruins "le weekend" - an idea once so foreign, French had to borrow an English word to describe it. This argument is heard especially in neighborhoods where people are rich enough to afford a weekend house in the country. [However,] with the work week officially shortened to 35 hours, even many parents who are not so well off now have more free time and don't see why their children shouldn't have it too..\..
    [Amen to that! The French workweek reduction has apparently narrowed a cultural difference between the rich and the rest of the population.]
    But the chorus of protests from so many different quarters made an intractable problem out of what other European countries would consider to be normal practice. [For example,] a large teachers union...considers 5 school days in a row too demanding. The staunchest opposition came from the Roman Catholic Church, fighting to save its traditional Wednesday morning catechism classes despite dwindling attendance and social trends that have changed daily life in France. ...Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger told Europe 1 radio...only 15% of pupils in state schools attended Wednesday catechism, said Saturdays should be free because two-thirds of all Paris families included single or divorced parents and children needed time to visit both parents.
    [Good point, but isn't the good Cardinal arguing on the wrong side here, or is he way ahead of his time and actually arguing for just four days of school for the kids?]
    He ruled out scheduling religious classes Wed. afternoon, which the new plan would leave free, because modern families had so many other things to do then. "There's judo, there are rhythmic dance classes, dental appointments," he explained, "all the things people can't do on Sat. because they go away for the weekend."
    [Oh those French - ya gotta love'em!]

  3. US Airways ALPA pilots applaud congressional delegation for efforts to help promote talks with US Airways management, PRNewswire 12/20/2001 12:48 EST via AOLNews.
    PITTSBURGH - ...US Airways Master Executive Council (MEC)...developed two proposals in the past three months.
    1. The first was authorized by the MEC on Sept. 17, and was designed to prevent furloughs and help the airline through the aftermath of 9/11.
      [Great, we're not just trying to prevent permanent layoffs here - we're even trying to prevent temporary furloughs!]
      After US Airways management indicated that saving all pilot jobs was possible, ALPA [the US Air unit of the Air Line Pilots Assoc.] offered pay cap reductions, a pilot-funded early retirement program and training relief.... The objective...was to provide US Airways with immediate cash to deal with the drop in passenger deamnd, prevent employee furloughs, and maintain the ability for a quick recovery when demand returned.
      [So there's the reason for preventing even furloughs - to be ready for a quick recovery.]
      The offers had the potential for saving the Company hundreds of millions of dollars....
    2. The latest proposal, delivered to management on Nov. 13, 2001, authorizes the Company to utilize additional small jets under its code [which] would be used to regain customers and enhance US Airways' competitiveness in small jet commuter markets and feed to its hubs. In exchange, the proposal provides job protections for US Airways pilots. These include furlough protections and the opportunity for furloughed US Airways mainline pilots to fly the small jets that are acquired by US Airways Express small jet operators...\..
    [Basically, US Air top executives have been pretty unresponsive to the pilots assoc. proposals. Dinosaur thinking? Petrified with fear? Who knows why people are stupid and uncommunicative.]
    Management rejected ALPA's efforts and offers for assistance after 9/11 and...refused to meet with ALPA to work out solutions.... Management...rejected the [Nov.] proposal on Nov. 21 and ALPA's open offer to enter into discussions to work out solutions. Management [mailed] 250 unscheduled furlough notices to affected pilots just before Thanksgiving, almost seven months in advance of furlough dates.
    [What are "furlough dates"? Anyway, there are further discussions on Jan. 3.]

  4. America West announces customer service enhancements at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, PRNewswire 12/20/2001 15:52 EST via AOLNews.
    [Things seem to be going a little more smoothly at America West, although this may only be an illusion generated by the fact that this press release comes from top execs, not pilots -]
    ...Last month, America West initiated several other services to expedite the check-in process including recalling more than 70 furloughed workers, adding additional x-ray and magnetometer machines and installing six self-service kiosks....

  5. [Mixed bag in Hawaii -]
    Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines pilots comment on merger, PRNewswire 12/20/2001 11:52 EST via AOLNews.
    HONOLULU - ...Captain Conrad Waggener, chairman of the Aloha Airlines unit of ALPA, stat[ed], "...Pilots from all three airlines [including the Aloha subsidiary, Aloha Island Air] have been furloughed as a result of the stagnated economy and the lack of travelers since 9/11. Our mutual objective is to mitigate future furloughs as well as bring all our pilots currently on furlough back as soon as possible."...
    Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's oldest and largest pilots union, representing 67,000 crewmembers at 46 airlines in the US and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at: *alpa.org .
12/20/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
12/19/2001  primitive Timesizing round the world today -
12/18/2001  today's breaking Timesizing news round the world, albeit primitive forms thereof -
Want to spread the commonsense and balance of timesizing? - Patronize the companies we feature and tell them Timesizing.com featured them for substituting hours cuts for jobcuts -
  1. Hong Kong: Airline offers unpaid leave, AP via NYT, W1.
    Hoping to weather the global airline slump, Cathay Pacific Airways announced cost-cutting measures that include a request that employees take unpaid leave for two weeks to a year. Although Cathay has had unsteady relations with workers, including pilots who are threatening industrial action ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, Hong Kong's top airline [is] trying to make it through the industry's downturn without any layoffs. Cathay [expects] to have 300-500 more flight attendants than it needs next year and 200-250 too many pilots, but executives hope to bring things in balance if enough workers take the unpaid leave.

  2. Britain: Airbus Industrie cuts jobs, by Kerry Shaw, NYT, W1.
    The European aviation giant [will] eliminate 500 jobs in Britain, and announced cost-cutting measures that would save the equivalent of 9,400 jobs in France, Germany and Spain. The CEO...Noel Forgeard, insisted that these measures did not include layoffs, but instead reduced the number of work hours per year.
    "When we get rid of overtime, or move to part-time unemployment we reduce the number of men employed," Mr. Forgeard told Bloomberg News....
    [Talk about incoherent! He means by reducing the number of manhours, they're reducing the number of FTE's or full-time job equivalents, where "full time" as given by the Deity Himself on Mt. Sinai in 1940, is, of course, always and only 40 hours a week. More coherence on this story from AP -]
    Airbus cuts 500 U.K. jobs, AP-NY-12-17-01 1402EST via AOLNews.
    TOULOUSE, France - European aircraft maker Airbus SAS...will reduce the total number of employee work hours by 20% to cope with declining demand, the company's top executive said Monday.
    [For example, a 32-hour workweek of four 8-hour days??]
    Chairman Noel Forgeard...told reporters the reduction in work hours will be structured to avoid a need for additional outright job cuts. Instead, Airbus will rely on attrition and temporary layoffs, he said. Forgeard spoke on the sidelines of a gathering to mark the first delivery of [Airbus'] A330-200 airliner to Air France....
    A spokesman for British subsidiary Airbus UK in London said separately that up to 2,000 jobs could potentially be eliminated - 18% of its work fore - unless employees agree to stop working overtime and accept other cost-cutting measures. "On the manufacturing front, we have to get our costs down.... About 2,000 jobs would be at risk if we just carried on the way we are today," spokesman Howard Berry said. The British unit produces the wings and undercarriage for Airbus airliners.
    Airbus, based in Toulouse, has some 47,000 employees, mostly in its four founding countries: Britain, France, Germany and Spain. Like Chicago-based Boeing Co., its leading competitor, Airbus has been hit by fallout from 9/11.... Airbus recently lowered the number of commercial aircraft it expects to deliver in 2002 to 300 from 375 before 9/11....

  3. Hospital reaches agreement with nurses over staffing, Australian Broadcasting 17 Dec 2001 9:00am AEDT via AOLNews.
    New England [Australia] Health says it has managed to reach an agreement with nurses to keep open the emergency department of Inverell Hospital. The nurses had earlier threatened to close it down.... The health service's CEO, Stuart Schneider, says the nurses agreed to continue to staff the emergency department on condition that the service employed local doctors over the Christmas period.... In August, four doctors practicing in the town withdrew emergency services from the hospital for four days a fortnight [= 2-wk period], saying they were overworked and exhausted....

  4. Southern California Gas Co. workers sue for 5 years of overtime pay; Suit seeks to represent an estimated 500 workers, Business Wire BW0179 DEC 17 2001 9:31 EASTERN via AOLNews.
    LOS ANGELES...- A group of Southern California Gas Co. employees filed a proposed class action lawsuit claiming that the natural gas company...ha[s] systematically required field crew workers to work 6-day weeks, but ha[s] refused to pay overtime. The suit [was] filed Dec. 13 in Calif. Superior Court [here].
    According to the suit, prior to 1996 many So Cal Gas employees who voluntarily agreed to work on Saturdays following a full, 5-day week were allowed to take a day off in the following week. Beginning in 1996, So Cal Gas changed the policy, making Saturday a required workday, but refused to pay overtime compensation....
    [and may we also infer that they refused to allow comp time?]

  5. 'Juggling' is timely work about family - All of the workers struggle to 'balance' their lives by making sacrifices.... All seem to bear the burden of a constant state of total exhaustion, by Suzanne Ryan, BG, E8.
    Re: "Juggling Work and Family" with Hedrick Smith
    On: WGBH-TV (Channel 2)
    Time: Tonight at 9
    ...Tonight's PBS documentary...is a fascinating but sad commentary about the busy, busy American lifestyle.... Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith interviews a variety of working people across the country, including a hotel doorman, a lab technician, and several attorneys - some of whom live in the Boston area.
    ..\..How did the world spin so out of control?...
    [The wrong fork in the road in 1933.]
    The documentary does offer some hope. It features companies like Hewlett-Packard and Baxter International, which offer employees options such as Obviously these policies aren't enough to alleviate the stress of the modern workplace. Still, in this 24/7 economy, it's nice work if you can get it.
12/17/2001  this weekend's breaking Timesizing news round the world -
Want to spread the commonsense and balance of timesizing? - Patronize the companies we feature and tell them Timesizing.com featured them for substituting hours cuts for jobcuts -
  1. Delta pilots to vote on work plan, AP-NY-12-16-01 1021EST via AOLNews.
    ATLANTA - Delta is asking some pilots to take a month off with reduced pay to trim costs.
    [...and presumably minimize layoffs.]
    Leaders of Delta pilots' union are scheduled to vote Wednesday on the proposal, which would pay the pilots for 55 flight hours per month [73%] instead of their usual 75. In return, the pilots would be guaranteed the month off.
    [And presumably guaranteed their regular job back at the end of the month. Sounds like a good deal, especially if they can take it across the Xmas hols when there's always too much to do, or across Jan-Feb when there's always too little and a nice getaway in Bora Bora (not to be confused with Tora Bora) would just hit the spot.]
    The plan would cut costs and ease overstaffing at the airline, spokesman Tom Donahue said Friday.
    [Overstaffing or more likely post-9/11 'underflying' on the part of the traveling public.]
    It would be offered on a monthly basis and only to pilots in overstaffed categories, he said. Delta pared its schedule by 16% after 9/11 and has furloughed 400 pilots because of weak demand. The company estimates it will lay off about 1,700 pilots.
    On the Net:
    Delta Air Lines, *delta.com
    Delta Air Lines Pilots Assoc. site, *dalpa.com

  2. The nation needs a vacation to reassess and rejuvenate, by Lisa Belkin, NYT, C6.
    [Amen to that, Lisa! America with its miserable 2-week vacations compared to Europe and Australia with their 4-6 week vacations?! And we think we're God's gift, a beacon of the future? Ha. We're more like people repealing the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 in deed, if not in law.]
    ...Rob DeRocker, an executive VP for Development Counselors International in Manhattan, will be taking a "real" vacation this year, not just because he feels he owes it to himself but also because he is realizing that it is owed to him. "Sept. 11 put things like work in a different perspective," he said. "Chances are both the world and my job will be here tomorrow, but if for some reason they aren't here tomorrow, the last thing I want is to leave with a legacy of having forsaken valuable time at home for unnecessary time at work."...
    [Rock on, DeRocker! But when we're pumping worksaving technology into the economy and cutting staff instead of trimming hours and keeping everyone employed with more free time, then we're building up such a pool of desperate jobseekers that no one wants to be the first to leave the office at night. And that means a lot of people putting in unnecessary time at work.]

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