Serfin’ USUK

That not-so-charming Mr O’leary of RyanAir is really fed up with all his annoying customers. They seem to think that when they fly to a different country, they should be able to take a suitcase with them!

But don’t worry, O’Leary is working hard to stop them – so far, by a variety of ruses, he has managed to get the number who check bags on his planes down from 80% to 19%. Quite an achievement and no doubt personally very rewarding for him (and his shareholders). The idea that his corporation might just exist to provide a service to people travelling abroad seems to have passed him by.

This theme of transforming human beings into mere corporate resources is now widespread in the USUK (interestingly that acronym could be pronounced ‘you suck’). Zero-hour contracts are becoming the norm for part-time workers. From Buckingham Palace to The Tate to Sports Direct.

That paragon of corporate social responsibility, Betty Windsor, requires that her part-time staff are available to work whenever she wishes and must promise not to work for anyone else. But in return they receive no guaranteed hours. They must simply be at the royal beck and call. Betty must feel that after all this silly democracy stuff, things are getting back to normal.

The major trend in the present depression is towards part-time work – it accounts for 8 million people in the UK, 37% of the work force. This growth in zero-hour contracts is only in the interest of the employers. It removes the voice of the employee as well as any rights. People have no recourse against unfair or abusive practices. They are simply like any other office resource – to  be disposed of at a moments notice.

Given that major employers have so much power, it is worth reflecting on their track record with respect to the law. JP Morgan is one of the biggest and most influential banks in the world. In the last two years alone they have been fined over $7 billion (that’s $7,000,000,000.00). And remember, because such corporations are “Too Big To Prosecute“, these are civil fines for what was criminal, fraudulent activity. In other words, if it was you or me, we would have gone to jail.

Then we have the on-going saga of phone and computer hacking. It now appears that for over a decade the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency has known about a list of 102 major UK entities which have used criminal methods against the public to their own benefit.

The list includes 22 law firms, 10 insurance companies, 8 financial service organisations and an assortment of consultancies and major celebrities. But no action has been taken. Why not?

Ordinary, working people have few rights left and must do as they are told by a criminal, dominant minority. Welcome to serfin’ USUK.

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