Anyone who has worked on a factory floor for an extended period inevitably develops empathy for his fellow workers. Even if he makes it to the managerial level, that concern for the man working the floor is never lost.
The longer you stay on the floor the more you begin to understand what a job means to your fellow worker. For most of the guys who work on the floor the job is what they do day in day out. It is their life. It is also their life’s bread. This is how they take care of their family. They take pride in what they do. They value their jobs because this is what pays the bills each month.
These workers do not need for the accountant to tell them when sales are falling. They see the signs, even before management notices the dip in the numbers. They know that from the guys who load the trucks when things are slowing down. They know from the activity on the conveyor lines when production is falling off in response to reduced demand.
When the work slows down is when the anxieties increase. Everyone begins to worry whether he or she will be laid off or whether the company will close.
In harsh economic times, a job is like a goldmine. When there is a recession, there is always an increase in job- related stress because so many workers are worried whether the company will fold and whether they will be placed on the breadline.
This is why when the economy dips there is so much concern about the loss of jobs. In harsh economic times, the first causalities are usually the floor level workers, not the indispensable accountants and management team.
When the economy is booming those concerns about jobs losses disappear. There is greater job security. The fears go away because no one expects that once a company is making a profit that it will lay off workers.
In Guyana, the economy has been doing great. You do not therefore expect that in such circumstances, jobs are going to be cut. After all, once the employers, in this case the government, can afford to keep the workers on roll, why not. Why cut jobs when there is no need to do so.
Yet this is exactly what the opposition inspired Budget cuts have created. It has led to a situation where jobs will have to go. This is despite the fact that the economy has been growing for the past six years.
The opposition of course is not taking any responsibility. Their explanation is that they are interested in cutting super cats and not the ordinary workers. Well which world are they living in?
Once you slice up employment costs somebody is going to feel the squeeze. Once you reduce an agency to a $1 agency, then you have effectively prescribed the closure of that agency.
Reforms are needed in the state media and the only way the opposition believes that it can create those reforms is by shutting down the government information agency. There is also a need for reform in the private media, but you do not see the opposition calling for this reform. You do not hear them recommending cuts so as to create change.
The workers of Guyana, especially those who will soon be on the breadline as a result of the Budget cuts must understand the level of irresponsibility that they are dealing with. The opposition has shown no empathy for the workers. They do not understand that it is not just numbers they are dealing with. It is the lives of real individuals who are now being punished in good economic times simply because the opposition wants to exercise leverage.
If this is how the opposition hopes to exercise leverage, if cutting employment costs and forcing agencies to lay off staff is the opposition’s idea of exercising leverage, then this is as sick as it can get.
Opposition parties have to be concerned about the ordinary man. Why when the government is awash in revenue was it necessary to cut employment costs knowing very well that those cuts could not be used to force the super cats to let go.
The opposition parties are only using the small man as pawns for his vote. If they cared one iota about the small man, those cuts would have been directed elsewhere.
Behind the numbers are real individuals and a job is what keeps them alive, puts food on their table and allows them to feel that they are doing something worthwhile. When politicians forget these things, then they become irrelevant to those who elected them to maintain and create jobs, not to put workers on the breadline.
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