NCP in UK Seen as Scrooge….


NCP in UK Seen as Scrooge….

A little post holiday cheer from our friends in the UK. The local Parking Attendant’s union is threatening to strike because they had no Christmas Party and no Christmas Bonuses. NCP is being called "Scrooge" and of course the papers are making a lot of it.

Let’s review the bidding. A person goes to NCP and gets a job and is told they will be paid a certain wage, a wage set by the Union to which they are forced to join. They do average work and are paid every week per the agreement. Christmas time comes and they expect 1) A Christmas Party and 2) a $100 Christmas Bonus.

Let’s take the party first — NCP is concerned that there will be alcohol at the party and that some of its employees might drive drunk. If that happens and there is any injury, our courts in their infinite wisdom have made the organizer of the party to blame. (After all, they pulled a gun and forced the revelers to drink to excess). NCP, having deep pockets and well aware that they would be targets of anyone involved (probably including their employees) in an incident, wisely decided to forgo the party.

This is a direct result of the "nanny state" attitude in the UK and creeping into the US.  No one is responsible for themselves. All responsibility has to be placed on someone else. If you get mauled by a tiger you have been taunting, its the Zoo’s fault. If you get hit by a drunk driver while standing in a telephone booth beside the road, its the phone company’s fault, if you fall through the skylight while burgling a building, its a combination of the landlord and the skylight manufacturer’s fault. If you get drunk, drive, and then crash into another car, it’s the combined fault of Seagrams, the owner of the bar (who is not in the city), the bartender, the waitress, the friends you were with, and of course, the manufacturer of your vehicle. Your fault? Perish the thought. You get lung cancer. This after 40 years of being told that smoking is bad for you, that it will give you lung cancer. Your doctor tells you, your kids tell you, your wife nags you, even the manufacturer of the cigarette spends billions a year telling you not to smoke. But you do anyway. Whose fault is that — Big Tobacco, the store who sold you the ciggies, probably Laureen Bacall who looked sexy with a Lucky in her mouth. But your fault — never.

We have this attitude about who takes responsibility, and the result — no corporate Christmas Parties. The very Union that places blame on everyone but its members, is part of the cause of this debacle.

But I digress…

What about the Christmas Bonus.  I used to work for a man who didn’t give bonuses. He said that people become to expect them and when they don’t get them, they turn on the company. Boy was he right. He felt that the bonus money should be paid as salary for doing a job well, not given to everyone who just shows up. Of course, once again, the Union has prevented that.  Bonuses cannot be given for doing a good job that would discriminate against the guy who show up every day and does an average job.

I was at a topping out party for a high rise in Seattle. All the construction managers were there, as were many of the workers. I was talking to the construction head who pointed out a small man across the room. "He’s my most valuable employee.  He personally brought this building in two weeks ahead of schedule. He’s my crane operator and he’s the best. I take him with me wherever I go. I just wish I could pay him more, but the union rules won’t let me."

I walked over to the crane operator standing in the corner nursing a beer. We talked about the job and he told me how much he loved it. I told him what his boss had said about his quality of work. I then noted that he would like to pay him more but couldn’t because of the union rules. That two week advance in the building opening had saved the company a quarter of a million dollars. All the bigwigs were getting bonuses, but the fellow who actually did the work got a hearty hand shake.

I’m not saying unions are bad, its just that they seem to bring us to a point of honoring mediocrity. Everything is average, all do the same work,all get the same pay, no reason to excel….Somebody set me straight here.

NCP is caught — it would probably like to give Christmas bonuses but they have become expected. They are now a part of the salary. Its not a gift, its simply another payday. They would like to give a party, but fear the liability…Where does it end.


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John Van Horn

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