Monday, June 1, 2009

Keep the job? Or move on?

One of my clients recently had to make some workplace changes, both to improve efficiency and to reflect the changing economic times. Being a small production company producing an enormous amount of live TV, the changes impacted the core of the senior producers, a group of 5 people or so. After much negotiation, the best offer that could be made by management was to have each of them work one Saturday every 5 weeks. Remuneration was taken into account, day off in lieu offered, as well as an improved bonus scheme.

But, the offer was no good. 4 out of 5 of the producers said 'no' and left management with very little choice. This came at the end of a tense and difficult time and relationships within the firm had been strained for some weeks. Left with no other choice, with negotiations at an impasse, the 4 producers all indicated that they were leaving the company....all on the same day. A bold move in current economic times, wouldn't you say? Unfortunately, to ensure survival, the firm couldn't back down, as the 'Saturday' schedule needed to be fulfilled. Surprisingly for a media company, the firm offered to engineer a 'redundancy' for the departing producers...a type of golden handshake.

Now of course, the firm is without 4 experienced producers, who resigned of their their own volition, and advertisements were posted to fill their roles. Close to 200 applicants (at last count) have applied for the positions.

But the questions remain: Given the improved remuneration, was it unreasonable for the producers to be expected to work one Saturday in 5? Was is right for the firm to engineer a redundancy for them? Is this the time to tell your employer to 'shove it' considering the economic climate? All the producers are under 30 years of age, so I guess they are employable, but expecting to pick up another gig in the TV biz any time soon might be a bit of an ask.