Sunday, 1 February 2009


The Waterford Wedgewood factory in Kilbarry, Co. Waterford in Ireland, is to shut down.

Some 480 of the plant's workers were told they would lose their jobs by receiver Deloitte Ireland. According to the UK's Telegraph (as well as Sky News and others), the news was received by the workers in a text message.

Hang on. WTF?

Yup. The receiver sent a text. I wonder what it said? 'Could all those with jobs please take one step forward? Where are you going, mate?' or perhaps, 'For you, Paddy, ze work is over.' or maybe, 'Now lads, look here, dere's no point beatin' about de bush. Ye's laid off good an' proper and there's not a ting ye can do about it, like.'?

The workers have occupied the plant in protest and scuffles broke out yesterday with private security guards.

One commentator on the Sky News website put it quite nicely: "I'm disgusted and sickened to see how the workers were treated. It was such a sneaky and underhand way to treat people. The tv coverage of the security guards using such force bashing a worker's head through the toughened glass doors that the glass broke while another security guard tried to block the tv camera from showing it was sickening to watch."

The irony of smacking a redundant glass blower's head through a window is considerable.

I have been through a company receivership: many years ago, the first publishing company I ever worked for went bust. The memory of the scrubbed, shiny and self-satisfied face of the receiver poking out of his too-small collar as he smugly talked down to us all is still with me. I still have the cheque from the Royal Bank of Scotland for £0.69 in full settlement of my £800 outstanding expenses bill at the time of the closure.

But at least the bastard couldn't dismiss us all by text message. A new generation of bastards can, though. The very people that are behind the problem, that are clapping themselves on the back with $18.4 billion in bonuses as they ask for $700 billion to bail out the sector, are the people cutting off credit lines, winding up companies and clamping down on outstandings. Gulf News (700g) reports Obama's excellent reaction to the bonus news, BTW.

They have learned nothing from this and likely will learn nothing. Because the pain is being felt by other people.

I'd like to think that companies like Deloitte will be held accountable for their lack of respect and compassion. I suspect that I am being naive, but leave me to my naivete. Strangely, I take comfort from it.


Dave said...

Disgusting way to treat the staff. Even if times are tough there is no excuse for it.

And what if you didn't have a mobile phone, would there be an added message on the text.. "oh, by the way, tell your mates here that they are screwed too?"

Aren't you off the telly? said...

Very inefficient. Much better to do it by Twitter. Then you can do it in 140 characters or less..

the real nick said...

Hang on. Is it not you who goes on about the importance of embracing new information channels such as online communication etc?

So you want the PR campaigns by text and facebook but the pink slip on parchment?

alexander... said...

Yes, you cheeky bugger, I do 'go on about' new media channels. But, like all communications, you have to use the appropriate channel for the appropriate purpose.

Sacking someone by text is, as I think anyone with half a brain would agree, simply appalling.

So yes, not only parchment but at least the dignitity of a face to face meeting and then whatever else the company can do, including giving counselling, financial guidance, careers help and advice to those that would want to take it.

Jayne said...

It is appalling & absolutely disgraceful, as well as being downright bloody cowardly. Is there no decency left in the world?

rosh said...

Appalling - goddamn appalling! You've got to wonder what's becoming of some people and complete lack of judgement, thought and compassion toward fellow men.

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