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Australian tycoon calls for mass redundancies so “arrogant” workers…learn their lesson (video)

Recent comments by Tim Gurner, one of Australia’s richest men, about the current state of the workplace and the “need” for more layoffs have sparked strong reactions.

The Australian tycoon, who started his career as a gym owner before moving into real estate, angered many when he told a recent conference about the “arrogant” attitude workers now have, stressing that it is largely to blame for declining productivity.

“We need to see pain in the economy,” said the 41-year-old millionaire, who “targeted” as an example the workers in the construction sector in his country.

A video of Gurner’s statements has gone viral on X (formerly Twitter), garnering over 23 million views and strongly critical comments from many who consider his statements completely baseless, arrogant and unfair.

According to the BBC, the 41-year-old has caused controversy in the past, saying that young people these days can’t buy a house because they “spend too much money on avocado toast”.

Speaking at a real estate conference a few days ago, Gurner claimed that the pandemic has had a negative impact on employee mentality and work ethic.

According to him, unemployment in his country, which is at 3.7%, should increase by 40-50% to reduce “arrogance” in the labor market. This increase would equate to more than 200,000 redundancies, the British network points out.

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“There is a systemic shift, with employees feeling that their employer is extremely lucky to have them around… We need to remind people that they work for their employer, not the other way around,” Gurner said.

Gurner’s comments come at a time when many large companies are at loggerheads with their staff over issues such as telecommuting and pay. Terms such as “quite quitting” (the decision on the part of an employee to put in only the minimum effort necessary to keep his job) and “lazy-girl jobs” (positions work with flexible hours and a high salary, which offer plenty of free time).

Several politicians in Australia condemned the millionaire’s comments. Labor MP Jerome Laxall said “that’s how cartoon villains talk”, while Liberal MP Keith Wallahan called Garner’s comments “out of place and time”. “Layoffs are not a number. They result in people living on the streets and dependent on the state for food.”

But there were also representatives of the business world who supported the tycoon, such as the president of the Minerals Council of Australia. “Workers are now used to earning the same money without working the same hours,” Andrew Michaelmore told the AFR.

Gurner is the CEO and founder of the Gurner Group and is worth an estimated US$598 million.

He has previously spoken in interviews about how he was able to start his career in real estate with loans from his grandfather and his former boss.

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