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Timesizing News, July 16-31, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080


7/31/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka a glimmer of strategic hope -

7/30/2002  primitive Timesizing awareness in the news, aka a glimmer of strategic hope -
  1. [support for shorter hours -]
    Tas govt urged to release reports affecting west coast, Australian Broadcasting 07/29/2002 13:31 AEST via AOLNews.
    The [Tasmanian] State Government has been called on to release two reports affecting the future of Tasmania's west coast. The mayor of the West Coast, Darryl Gerrity, [a coast with a mayor?!?] says now the election is over, a report on the Mt. Lyell remediation project and a study on the effects of long working hours on the lives of miners need to be released.
    Councillor Gerrity says with many West Coast towns based around mining operations, the hours worked by many miners have an effect on the whole community. "Oh look, it extends into the social and economic fabric of the West Coast," he said. "We believe that the hours that some of them are working are iniquitous - they are dangerous; it impedes safety and, of course, substantially diminishes family life."
    [Phil Hyde's motto when running for Congress against the Kennedy's was "More family time for family values."]

  2. [opposition to shorter hours -]
    Quebecor World announces second quarter results, Business Wire 07/29/2002 via AOLNews.
    MONTREAL...- Quebecor World Inc. [yester]day announced that net income for the first 6 months of 2002 increased 4% to $110m compared to the same period in 2001.... Quebecor World as the world's largest commercial printer is able to achieve efficiencies from its economies of scale....
    Our European operations, excluding France, performed well and margins year-to-date were broadly comparable to our leading margins in North America. Europe, excluding France, also increased revenues and achieved operating income similar to last year. Complex social legislation in France including the 35-hour work week that resulted in increased labor costs, is inhibiting our ability to redress this situation as quickly as we did in North and Latin American platforms in the context of difficult market conditions.
    [Hey, if you require market-shrinking long hours, nobody's forcing you to do business in France.]
    Our French operations have historically been profitable and as such French law precludes restructuring [ie: mass layoffs]. However with some facilities now reporting negative earnings, the Company is developing an action plan that is expected to result in further cost containment measures in France, including the regrouping of certain production facilities and discontinuing the operation of certain non-competitive technologies....
    [OK then, get on with it and quit yer bellyachin'!]
    CONTACT:
    Quebecor World Inc.
    Jeremy Roberts, 514-877-5118
    800-567-7070
    or
    Tony Ross, 514-877-5317
    800-567-7070

7/28-29/2002  primitive Timesizing awareness in the news, aka a glimmer of strategic hope - 7/27/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Broke Solomons plans mass civil service sackings, by Johnson Honimae, Reuters 07/26/02 04:26 ET via AOLNews.
    HONIARA...- The Solomon Islands is considering a plan to sack about 1,300 civil servants it is too broke to pay as the crime-infested South Pacific nation teeters on the brink of anarchy, a government report said.... Other options in the taskforce report include an across-the-board payroll cut of 40% and imposing a 3-day workweek on all public servants with the exception of those in essential services....
    [Sounds like the best plan if they don't want to totally trash their tiny economy.]

  2. Student trades pigs for tuition, by Scott Charton, AP 07/26/02 08:26 EDT via AOLNews.
    ST. CHARLES, MO. - With hogs bringing [only] 40 cents a pound on a good day, Gina Kientzy fretted that her family's farm income would slump so much that she couldn't afford to continue college. But because of an innovative bartering idea at Lindenwood University - trading hogs for tuition - Kientzy graduated with a degree in business administration. The hogs were butchered at a USDA-approved processing plant in Troy, becoming bacon, sausage and pork steaks for Lindenwood's cafeteria....
    Tuition covering two semesters usually runs $11,200. But in exchange for hogs worth $3,200, the school will waive the balance of the tuition.... Room and board runs an additional $5,600 per school year. But in exchange for 10 hours of work each week at various campus jobs, which the university says is worth $1,800, plus cash payments of $1,800, the remaining $2,000 for room and board is waived....
    [Now there's a college that's realistic and will probably survive in the depression. This story is more a propos of part-time rather than timesizing, but who could resist a headline like this?]

7/26/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope - nothing in this weekend's news so we dig into the barrel of late arrivals - 7/25/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Cameco restarts Rabbit Lake operation, Business Wire 07/24/2002 12:33 Eastern via AOLNews.
    SASKATOON, Saskatchewan...- Cameco Corp. (NYSE:CCJ; TSX:CCO)...the world's largest uranium supplier..\..is pleased to announce the restart of mining at its Rabbit Lake uranium operation in northern Saskatchewan.... To ensure the return of its skilled workforce, Cameco implemented a comprehensive support program for employees impacted by the shutdown. This included job sharing, transfers to other operations and a supplemental income program to support those who were laid off. "We are pleased to report that nearly all of the 120 employees affected by the shutdown have chosen to return"..\..said Bernard Michel, Cameco's chair and CEO....
    [Estimating that each of the 3 methods accounted for about one third of the 120 employees, the primitive timesizing method of job sharing here saved 120/3= 40 jobs.]
    Contact [for] media inquiries: Jamie McIntyre, 306-956-6337 [or check Cameco's] website: *www.cameco.com

  2. ACTU vows to press on with working hours limit, Australian Broadcasting 07/24/2002 18:53 AEST via AOLNews.
    The ACTU [Australian Confederated Trade Union?] is pressing ahead with its campaign to limit unreasonable working hours, after yesterday's Industrial Relations Commission [IRC] decision giving workers the right to refuse overtime. The ACTU is holding forums with union leaders around the country, to develop claims for upcoming enterprise bargaining negotiations.
    ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says the latest round of jobcuts in the Commonwealth Bank highlights the need to limit unreasonable overtime. "There [are] well over 20,000 full-time jobs being worked in excessive overtime that's being currently worked in the finance sector," he said. "And I expect that there'll be more and more campaigns in the banks to try and deal with the excessive hours of work that have come from all this downsizing."
    [As if all overtime isn't excessive - that's its whole point! And on the same day, the Aussie farmers' federation chirps up to reinforce this regressive IRC decision, as if they've never heard of annualization -]
    NFF claims overtime ruling fair, Australian Broadcasting 07/24/2002 10:15 AEST via AOLNews.
    The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) believes a ruling giving employees the right to refuse to work excessive overtime is fair.
    [Except for the apparent loophole in defining "excessive."]
    The Australian Industrial Relations Commission made the ruling yesterday, but rejected an ACTU claim for substantial restrictions on overtime. NFF industrial committee chairman Duncan Fraser says the original claim made no allowance for the agriculture industry....
    [So maybe it was the fault of the ACTU for not building in an annualization option for seasonal industries like agriculture. Unnecessary rigidity will always hold up progress.]

7/24/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope - 7/23/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Gov't, Keidanren, Rengo agree on promoting work sharing, Kyodo 07/22/02 03:03 EDT via AOLNews.
    TOKYO... - Representatives of the government, corporate executives and labor unions agreed Monday that work sharing should be promoted in Japan in the medium and long term.... At the meeting, members of Nippon Keidanren [Japan Business Federation] said that in promoting work sharing, attention should be paid to individual circumstances surrounding companies, as some companies are suffering declining earnings due to the nation's severe economic conditions. Rengo [Japanese Trade Union Confederation] members, however, said that reducing long working hours is the most important issue..\..
    Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi and Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Nippon Keidanren, were among some 40 people who took part in [the] forum held in Tokyo to discuss work sharing and other labor issues. The participants also included Tadayoshi Kusano, general secretary of Rengo, and Isamu Myazaki, special adviser at the Daiwa Institute of Research. Myazaki serves as chairman of the government/private-sector forum on employment....
    [Japan inches ahead on work sharing and may well overtake France for world leadership in timesizing as Chirac waters down France's 35-hour workweek.]

  2. [Meanwhile, Germany stumbles along behind the two frontrunners (along with Netherlands and a few others in the race) -]
    Commerzbank cuts 900 jobs in German retail branches, Reuters 07/22/02 10:28 ET via AOLNews.
    FRANKFURT...- Germany's Commerzbank AG said on Monday it would cut 900 jobs in its domestic retail banking network after talks with the works council over introducing a four-day workweek failed. "As the works council was not prepared to move away from its conditions we are not in a position to talk about shortened working hours. That is why 900 jobs in the retail bank branch network will be cut," a Commerzbank spokesman said. ...The works council...represents employees in German companies....
    [Sometimes labor is its own worst enemy. Hey, at least they're talking about it, which is more than we can say in most of the English-speaking economies. Here's AP's version of the story -]
    Germany's Commerzbank to cut 900 jobs, AP 07/22/02 14:47 EDT via AOLNews.
    BERLIN - ...Commerzbank, Germany's 4th-largest, made the decision after talks failed between management and the employees' council about cost-saving measures, including a possible four-day working week, spokesman Dieter Schuetz said.
    [Hmm, AP filed its story 4 hours later but it has a better characterization of the works council and it names the spokesman.]
    ...Commerzbank's Q1 net profit was down 59% on the same period last year at 72m euros ($72.9m) after it wrote off loans to failing companies and investors spooked by slumping stock markets drew less on its services..\.. German banks have been hit by a slowing economy, weak financial markets and what analysts say are excessively high overheads.
    [Better not count wages in with overheads, because wages are an investment in your own markets - except, of course, for wages and perks of top executives, who generally already have more than they can spend anyway.- and throughout the world, it is this funneling of spending power into unspendable concentrations that is the problem - a problem made possible by the worldwide surplus of manhours on offer in the job market, made possible in turn by the total lack of any automatic mechanism to smoothly adjust workweeks to the ambient level of technology (and resulting un- and under-employment). The Timesizing programme is our entry in the contest to design the best mechanism for this purpose.]
    ..\..Commerzbank last year joined rivals including Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank in cutting jobs to reduce costs, saying it would shed 3,400 of its roughly 40,000 workers and close over 200 of its 930 branches. \The present cuts\ come on top of [those] 3,400 job losses....
    [And they guarantee that Commerzbank's markets will shrink further and it will "need" more jobcuts to compensate - in a self-fueling death spiral that will only reverse when both German management and labor smarten up and realize the drastic implications of inrushing work-saving technology = the whole world must move rapidly to share the vanishing human work, or continue downward and backward into a bottomless depression. Still the most gradual and market-oriented design for sharing the work, Timesizing is still freely available on this website in brief overview and on Amazon.com in longer handbook/campaign-piece form for $14.]

7/21-22/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope - nothing in this weekend's news so we dig into the barrel of late arrivals - 7/20/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Panel urges improving conditions for nonregular workers, Kyodo News 07/18/02 23:09 EDT via AOLNews.
    TOKYO, July 19 - Japan should improve working conditions for part-time and contract workers and try to bring conditions for such workers and regular employees more into line, an advisory panel to the labor ministry urged in a report released Friday. In addition, social security systems, such as pension programs, should be introduced for part-time workers, the report to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.
    [Aha, the Dutch approach. Don't reduce the definition of full-time. Just beef up the bennies for part-timers. But this runs against the same market grain as the minimum wage approach. So the Japanese are working on the other angle too -]
    The report says some kinds of differences in conditions are acceptable as [full-time] employees' job requirements are more demanding with regard to things such as job creation, transfers and overtime. In order to meet the various needs of people in the labor market, the government should help promote "full-time jobs with shorter working hours," the report said. With this, people could have a choice not only between full-time and part-time jobs, but also the option of a third way, it said....
    [Sounds like the report assigns too tight an association between "full time" and "40 hours a week." It was, after all, only an historical accident that fluctuated downward for a century and a half and has been rigidly defined only for the last 62 years. The reference to " third way," however, is interesting because it is the first association we've seen in print of this term with shorter hours, although shorter is by far the clearest, simplest and most obvious kernel of any "third way" approach.]

  2. Kia Motors union to vote on pay offer, by Samuel Len, Reuters 07/18/02 22:02 ET via AOLNews.
    SEOUL, July 19 - Unionised workers at Kia Motors Corp, South Korea's second largest automaker, said on Friday they would vote on the latest wage hike offered by management.... Record profits for employers have spurred workers at a range of South Korean carmakers to seek big pay increases. Kia's workers have been holding partial strikes since late June seeking a rise of 128,000 won ($110.40) in monthly salaries, or an increase of 12.5%, as well as a 300% performance bonus and shorter work hours....

7/19/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Family values alive and well in Europe - survey, Reuters 07/18/02 10:37 ET via AOLNews.
    A happy family life easily tops the list of personal values cherished in Europe, ahead of work, friendships, leisure or religion, while politics hardly shows up on their radar screens, according to...the European Values Survey, which has tracked personal concerns in western Europe for over two decades. [It] said 86% of [the] at least 1,000 people [surveyed] for each country polled in 1999 [nine are mentioned]..\..named "family" as an important priority in their lives. Only 8% cited politics.
    Work came in second at 54% and friendships third at 47, according to the results just published in the July-August edition of the French journal Futuribles.... Despite shorter working hours and more frequent holiday travel across Europe, leisure ranked fourth at only 37%....
    [Clearly the survey's creators were taking a narrow "recreation" view of leisure instead of realizing that, as the opposite of work, it accesses all their other categories, from family through friendships and religion to politics. So a vote for anything besides work is a vote for leisure alias free time.]
    ..\.."Work as a value has retreated markedly in Ireland, Britain, Denmark, and Sweden but gone up in Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany," [the survey] noted....
    [You have to wonder how valid a survey like this is anyway, when it's offering such "motherhood and apple pie" issues that people are going to respond with according to how they feel they should prioritize things at the moment rather than how they actually do.]

  2. Portuguese cabinet approves labour reform plan, Reuters 07/18/02 11:53 ET via AOLNews.
    LISBON...- Portugal's new centre-right government, worried rigid labour laws hamper firms' flexibility and result in high rates of absenteeism [huh?], on Thursday approved an initial reform bill including measures sought by business [ohoh]....
    The measure would...halve the number of annual overtime hours [good] but raise the level of overtime pay [also good], and narrow the hours used to define night work [irrelevant]....

7/18/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Nucor posts 79% profit jump amid record steel production, by Clare Ansberry, Wall St Journal, B10.
    ...The world's 2nd-largest steelmaker and the first major one to release earnings since tariffs were imposed on imported steel earlier this year, said 2nd-quarter earnings jumped 79%, while sales rose 6% as it established new tonnage records for steel production and shipments.
    [This is one of our major two timesizing corporate examples in the USA and one of the few companies we recommend as stock buys.]
    Prices, which have been sliding for at least two years, are stronger than they were at the beginning of the year. The higher prices largely reflect reduced capacity [on the supply side] as opposed to greater demand. Last year, the shutdown of LTV Corp.'s two mills eliminated 8m tons of steel from the market. Moreover, imports have fallen as a result of trade cases filed over the past two years.
    Stiff trade quotas and tariffs implemented by the Bush administration this spring likewise effectively are limiting the amount of foreign steel in the U.S. market, constricting supply and thus boosting prices. Nucor said that, although Q2 prices are roughly [the same as] last year's 2nd quarter, the composite sales price per ton is 6% higher than the beginning of the year....

  2. Fitch lowers Niagara Falls, New York GOs to 'BBB'; outlook negative, Business Wire 07/17/2002 11:41 Eastern via AOLNews.
    Fitch Ratings lowers its rating on Niagara Falls, NY's $102.3m of outstanding general obligation [GO] bonds to 'BBB' from 'BBB+'.... The city tried to accommodate small tax reductions in 1999 and 2000 by freezing hiring, instituting tougher overtime rules, and asking the departments for 10% budget cuts.... The city's 2002 budget is austere and includes layoffs and a continuation of hard spending controls, but no property tax increase....
    [Overtime (OT) should either not happen at all or trigger its own phase-out via OT-targeted training and hiring. Any toughening against OT is a step in the right direction but any mass layoffs, except in liquidation, are a step in the wrong direction. How about dropping the layoffs and extending the 'hard spending controls' to (rolling back the last City Council self-salary-increase and) trimming City Hall's hours = timesizing, not downsizing. The more we downsize, the more we exacerbate the underlying problem that no one's talking about = the centripetal forces on wealth are overwhelming the centrifugal ones and 'the more concentration, the less circulation'. Mainstream economists know well this effect, but mysteriously, they never apply their 'marginal efficiency of capital' ideas to national spending and effective demand, preferring to substitute the happytalkin' hocus-pocus of 'no, concentrated wealth works just as hard as distributed wealth.' Meanwhile, their own neoclassical revolution around marginalism in the 1870s-80s established that *Will Rogers would be right-on 60 years later when he said, "Money's like manure - it's no good unless it's spread around." Timesizing does the spreading by spreading the vanishing work as a necessary first step. Why? Because spread the money first and you generate dependency, increase taxes, and compensate the debited with nothing obvious, but spread the work first and you spread self-support, save taxes, and compensate the debited with leisure aka free time, which, if they just can't deal with it, you let 'em work up to all 168 hrs/wk as long as they reinvest overwork earnings in training and hiring.]

7/17/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
  1. Teamsters, UPS reach new contract, by Leslie Miller, AP 07/16/02 10:26 EDT via AOLNews.
    Teamsters and United Parcel Service Inc. officials are shaking hands on a new 6-year contract valued at $9B that will give workers increases in wages and benefits and add...union jobs. ...For example...part-time retirees will receive health insurance for the first time as part of the new deal.... Limits on excessive overtime also were set....
    [- whatever that means. Isn't "excessive overtime" a tautology? All overtime is by definition "excessive" and should automatically trigger its own phase-out via training and hiring.]

  2. Southern Europe sizzles in summer scorcher, by Brian Williams, Reuters 07/16/02 13:04 ET via AOLNews.
    A scorching summer heatwave has swept southern Europe, sending hundreds to hospitals, thousands to the beach and some to prayer. Athenians wilted as temperatures spiked to a year high of 41C (105F) Tuesday and a blanket of heat settled over the sprawling and densely populated city.... A total of 420 firemen were tackling forest blazes in different parts of Portugal, assisted by 3 tanker planes..\.. Health authorities in Sarajevo said they might call for a cut in official working hours if the heat wave worsened, to let people stay home and cool off....
    [So that's what it takes?!]

7/16/2002  primitive Timesizing in the news, aka glimmers of strategic hope -
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