Need for a trade union at the Vatican

In all countries the past decades have seen a systematic onslaught on workers' trade union rights, pressure at work, speed-ups and so on. This onslaught has spread from country to country and now it seems to be catching up with one key country that seemed to have bucked the trend... the Vatican.

Fifty years ago staff at the Vatican had to "clock in", i.e. get a card stamped that marked the time they came into work and the time they left. In line with the rising class struggle everywhere the militant staff at the Vatican, it seems, managed to get that abolished. Must have been the influence of the Communist traditions of the working class in neighbouring Italy! It was under Pope John XXIII, in the early 1960s that all this happened.

Well that now seems to be coming to an end, as the modern equivalent of the clock-in, the swipe card, is being introduced. Lay and ecclesiastical staff are already using the swipe cards. It seems the lowest office staff to the heads of departments, even senior clerics, from priests up to the archbishops, are to have one. Apparently this is an attempt to improve time-keeping and efficiency.

These measures affect the 2000 employees at the Vatican. And as if this were not enough, next year the bosses at the Vatican are planning to bring in performance-related pay, a kind of piece work, whereby the more you produce the more money you are paid.

How such productivity is to be measured is another question. Will it be according to the number of souls saved and sent to heaven? They haven't invented a swipe card that can measure that one yet.

The older clerics - who must be harking back to the militant 1960s - are complaining about the new scheme. Maybe they should start organising a union and develop a set of demands that meet the needs of the Vatican staff! Any volunteers?

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