Archive for the 'Management' Category

21
Jul
17

The road to Grenfell

There are many routes, this is my route.

In 1938,  Liberalism was on the wane and some people thought a new direction was needed for the world. A conference was set up in Paris called The Walter Lippmann Colloquium, it’s aim was to  construct a new Liberalism as a rejection to Socialism and Laissez-Fare Liberalism. Twenty six men of like minds attended. They where reading Lippmann’s book, An Enquiry into the Principles of the Good Society. The term Neo Liberalism (free market capitalism), was first thought of by Alexander Rustow at this meeting. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism. I first learnt of it in 1973 in my GCSE History lesson, where the Socialist teacher in his hand knitted oversize jumper painted a grim picture of what was to come.

This Right wing Ideological fringe movement would be classed as obscure for many, until the arrival of Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and even then I don’t remember it being mentioned, as they would prefer it if  could be sneaked in, bit by bit, hoping its too late by the time you’ve noticed. Heath had started the attack on Unions some time before Thatcher’s arrival and her 84/85 Miners strike. The result a message to us all and a resurgence of the power of capital, over labour.

Callaghan had ditched Keynesian economics in 1976. Howe in 81 had 364 economists telling him his budget was all wrong, it was to bury Keynesian economics for ever. The removal of exchange controls meant travellers no longer had a £50 foreign travel limit. For business it was the free movement of money and investments abroad. But this also is part of the Neo Liberalism way of thinking. Small state and less regulation. Banks did well with high interest rates, but the workers didn’t, with high fuel costs and a rise in National Insurance, increases in Tobacco and Alcohol duties. It was the first Austerity budget I had known.

Personally it was the first attack on my wages. Men in suites stood around with clipboards watching people work, timing, recording. In the months that followed my prices went down. Things got Privatised Nationally. Add in the higher taxes and national insurance and a lot of us buggered off to Germany and beyond. I was on the Legoland Windsor project at the time, and it’s one of the only jobs I’ve left without finishing, such was the rush to get out. I’d realised the present order was not natural, but rather that it is new, that came from somewhere, and that it was designed by particular people with particular interests, like Alexander Rustow.  It felt like Management had secretly  been to night school and learnt a new meaner method.

It was the end of Society as we had previously known it, but they are not finished yet. Devised by people it can be undone by people, I hope.

.Com

The floatation of many company’s was another assault on the workers wages. Where does the money come from for the Shareholders dividend, and the new H&S department and the new HR department, it can only come out of the workers wages as the boss isn’t going to pay it out of his profit.

It tickles me to see Blair telling us we should stay in the single market and the Customs union for he is a Neoliberal as well. Seeing him wearing a Kippah reminded me of the string of Jewish names that are attached to this way of thinking, not forgetting the list of Billionaires, some Jewish, as it’s money that’s really in charge now.

They have a wish to remove Capitalism away from Government and a vote. Free of all constraints and controls. Free labour would be ideal, but they are settling for free movement at the moment. Anything that can be, is to be monetised.

The Wiki says:

Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism)[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, unrestricted free trade,[3] and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[11] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.

That’s where we are, if we look out of the window.

We’ve seen the effects of economic liberalism, Enron and the 2008 crash to name but two. If we look at Chile in 1980, Neoliberal  James McGill Buchanan helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982. In 1986 James Buchanan was awarded the Nobel memorial prize for economics. Mrs Thatcher had Pinochet as a personal friend.

Privatisation has seen a none stop selling off of assets, you can be riding your bike now and told you can’t, it’s private land and there are rules you follow or don’t go that way again, you might even be fined.

Fiscal Austerity has seen an ever increasing drop in all aspects of life, especially in the care given by the Government to those less off in society. The NHS wasn’t safe under Labour and it’s even less safe now, as America is waiting to own it.

If you look back to 1938 (the year my mother was born) and beyond you’ll find the property supremacist John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses. I’ve met bosses with the same mentality.

Deregulation has spread far and wide. There’s been a De Regulation for money and for control systems. Do you remember Trading Standards? did you ever read Which Cladding? obviously Kensington Council didn’t. Trading Standards could have stopped Grenfell if they hadn’t been told to let up and let the manufacturer’s check their own products. If local Councils still had their own Clerk of Works, he would have stopped Grenfell. If the local Council had sent a Fire Officer, they would have stopped Grenfell. If Grenfell had a warden, more lives would have been saved.

Un restricted free trade and free movement, the two go together.

Thatcher stopped the Better Home initiative which Grenfell would have been brought up to date in the 90’s under. Free movement saw the demise of the Industrial Process that used to insulate the blocks like Grenfell. Firstly, cheap unskilled labour was used by management to lower wages, secondly, they expected you to be happy with it, eventually all their trained workers left. Most left the Industry, never to return, hence the skills shortage across the land, and Bovis the house builders £7 million pot, put aside for snagging this year.  I haven’t stopped laughing about that. The quality the untrained could muster, you or anyone with the money wouldn’t pay for. Eventually the clients and local councils didn’t want anymore doing to that quality level and looked for something else, and picked Rain Screen as the new method.

As seven out of the ten company’s connected with the project where for the cladding side, pinning the blame will be difficult. Who would a quarter of Million pounds be a saving for, is a smaller list.

What you can’t see is the windows where moved from their original spot outwards, to aid light ingress as the cladding was at least 150mm deep. The fire proofing around the new window position will be under scrutiny along with the system makeup in the internal corners where the fire first travelled at speed vertically. You will hear much about the cavity fire stops, they survived the blaze, they are still there, they are on the floor pads in the final picture, just above the windows in an horizontal line. Where are the fire breaks in the flammable cladding, the cavity breaks stop against the back of the outer  cladding, under heat, they don’t make it to the outer edge,  can you see any in the extremely flammable cladding? no as there aren’t any. Molten Aluminium windows give us some idea of the temperatures involved. The temperatures reached in property’s is even higher than previous, with the invent of Lithium battery’s for phones and pads. Down in the right hand corner fourth square in on the second level you can see the colour of the FR5000 Insulation, which didn’t burn with the cladding, more it was turned to carbon by the flat fires that followed. If the fire hadn’t made it inside, the Insulation would still be there as the burning cladding had passed it quite quickly.

 

There is a chance more deaths on a large scale will have happened before we hear the final news on Grenfell. Is there a reason for the circle of Mosques that encircle London? imagine them as a boundary. Londonium will end there, and if your not the right colour or of the correct wealth you won’t be allowed to live there. It will be a fully privatised area of well kept lawns, homes and not a spot of litter or riffraff. In essence, it is a class war of the global rich against the rest of humanity. Its purpose is to destroy the gains made by working people since the 40’s, to increase the rate of exploitation and profit, and to redistribute wealth from labour to capital.  So they will build you a new house or block of flats but the developer will decide on the affordable figure, so none of Grenfell’s residents could afford the rent.

As James Buchanan managed to write a manifesto for Chile, then I’m going to write a manifesto for the world. I’ve tested it on a multi millionaire, it went down like a lead balloon, so I reckon with a little bit of fine tuning it will be good to go.

22
Mar
17

Productivity

Barclays Bank, The Guardian, The Times and FT.com amongst others have covered it recently, it’s even been discussed in the Houses of Parliament and on the news. Here’s a snippet from the Guardians Phillip Inman, “There are generally two ways to improve productivity. One is the purchase of better machinery. The second involves a new process, which allows a worker to increase the speed or quality of what they are doing. Quality matters as much as quantity when firms can charge more for higher-grade goods.”

Having worked in Germany there is a bigger use of tools as men are dearer than tools. Here in the UK tools are more expensive than the workers. In Construction, for the Plastering trade there has been improvements in the tools, in the quest to shrink the skills needed to get it flat. There hasn’t been a pay rise after 1979/80 and if we take account of the effects of Privatisation and .com then the money in your pocket has been under constant attack since that year. Increasing speed started in Thatcher’s years, it had too, the family needed food. Firstly the Time and Motion book was re-written and the prices shrunk, then they had privatisation to pay for, and Privatisation to suffer as it hasn’t made anything cheaper. Lately they have had cheap immigrant labour that bosses have used to drop wages across the country. In my trade ten untrained men on £30 a day with food and lodgings have been doing the work of two fully trained men, but the quality levels reached wouldn’t have been paid for years ago. When a boss looks at the spread sheet and says “you need to speed up, these immigrants are faster” get another job. Your arms can only go so fast with a wet product and you will eventually wear out joints and Tendons.

Laughing I saw the latest House builders quality issues with one company putting aside 7 million in the hope that’s enough to put right all the problems. Imagine standing in your new house and asking the representative “is it really ready” and then proceed to note all the problems you can see just from where your standing. Self auditing is partly to blame, and management. News today, workers are retiring without a pension, really, I wonder why.

Real life, Devon this week.

A team turned up on site to unload materials for the system and start the job on a Subcontract basis. The materials didn’t turn up until Tuesday, even though it said Monday on the order, so no monies earned. On Tuesday the materials turned up without a forklift, 3.8 ton of materials. It says Forklift on the sheet as EU rules say it’s too heavy for handballing. After unloading and stacking they notice one key starter item is missing to be delivered on Friday, a ranting phone call to the system suppliers brought that forwards to Wednesday, no monies earned. Wednesday 10.00am the starter track arrives and they start work. After a few hours they realise the tradesman in front is way behind as he’s running the job as well. Wednesday afternoon they release a man from their team to speed him up. As work progressed they had noticed a problem, the scaffold wasn’t suitable for their install method. Who was it designed for? the Roofers. What is the Roofer doing on a scaffold? he climbs up it and accesses the roof and often its where he stores materials, especially on the top deck. To make sure he doesn’t fall down the 100mm inner gap a handrail has been installed around the internal, which blocks access for 2.4×1.2 metre sheets, limited monies earned. Thursday spray paint the trims that will be on show for the shocked client and generally sort out the system, what goes where etc, limited monies earned, but they have materials on the wall at last. Friday a system surveyor turns up on site, he says there should be a membrane on top of the other trades work to act has a barrier, “it’s not written down in the specification, not on your web portal, how where they to know?, “take it all off, install membrane, refit, not sure why it’s not in the specification” Surveyor says he’ll make a note. No monies earned.

Friday, foul weather but it’s all systems go. The Site manager, bald as a coot, has many long scars and scabs on his head, as the scaffold height is at 5ft 9” anyone over 5ft 5” isn’t wearing a helmet, the manager is visibly about 5ft 8/9”. As the team leave the ground floor and start floor one much swearing takes place, much banging of hammers and banging of heads, they can’t get past the 100mm gap and can’t feed past the inner handrail. Limited monies earned and an extra dinner had to be consumed. Over the weekend the scaffold is going to be altered and put back up at 6ft 6”.  How long have people regularly been seen at 6ft or above, anytime after the 1950’s, I shall blame meat and protein eating, after the wars ended munch, munch.

Now where in amongst all that would faster workers have altered productivity? Are the workers not working as fast as they can? all those on a metre price especially. Plastering along with other dusty trades have just been slowed slightly by the forced clean shaven rule and a Facefit mask, to be worn at all times, the clean shaven rule is rigidly enforced, any bum fluff and your sent home.

A team roll up onto a private house on an estate to install an Insulated render system. Day one unload materials and clear garden rubbish so they can access the scaffold. They note there is no outside tap, no water, and the occupant is at work. They phone the office, can you use a standpipe they ask, yes they had sourced a fire Hydrant close by on the street, one will be delivered to site tomorrow, No monies earned and a 120 mile round trip with fuel costs. Day two, 10:00am and the standpipe is delivered. Over an hour spent opening and cleaning out the hydrant, it’s an old one and the new pipe doesn’t fit. A local controller offers to bring water from a local garage, the team laugh at him, they need a constant supply and lots of it. Would the garage be ok with this? An adapter is promised for the day after, no monies earned and more fuel costs. Day three adapter arrives, it doesn’t fit, the team go home and source their own, no monies earned and fuel costs and adapter costs added.

Day four it’s all systems go. Time to earn some money. The firm refuse to pay a previously agreed waiting time payment. Where did that project go wrong? The initial survey/management should have noticed the house had no tap, the local controller could have cleaned out the hydrant and sorted a tap before they arrived. Workers need better protection from robbing bosses. Water is still a necessity for Plastering and has been for years. It’s the first thing a Plasterer looks for, seconded by access. Often the boss might think you are 9ft high or have really long arms.

Construction has seen a marked increase in bosses who don’t know what the job is , Geography teachers, Woodwork teachers, History teachers, Opticians, and Ex Council managers to name a few.

“Oh this looks interesting, never seen it before, easy is it?”, “who are you?”, “the system Auditor”.

News this week, Suicides amongst Construction workers is at an all time high, could this be the thought of having to increase productivity, again?, I’m guessing £7:20 an hour is partly responsible along with wage theft and crowds of management with no idea, slowing up their jobs and affecting their money, having to cancel their pensions and working conditions similar to a passage from Animal Farm,  never mind all those saying they need to speed up. “Where’s the toilet”, “under the bosses arse”, “where’s that”?, “about two miles away, go down here turn left, then right, follow it on until the second right, first left, then cut through a field, you will see his office in the distance, make sure you wear your hi-vis vest and helmet, all the way”, “what, even in the field?” Willmott Dixon management wear Pink hi-vis vests, just to add to the ambience.

Productivity could be improved by running, except running whilst your bursting is a recipe for a disaster, hence the smelly carrier bags of fouled jeans left in peoples gardens on a big job in Plymouth and Bristol last year, and those odd looking fellows back at work in the wrong size Primark trousers. How about centralised toilets or mobile ones?

There was no mention of management in the Guardian or the Times, or Barclays piece on the subject.




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