I work for a three year old, small sized software development company - more or less 20 employees. The company has used from the beginning strategies of giving employees relative freedom on their work conditions in order to engage them into the company - salaries are not very high, I mean, for us the free time management, which is not very usual on Spain, is like part of our salary - and all of them are free to choose their work timings if they concur with all the workmates by at least four hours. In most cases, those conditions are agreed verbally, not in the contract.
Currently the company is releasing a big software suite for its main customer, and the company is facing a delicate situation: from today, the customer will begin using the software for their daily sales operation. Their sales volume is important and their activity is very frantic, so if the software or systems fails, the customer will loose thousands $ per hour. Its commercial activity goes from 7:00 to 22:00, even weekends.
Today management told us they need to activate some upkeep plan, so they need to find a rotating schedule which may include some people to work on the afternoon, or maybe work on the morning but "be available on the afternoon for being called at any time and immediately connect to fix problems". They shown open to hear our proposals and to pay for the "being available" fact. The company has so few top workers that this will mean more or less that top workers will have to do dhose availability changes maybe one week a month, maybe more.
After some talks with all the work mates it seems that, being paid or not, everyone disagrees with any work timing change or upkeep. We simply aren't good with any change - people are very tired of years of excessive work and no enough qualified mates, and since what was told on a previous comment, we see loosing our personal life conciliation like a salary reduction. We have even checked the legal issues and it seems that the company can't legally change our work times - Spain worker protection laws, even verbally agreed work time is a strict contract.
But my concrete question is next: this surely isn't the first company facing this kind of event. How does this normally happen? Which is the right way to do this for all involved parties? What uses the company to do? What uses the workers to do? Are we being absolute jerks for not wanting to cooperate? Is the company behavior a clear no-no and shouldn't we feel remorse for blocking the situation?