The most precious commodity we have is time. Not everybody gets it in equal measure, and the ending of time for each individual is indefinable. What we all do have in common though, is the pace at which that precious clock ticks.
Throughout our working lives, we trade that dear commodity for what we believe to be fair recompense for time forfeited to a business or service, and for the most part we’re happy. Ambitious to secure better, but generally happy enough. But when a business or service attempts to snatch things from us – time in particular – the bitter feeling of unfairness eats into one’s being.
And rightly so.
The checks and balances of the human condition sees that unfairness play out across politics, the workplace, sport, and a whole host of other life paths. For example, when a government gets either too spendthrift or too oppressive, the hive will vote for the other lot to regain balance and fairness. Similarly, businesses will always attempt to take back as much as they can possibly get, given an excuse such as a down-turn, and will keep pushing and cutting until the hive murmurs and awakens; opposing the feeling of unfairness when wages are cut, conditions diminished, and time is grabbed away for them.
And that’s exactly what has just happened.
The companies poked their finger that inch too far into the hive, scraping out another glob of industrial honey, and the workers bees didn’t like it. Not one bit.
I can confidently say that none of these men and women want to strike, that none of them want to forfeit another penny if they can avoid it, but the fact that they have gone on strike is telling. The UK North Sea, holistically, should look to Norway. Yes, there have been cuts and redundancies there too, but have they been as severe? The answer is no. But why is that? Are they just a much kinder type of company over there? Of course not. They’re the same companies, but they are companies bound up much tighter by a workforce less tolerant of their time being diminished through cuts and streamlining.
So for the first time in a generation the North Sea has gone on strike. Only time will tell if those pockets of stoicism ripple through the icy waters from Shetland to Norwich.
Whatever happens though, my hat is off in admiration at the collective will having reached the tipping point and staring right back at the companies; daring them to try another dip at the honey pot.
It’s been a while coming.
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