Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
One idea that’s made companies more money these last few years is to get employees to do more without being paid more.
It works best in difficult financial times, but it has some success during slightly better periods too.
Some employees, though, have their limits when it comes to do’s and don’ts.
Alitalia, aka the Pope’s Favorite Airline, has plunged toward the drain of late. Not unlike the Italian economy in general.
So, as part of its attempts at cost-saving, it asked cabin crew members to involve themselves in toilet maintenance on long-haul flights.
If you’ve ever been on a flight, the toilet is rarely a place of comfort or hygiene. If you’ve ever been on an international flight, you’ll know that your eyes, your nose and a couple of other senses can be severely affected every time you go to the loo.
Ergo, as the Telegraph reports, Alitalia’s cabin crew members declined management’s offer of additional sanitation duties and found themselves inclined to strike on February 23.
Regularly popping into the toilet to give it a tidy didn’t move them. Changing the toilet paper and making sure there’s enough soap just wasn’t for them.
It’s not entirely clear, indeed, precisely what they’re being asked to do. It was originally reported that they’re being asked to clean the toilets, which can’t be pleasant mid-flight, if ever.
I contacted Alitalia and will update, should I flush out an answer.
Oddly, though, Alitalia’s cabin crew do perform similar toilet duties on short-haul flights.
Somehow, though, passengers are slightly less prone to soiling things on these flights, especially as they have slightly less time to do so.
I’ve never thought that being a cabin crew member was all that salubrious. Where once it had a certain glamor, now it’s garlanded with increasingly cramped conditions and increasingly crabby customers.
Some will muse, though, that tidying the toilets can hardly be worse than some of the other tasks cabin crew members have to endure.
Restraining drunken passengers, for example. Or attempting to talk sense to a cantankerous entitled type who insists he most certainly won’t sit next to this person wearing a controversial T-Shirt on her torso and a piece of metal through her nose.
Diehard corporatists will insist that employees should always be prepared to help a company survive by doing all that is asked of them.
The trouble is that once the company gets itself out of the toilet, those supposedly temporary duties have a strange habit of becoming permanent.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.