You’re probably aware that the High Court in the United Kingdom has overturned Unite’s plans for 20 days of strikes against British Airways in the coming weeks because of a technicality. Naturally, the union has cried, “Foul!” However, between the risk of no cabin crews and the infamous Icelandic volcano, flying in and around Europe has been difficult in recent months.
It’s been awhile since I heard the phrase “the right to strike,” and it got me thinking about just how much the workplace has changed. The fact is that this mantra is out of date. Workers no longer have the right to strike. Instead they the right to work or not work, and there’s a big difference between the two. If they don’t want to work, fair enough. If they’re ladies or gentlemen, then they’ll give the appropriate notice and leave. If they don’t care, they may just quit. There’s nothing to stop them.
But, why should a company continue to “employ” people who don’t want to work? It makes no sense at all. I’d go further. I’d say that those who expect to are suffering from delusions.
There must come a point when managers simply say, “If you want to work, that’s great. But, if you choose not to, that’s also fine. However, because it’s our company, we have the right to contract those who do want to work.” It seems perfectly reasonable to me.
What do you think?
Bruce Hoag, PhD, CPsychol
Author (co-author Cary L Cooper) of Managing Value-Based Organizations