|sent from: Esher, Surrey, UK. destination: London, UK|
There are some things that people around the world recognise without having a personal experience of them. High school, with its lockers, wide hallways, pep rallys and cheerleaders. People carrying their food home in clumsy handle-free paper bags, ready to be toppled. Add to this the laid off worker, gathering their possessions into a box, having just been informed that they are out of a job. The layoff process in the USA, as recent company closures and downsizing has shown us, is brutal, quick, and without remorse. People are carrying their few possessions home because they’ve had no time to prepare. If there is a positive to this, it is that the US economy is extremely flexible and able to respond to changing circumstances in a way that many economies (e.g. witness Southern Europe’s crawl through crisis) cannot. The positive, if one can call it that, for workers is that a mass layoff is visible, galvanizing. It is something people can rally around, be angry about. Post on facebook and have media stories run immediately.
The UK it is slower, by law; more deliberate. Everyone must be given a chance to make their case. It’s better for the worker, in theory, but it allows UK companies to downsize discreetly, deny numbers of people laid off because many will jump of their own accord when they are informed they might be made redundant. There is no box to take home on your last day – you’ll have been packing for weeks.