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Job Cuts Across NZ

A headline in the Herald today caught my attention. It was “Job cuts across NZ – Yellow Pages jobs head to Manila”. Naturally I was interested to see what was going on and it turns out that 144 call centre workers from Palmerston North will be made redundant as the call center is moved to the Philippines.

Bruce Cotterill, chief executive of Yellow Group, who is the scumbag responsible for this decision added insult to injury by calling the new center a “global centre of excellence”. What a pile of crap. Does this idiot really think we are taken in my those lies? Every foreign helpdesk and call center I have used has been abysmal – even worse than local equivalents in fact – and that’s not easy!

I hope most New Zealanders will join me and refuse to use this company’s services. Either they bring the workers back here or the company fails. Good luck Bruce!

But this shouldn’t be any great surprise because the workers have been on temporary contracts for 18 months now (wow, talk about treating your employees with respect). So in this case the old excuse of the global recession can’t really be used because the decision was obviously made a long time before the recession started.

But is it not the CEO’s responsibility to keep the company competitive by reducing costs where possible? If this is just a decision that had to be made why am I abusing the CEO so much?

Well in my opinion using foreign call centers is just the easy, lazy way out. These managers (and you probably know I hold managers in about as much esteem as pond scum) don’t have the brains to figure out a way to run the company properly locally so they just take the old standard formula solution and make use of cheap or near slave labour overseas.

So I don’t think these managers are really doing their job, but in another way its not their fault. We need to change the way the global commercial system works, its as simple as that. Anyone who says this isn’t possible should examine history and see what happened during the industrial revolution. While I don’t condone the work conditions it created it does show that major changes do happen.

We need to start the next revolution now – which I call the global digital automation revolution. But instead of just letting it happen we should guide the way it happens. The problem is, who is “we” in this case. Well I guess it needs to be the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries. Unfortunately they tend to be under the influence of big corporations who have a lot to lose from change.

Many years ago I read several books which talked about the next revolution. They pointed out that work (at least in the formalised form we have now) is an invention of first the agricultural and then the industrial revolution. We need to un-invent work. Obviously there will always be tasks which people have to do but there will be less every year as automation and computer technology take over. Things may seem bad now but this is just the slightest indication of what is coming.

We need to re-invent our whole commercial system to take account of the far lesser need for humans to work, and to factor in social and environmental concerns as well as simple financial returns.

No one is saying this will be easy but isn’t that what we pay these corporate leaders and politicians big money to do? Maybe they could earn that money instead of making brain-dead decisions like moving their call centers off-shore!

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