The master/servant relationship: a mediæval romance
long, detailed and, like all rare and precious New Unionism article, very much worth reading, saving, sharing and reading again.
For the readers of last pages first, the closing paragraph:
“Dear reader, it’s anybody’s guess whether the current global regime is going to wreck everything for all of us, once and for all. If we do pull through it will be because workers and their unions stepped up. If this happens I would like to suggest a final resting place for the corpse of the master-servant relationship. It’s a special place once reserved for malign spirits within the Great Chain of Being. If the ancients were correct, it’s somewhere below the inanimate objects. Underneath all the rocks, lost socks and broken toasters.”
Why do we defer from 9 to 5? The “master-servant relationship” is a feudal phantom that still haunts today’s workplaces, thanks to English common law. Peter Hall-Jones argues that it’s time to exorcise the old ghoul. The workplace democracy movement aims to do just that, but where do unions fit in? The way they respond to this agenda might well determine their relevance in the workplace of the future.
NCE upon a time there was a great chain of being. Up the top was God; down at the bottom were all the inanimate objects. Actually, somewhere beneath all this, below the rocks and lost socks and broken toasters in a kind of hidden underground lair, were the Devil and his minions. As for you and I, we were stationed at different points along the way depending upon our status. Kings were below angels; vassals below lords; apprentices below craftsmen; and wives below husbands. And there wasn’t much point…
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