Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As a cruel Christmas present from my company, I and my closest colleagues are about to be outsourced under the most curious circumstances, which make little economical or technical sense but make a lot of sense from another viewpoint.

As you may remember for years my relatively independent company branch has been struggling through restructurings which invariably meant cutbacks. Lack of investment, above all into acquiring certain certifications which our extra-company customers increasingly demand, put us in the red, which was the justification for the latest and most brutal restructuring back in July. But we didn't give up: that exhausting job for a big customer in November put us in the breakeven zone for this year, already agreed further jobs for the same customer alone would have guaranteed profitability next year. What's more, that visit of the German-speakers I wrote about was for a review, one that at last resulted in an international certification.

However, apparently, none of that counted, and we are to be dissolved no matter what. And it all went in the most curious fashion:

  • We weren't consulted at all about our future. What's more, the manager responsible for us rebuffed any attempts by my boss for a proper talk (he wouldn't even let him into his office).
  • We were on the kill list last time around already, but those parts of the company whom management has to consult objected. So to pass it under their radar this time, the decision was tucked away in the company's 2015 business plan as a short sentence without specifics.
  • In that sentence, the new justification is that "these services are no longer necessary". This seems to be based on the fact that we did no paid intra-company jobs in the last half-year. Then again, just in the last few weeks, we were called as experts in a multi-million euros lawsuit against a supplier and I dare say we made a significant contribution tilting the balance in the company's favour.
  • But when management consulted a trade union we alerted, they again trotted out the (no longer valid) justification that we keep making big losses.
  • A few months earlier, our plans to purchase some new instruments have finally been approved. However, two weeks ago someone called the suppliers behind our backs to cancel the orders, at a point when the instruments were already delivered to the warehouse in Hungary. An email from an outraged supplier was our first definite information about our (lack of) future.

Most curiously, we got a visit from the boss of a certain limited company. It's a company that was outsourced from my (state) company some 15 years ago and is still 98% owned by it, but it's for-profit and quite autonomous. Its boss is not the typical post-1989 entrepreneur insofar as he is investing heavily into state-of-the-art equipment and expanding into foreign markets, but quite typical in severely over-charging customers, 'saving' a lot on wages and requiring bad working conditions, and apparently having a network for back-room deals (and that under changing managements and governments). The Ltd. boss claimed he has been out of the loop about management decisions for months, except
  • it was he whom the manager tasked with an audit (one without paper trail!) that was the basis of the firings in July;
  • those who were fired in July all had jobs for which the Ltd. has under-occupied men;
  • on two occasions employees of the Ltd. photographed our
equipment as if to size it up;
  • the Ltd. boss came to us with quite specific ideas about how to re-employ (part of) us and our equipment;
  • as we learnt later, the Ltd. boss visited us on the same day the top management met to finally approve the annual plan that included our dissolution.

The Ltd. boss wants us because he sees profits down the line, so he benefits. The state company could have had those profits itself and (if things go as the Ltd. boss suggested) it will now have to pay more for our services, so it doesn't benefit. Whether individual managers benefit, I don't know.

So that's how it is. So far the only official information we received (today) is that everyone is to attend a meeting on the first workday in January. If management will do it like in July, we'll be told to not return for work from the next day.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 17th, 2014 at 12:28:10 PM EST

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