RE: 40-hour weeks (was Re: FWD: Lack...)

Subject: RE: 40-hour weeks (was Re: FWD: Lack...)
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: 'Cassandra Greer' <cassandra -at- greer -dot- de>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2007 14:41:34 -0400

Cassandra Greer wrote:
> That being said I did a contract in online services for a large dinosaur
> car maker based in Munich where the employees worked 38 hr week, strictly
> no overtime allowed unless it was compensated with time off within 3
> months or so (to the chagrin of the employees). The project I was involved
> in was supposed to only last 3 months but in the end it lasted 8 months
> because on any given day one third of any of the people required to get
> anything done were off. And they would sometimes have to take off time
> without warning. The project leader _twice_ had to take off a whole month
> during this because of the overtime he had accumulated. This is so far has
> been my least favorite project.

And in the following paragraph, you imply that this is at least partly
driven by German labo[u]r norms.

Hmm. It wasn't an automaker, but we had a series of projects for a
consortium led by a German company, and we did some hard pushing to reach
our contracted milestones on several occasions... only to have the driving
customer appear to suddenly lose interest/urgency for weeks and weeks.

Then they'd come back with revised schedules and renewed urgency, and we'd
be bending over backwards again to fit their demands (big money customer...
you know how that works) into our ongoing projects... and then, without
warning, sudden aimlessness would set in again.

Key people would suddenly become unavailable, not just to us, but to others
in the customer company, for weeks at a stretch.

That pattern is nicely explained by the dynamic that you describe above.

Labo[u]r laws, huh?

Never mind that the lowliest broom-pusher there starts of with a basic six
weeks of vacation... yoiks!


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