There was a revolution in our office last week. I felt like a proper suffragette, it was quite a radical thing to do given the current economic gloom! But it started very innocently, with a few secretaries in my department deciding to boycott the firm's 'celebrate-the-new-refurbishment' drink as (1) a lot of staff have recently been made redundant and (2) the secretaries are not getting bonuses this year. For the first time ever. We didn't see there was anything to celebrate given our bonus money and pay rise money was spent on giving the offices trendy purple carpet, phallic shaped lights and green faux suede chairs. Let's just say we don't think the partners' pockets have been affected one iota.
An email went around to the secretaries on our floor and we all agreed to go out together to a local pub to avoid the celebration drinks. Somehow word spread to the other floors/departments in the firm, then across the road to our other snazzy building which has been hit the worst by redundancies.
Our lead secretary just happened to have a meeting with HR that morning and told HR how the secretaries felt and about the unofficial boycott. Well, all hell broke loose. HR immediately informed the managing partner, who called up the lead secretary for an explanation. She explained. The managing partner obviously had a word with our departmental manager (as our department was the source of the organisation of the boycott) who sent around a hastily drafted attempt at emotional blackmail with phrases like 'hard for everybody' and 'let's move forward'. This made the girls even madder and even those who had been toying with the idea of attending the drinks (just to get some free champers) decided not to. Our backs were up.
None of the secretaries attended, despite the emails from management. We sat upstairs carrying on with our work while a red-faced managing partner made the 'its difficult times, but look at our swanky office' speech. He was obviously shocked that between his power and our manager's power we still refused to attend. Not much power over us at all, then! The non-management professionals we work with thought it was great and were surprised at the strength of our stance and the impact it made. I think even they were encouraged that it is possible to impact the establishment if the workers stick together!
We have been 'invited' to a meeting with HR early next month to 'discuss any issues we may have...'
We'll see how that goes! Round 2 of redundancies perhaps!