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Do you like Pina Colada

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, July 7th, 2013 - 61 comments
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Four stories this week in the MSM could be pulled together and used as a case study for a number of NZ’s economic and social failings in my view.

The increase in the practices of psychometric and drug testing by companies to employ and dismiss staff is the first. The increased reliance on them shows a laziness in the single biggest investment that will make companies successful, the quality of staff. That is the first problem. They shut staff out at the front door who could be the best they could hire.

The psychometric testing is humiliating pseudo religious crap that belittles both the participants and those that use them. Asking people that have shown an interest in working for you if they like Pina Colada and getting caught in the rain, will not help you find the right staff and hurts them before they start. It is part of the “employee as beneficiary” narrative, asserting that workers are lucky to have the job and should be prepared to be humiliated to get it. Such personal information about you collected at step one. Take your clothes off and dance naked and lets us judge if we like what we see. It is irrelevant information and the fact so much money is being spent on it makes fools of those that use them.

The drug testing is a low trust model and doesn’t improve workplace culture. The most dangerous industries use it – and guess what – they remain the most dangerous industries. Having safety policies that deal with impairment at work is a good idea. Drugs, fatigue, lack of training, productivity pressures, personal or work issues all create impairment, but the drug testing “one trick pony” approach hurts people. It is like the NSA spying – everyone is a suspect – and people feel humiliated by being judged in this way. Addressing the other impairment issues challenges management practices and profit and is therefore often avoided.

When will we learn how to relate to each other and value each others humanity? These polices are hurting us – socially and economically – both those that use them and those that have them used against them. Economically they distort the employment market and exclude good people from work. The demotivate and reinforce a low trust model where all work is insecure and workers must manipulate the system to be sure of economic security. They create unnecessary hierarchies that ensure everyone has a place, removing creativity and discretionary effort. Socially they break good peoples hearts and damage their spirits as they are told through these policies that they are untrustworthy – trust is something people want to have – it is a basic human dignity and condition of wellbeing.

The third story is that of Pike River. There really has been no mercy shown to these families leaving a deep legacy of hurt, disfunction and anger. The recent revelation that the meagre amount of money available for compensation ($2 Million in liability insurance) was almost exhausted from meeting the legal fees of the company and its directors etc shows that no-one either tried or was able to secure the interests of the families in these funds.

The testimonies last week at the hurt of never having received an apology, the statement by Daniel Rockhouse that sometimes he wished he had died down that mine, the call to get the bodies out and the feeling that they have wasted endless hours of discussions and consultations with no progress on this was a symbol of how badly the country has been at caring for these families. There is a sense that everyone else got their pounds worth politically from this disaster (think the PM here) but that for the families, the understanding of what might be needed to give them a sense that they have honoured their dead to the best of their ability, has not been addressed. This leaves them unable to settle. Unable to sleep. Unable to move on. Justice is something people want to have – it is a basic human dignity and a condition of wellbeing.

And the last story was a little one tucked away on Stuff about rest home workers at the Elderslea rest home in Upper Hutt. There are 120 of them. They were told last week that the management want to remove permanent rosters and roster them casually according to occupancy. For these women on very low wages, unless they can be available anytime, they will no longer get sufficient income to be able to stay in the job. Elderslea management maintains that the changes will make the rest home more efficient and workers will not lose many hours if they are flexible about when they work. Workers cried when they were told and one worker who had worked there for 10 years described how it would damage her. It is not true that a rest home of this size cannot offer decent stable jobs with regular hours. Its unilateral determination not to do so is a symbol of its power over these workers. It has reminded its staff of their value to it and its dominance of their lives including their social and economic wellbeing. It has damaged their spirits and their souls and made them weep. It has also inflicted economic damage on the communities of these workers and it is unnecessary. Maybe it will even drug or psychometric test them to see which ones will stay and go. It may as well finish the job!

I wrote this blog this morning after a worker I am doing a little work for wrote to me about an apology we have secured as part of a settlement for an outrage inflicted on him by his employer. He hasn’t blinked an eye about the other elements of the settlement but he has come back and back on the apology. Today, Sunday morning, he wrote to ask how we would know it was sincere. I know he needs it to be sincere for his future wellbeing, for a sense of justice, a sense his trustworthiness is understood and a sense the employer will not continue to unfairly influence his chances of economic and social wellbeing both in this job but in any other job he may apply for. Reading the tea leaves (well that is as good as any other test used these days), I just don’t think it will be that sort of apology.

61 comments on “Do you like Pina Colada”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Thanks Helen, keep up the good work!

    I hope the next government has the commitment to turn this around, and especially to look these bullies in the eyes and tell them unapologetically that they aren’t wanted in New Zealand.

    Typo? “Employer as beneficiary?

  2. Pete 2

    I was on a hiring panel last year for a couple of entry level positions. There were about 200 applications. I wouldn’t dream of psychometric testing, but it took a lot of time to fairly consider all those applications and whittle them down to a shortlist for interviews. I think it’s a sign of how precarious the job market is for people out there, particularly youth, and nothing this government has done has improved their security or increased the incentive to settle down in the community.

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    Re: Elderslea.

    Would they make the hours causal/on call if they were men??

    It’s a rest home FFS. To expect variations in occupancy to the point where they need to roster accordingly is strange – are they getting death waves or something??


    Elderslea management maintains that the changes will make the rest home more efficient and workers will not lose many hours if they are flexible about when they work.

    But Service and Food Workers Union organiser Penny Clark said 33 workers that belonged to the union would lose more than 10 hours per fortnight under the changes, with non-unionised staff also affected.

    Several Elderslea staff that spoke with the Leader said that they were unable sign up for new “flexi shifts” because only workers in certain jobs could take on the additional work.

    The average loss of hours among a list of 17 SFWU members supplied to the Leader was about 13 hours per week.

    An employee who had worked at Elderslea for a decade said that the drop in her hours meant that she would have difficulty paying for rent, power and food.



    An A4 sheet of paper signalled an end to years of work for some Elderslea staff at the beginning of June. The “feedback questionnaire” asked employees whose hours had been reduced or changed by 10 or more hours to tick one of two boxes, indicating a preference for redundancy or acceptance of the new roster.

    Several staff had reportedly chosen to take redundancy.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The thing about the Elderslea is the same thing we see when we hear from employers that they need more flexibility and thus casual work hours. What we see is that the increased insecurity of the worker doesn’t come with increased pay to cover that insecurity. The employers want the flexibility but they don’t want to pay for it.

      It seems to be a belief in NZ management that they can get all these benefits and not pay for them. National is, of course, helping with their attacks on workers rights.

  4. Macro 4

    The thing I hate most in the whole “modern management” approach to employees is the “Human Resources and Development” idiom. It used to be “personnel”. At least then, there was some understanding that people were involved. This “new speak” removes the connotation of people and what they entail and places workers alongside bed pans and machinery as simply another resource to be used as and when required. It is an insidious notion and the sooner it is relegated to the dustbin of useless phrases the better.

    • halfcrown 4.1

      Well said, I remember many years ago applying for a job I told the “Resource” Manager to shove the job up his arse as I was not a resource I was a person. Unfortunately I don’t think people have that luxury today and have to take what is offered with all the humiliating crap that goes with it.

      • farmboy 4.1.1

        on the dole ever since

        • halfcrown

          “on the dole ever since”

          No fuckwit I have worked for over 50 years. But I have not and will not take shit from right wing arseholes like you. So you can fuck off.

    • Rodel 4.2

      Yes At least the expression ‘personnel’ implied some dignity to the relationship between the employee and the employer.
      Human Resources is oft better named as Inhuman Resources but the one that really gets my wick as an insult to people (although lately the consultancies don’t seem to be having much luck getting it accepted into the jargon) is ‘human capital’. I have a relative in HR, right winger of course, who naively sees nothing wrong with the term human capital. They just don’t get it, do they?

      PS.Helen Kelly talks sense…make a good PM?

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    psychometric testing- question their Validity, Reliability, Objectivity and Test Norms. Critiques of all fashionable tests will be found in free-access online journals, PsycINFO for beginners.

    question the causality relationship between drug use and employment; fatigue (long, irregular hours), lack of training (minimal is prevalent), productivity / performance pressures (stress) and personal issues ( threat, information and sensory overload) are possibly underlying much self-medication drug use and abuse.

    The Elder-care sector is likely to embrace further rationalization; demographics, budgetary constraints , interest rates, share-holders return on investment and so on. None of this is going to be easy to stomach or pretty to watch, unlike…

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    ps, speaking of ‘tea-leaves’, all the commentary on these legal synthetics suggest that they are highly addictive in a short time, and more analogues are on the way for summer; very sad really.

  7. tc 7

    HR has been turned from departments who looked after employees a few decades ago to ones that do the managements bidding. Hire, fire, via the now regular disestablish and restructure and ensure the company doesnt get sued by always stay within the law, so the nats law changes have made this job alot easier.

    Helen has nailed it about psychometr ic testing, the horoscope would be a better tool. Yet another excuse for modern management to go ‘oh look there are issues there, look at the tests’ yes it’s called being a human with a personality, not a corporats robot. I have seen lots of peoples time get wasted in interviews and tests for jobs that actually were never filled as ‘the right fit’ was not found.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    It is part of the “employee as beneficiary” narrative, asserting that workers are lucky to have the job and should be prepared to be humiliated to get it.

    That’s been part of the narrative for the last few decades/centuries. It comes across in National and other conservative parties insistence that we have to cut taxes on the rich so that they’ll create more jobs. That we have only what we have due to the benevolence of the rich and thus that the rich should have more and, when looking for work, that we should be grateful to the rich that they’re so nice as to employ us.

    When you really break down the language of the well off it really is dis-empowering to everybody else and thus detrimental to society as a whole.

    • +1 DTB

      I think this “employee as beneficiary” phrase in this article is very powerful and very much what is going on.

      We are being turned into ‘beneficiaries’ on many levels.

      “Shut up and be grateful”

      What a pity that employers weren’t so arrogant and are so incapable of acknowledging what benefits they gain from their employees.

      Employers also gain many benefits from the welfare system, where this “casualisation” of work is propped up by increasing numbers of supplementary handouts from the State.

      Result: More and more of us are being turned into ‘beneficiaries’

      ….and have you noticed the increasingly loud messages of being told to live with a ‘oh I’m so thankful for small mercies’ attitude…?

      …and what purpose does this all serve?

      So the Fat-Cats can just get fatter.

      Jolly good.

  9. Populuxe1 9

    “The increase in the practices of psychometric and drug testing by companies to employ and dismiss staff is the first.”
    I hate psychometric testing, Briggs Meyers etc, but under our current laws it would surely be illegal to dismiss staff based on their results – or is that some grammatical mistake and only referring to the drug testing.

    As for drug testing, I have no problem for this to be conducted in high risk and particularly isolated work environments. A business has an obligation of care and safety to other employees that transcends any warm and fuzzy feelings about the self-esteem of the individual, a business also has a right to protect itself and its shareholders from liability with all due dilligence. Unless someone can provide data that says that such work places *wouldn’t* be *more* dangerous than the already are without drug testing, I’m calling bullshit.

    As for Pike River, the Government should step in and offer adequate compensation for the families, but can we get beyond this farcical drive to retrieve the bodies as if that’s going to change anything. It will only be added expense and danger for a gesture.

    The treatment of care workers in this country is appaling and a national shame. There needs to be some proper legislation there.

    • felix 9.1

      Drug testing is not impairment testing.

      It doesn’t test for being high at work.

      Unless someone can provide data that says that such work places *wouldn’t* be *more* dangerous than the already are without drug testing, I’m calling bullshit.

      They also wouldn’t be any more or less dangerous if they refused to employ people who keep pet snakes at home.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        Drug testing is not impairment testing.

        It doesn’t test for being high at work.


        Now, I can understand drug testing if at work and acting in a way that indicates use of drugs (including alcohol) at work but use of drugs in a persons time has absolutely nothing to do with work.

        • Populuxe1

          That would depend. I could see an argument for it if you lived on work premises and it was a dangerous situation, like a logging camp or a fishing boat.

          • Draco T Bastard

            So, that would be testing at work?

            If you’re still bound by the restrictive rules of work then you must still be at work and being paid.

  10. What an entirely excellent article this is, thank you Helen Kelly, you are a great awareness raiser and spokesperson for these people, who are being appallingly treated.

    It seems about time that employers start realising, really realising that their employees ARE their business (without employees, there wouldn’t be a business. in employer-speak: no employees, no profits) and thus meeting employees needs is integral to a business–not a side issue–as seems to be the view being held currently.

    Employer culture needs to change in this area.

  11. john ryall 11

    Thanks for highlighting the case of the Elderslea aged care workers Helen.

    I attended a meeting with them last week at the local Cossie Club and they each told their stories of how the cut in permanent hours and income would affect their families, but most of all how it would affect the people they were supporting.

    In the District Health Board contract with Elderslea every caregiver is meant to achieve about 30 competencies after six months employment and the facility has to prove these have been achieved.
    However, casual workers don’t accumulate service as they are employed by the day, or in some cases by the hour.

    Elderslea aged care facility is owned by the Oceania Group, which is in turn owned by the Macquarie Bank, one of the largest investment banks in this part of the world.

    The decision to move to reduced permanent hours and more casual hours was purely a bottom line decision made by a bottom-line obsessed company. This is the same company where the unionised workers needed to take strike action last year to have the government funding increase passed on to their wages.

    The attitude of the company is that these workers are lucky to have a job. This has got to change – not only with this employer, but with the whole employment relations system in this country.

    • karol 11.1

      Elderslea aged care facility is owned by the Oceania Group, which is in turn owned by the Macquarie Bank, one of the largest investment banks in this part of the world.

      Unbelievable. How next for major banks to maintain their levels of wealth extraction!

      Excellent post, Helen, and 4 very telling stories. They show how the balance has been shifted too much in favour of employers in recent years, and that labour laws need to be changed to support more workers.

  12. red blooded 12

    Helen, you are an incisive and articulate spokesperson for the disempowered and under-appreciated. Kia kaha.

  13. MrSmith 13

    The music industry, the only place where a positive drug test gets you the job.

    Shit if I was an employer then people that tested positive for drugs might just get the job, firstly they are Positive, secondly they are showing some initiative, thirdly they are at-least trying to escape from reality.

    I could go on but gotta run as the GCSB are at the door.

    Nice Piece Hellen keep up the good work.

  14. The Stepper 14

    Helen, I disagree with much that you have had to say in the past, and no doubt will in the future.

    This time, however, I was surprised to agree with the vast bulk of your article. Psychometric testing has never been of any real value, and drug testing should, in my view, be only ever post-incident (and possibly pre-employment, depending on the industry).

    I’m an employment lawyer who acts on both sides of the employer/employee divide. I find that in the majority of cases where I’m acting for employees (noting I don’t work on any kind of contingency or no-win/no-fee basis – my bills go out at the end of the month without fail, which does tend to weed out the treasure hunters) an actual, real apology is what my clients are looking for. The opportunity to look their (former) employer in the face and tell them that they did wrong, and to have that acknowledged.

    My view on it is that there has been a breakdown in trust in the employment relationship. A good part of that is the employer, as has been noted in the comments above, seeing employees as a ‘resource’ as opposed to people. But another part of it, being completely fair, is that employers have an increasing fear of litigation based on procedural matters and so are nervous about having an honest chat with an employee and instead call me in. The introduction of lawyers generally does no one any good.

    I genuinely believe that those honest conversations (while bad for my business) would go a long way in preventing the issues that we see on a day to day basis. Unions used to be a way that these conversations happened by proxy. With decreasing union membership, and an increasing tendency towards litigation – fostered in no small part by no-win/no-fee employment advocates – I struggle to see a way in which this can be addressed.

    Of course there will always be other employers – particularly in my experience, Australian companies that buy out a New Zealand outfit and cut employees immediately – that do just look to save costs. I think though that there has been a vilification of small businesses in employment terms, where a (very) small minority is tainting the rest. Most are actually very good employers and this is often overlooked, and very seldom celebrated.

    Anyway, no real point to the above but to have a rant. Good article.

    • Rogue Trooper 14.1

      As a Workshop Manager, after notifying company (and staff) by letter of safety and operational concerns about bus fleet, owner, manager and accountant were on to the ’employment lawyer’ lickity-split, and I was paid out contractual notice 😀 (had another job sussed anyway) 😎

    • Helen Kelly 14.2

      I like the fee for success model as in many cases it is the only way a worker can afford representation. The awards are so low, the process now is very complex and lawyers fees are so high that for many workers they can’t take the risk or afford the monthly bills. There are some lawyers in Wellington that have workers all around the town paying weekly dd’s to pay off legal bills that far outweigh their awards. Your attitude that there are treasure hunters sort of fits into my post somewhere I think. There are plenty of employers not scared of talking to their workers and in fact see the relationship as essential to their success.

  15. Lou 15

    Some irony here. Quite often aged carers are working class and begin largely unskilled off the street to look after quite often middle class pakeha that haven’t had to pay any capital gains tax. Hmmm.

    • just saying 15.1

      Not lost on me, Lou.

      Thanks for this thoughtful post, Helen.

      It seems that just the working class is subject to the privacy and dignity invasion that is drug-testing. Surely surgeons and other medical personnel, airline pilots, parliamentarians, CEOs (if what they do is such important, highly-skilled work), dentists, managers, engineers, lawyers, councillors, judges, and a myriad of others whose work impacts on the safety and lives of so many and the planet itself, should be a the top of the list for random drug-testing, if concern for the dangers of impaired workers was the real reason for testing.

      But the prescription medications and weekend recreational activities of the comfortably middle-class aren’t subject to scrutiny, because if it were ever seriously proposed, a law change would prohibit testing, outside of tightly restricted limits. Because the rights and dignity of those people matter. Even Shearer would have something to say in their defence.

      A friend of mine took a personal care job recently. The contract was horrific and many pages long, it seems that the company she works for has opted out of any and all responsibilities to her, but amongst the privacy she was required to forfeit to them for $14 per hour, were her consent to personal searches, and drug-testing on request, and all her past, present and future medical records if she is injured on the job. Needless to say she was desperate for any kind of paid work. And poor and desperate is exactly how the elites want us to be, that and fighting amongst ourselves for the crumbs from their table.

      • idlegus 15.1.1

        “Surely surgeons and other medical personnel, airline pilots, parliamentarians, CEOs (if what they do is such important, highly-skilled work), dentists, managers, engineers, lawyers, councillors, judges, and a myriad of others whose work impacts on the safety and lives of so many and the planet itself, should be a the top of the list for random drug-testing, if concern for the dangers of impaired workers was the real reason for testing. ”

        – YES! that would certainly be an eye opener.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.2

        The contract was horrific and many pages long, it seems that the company she works for has opted out of any and all responsibilities to her…

        No contract can negate the law so I would suggest having the CAB look over the contract.

  16. Yes 16

    Your reference to Pina Colada is very interesting

    “Asking people that have shown an interest in working for you if they like Pina Colada and getting caught in the rain”

    The song is about a man and a wife who are deeply unhappy and she puts an ad in a lonely heart column. He also is unhappy and responds only to find out that when they met and find out it is each other who put the ad (wife) and the respondor (husband) – they had both realise they had issues which needed to be highlighted.

    By referencing the song then all i can say is that it proves the point – testing is important – it find things out about people before they walk in the door.

    • karol 16.1

      Say what?

    • Helen Kelly 16.2

      Yes but this is a trick question – if you like Pina Colada you wont get the job (drugs testing) and if you like getting caught in the rain you will (forestry). So you can’t win either way when the question is joined up like this.

  17. RedLogix 17

    Labour relations in this country are an on-going slow motion train-wreck. Every year of my adult life I have seen things get slowly, but certainly worse.

    Unfortunately I don’t see any way out of it. Most people are indeed “grateful just to have the job” and are sullenly resigned to being treated as feudal serfs by the corporatocracy. Most are indirectly bound to their employer by debt or rent servitude and have little to no choice about whether they able to withdraw their labour.

    A man I greatly respect once told me to always try and have three months of salary stashed away as your ‘get fucked money’. Inevitably the day will arise when your employer will ask you to do something that you know you should not do … and at that moment you need to have the choice to walk. If you cannot then you are owned, and you will be a slave as long as you stay. And you will be miserable.

    Most people do not have that choice. Most ordinary working people feel powerless and alienated from their place of work. Sure there’s a lot of lip-service and fake dressing up in the modern work-place, but most people fairly quickly learn that it’s all a facade. While they may detest their servitude, the slaves aren’t about to revolt. (Although as our employment lawyer friend above will attest, they sure will strike back in whatever small ways are safely available to them.)

    And this personal powerlessness reflects in the political impotence of the left as well.

    The state and the corporates have long reserved the power of collective action for themselves; increasingly over the last decade they are have been increasing the asymmetry of information… secrets and privacy are for them and not for us. Personally I think it’s far too late to turn the clock back on any of this. The left must anticipate that this process of re-enslavement will gather pace. The intersection of global corporates power and technological reach ensures this.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      A man I greatly respect once told me to always try and have three months of salary stashed away as your ‘get fucked money’. Inevitably the day will arise when your employer will ask you to do something that you know you should not do … and at that moment you need to have the choice to walk. If you cannot then you are owned, and you will be a slave as long as you stay. And you will be miserable.


      And most people today can’t walk away which makes them serfs with only the illusion of freedom. National is, of course, trying to cement in this condition through laws that are detrimental to workers and beneficial to employers and selling off state assets.

      The left must anticipate that this process of re-enslavement will gather pace.


    • ghostrider888 17.2

      always worth reading when you put pen to peon RedLogix.

  18. Yes 18

    Drug testing is very important I believe pre and post employment so disagree…age care issues agree…physcometric testing..that is a companies or business right..so disagree as future employees are told up front..pike river..agree.

    Helen the big story of the week is the man ban…what is the unions position and who will the union vote be now David shearer is a lame duck

    • McFlock 18.1

      Q: does drug testing detect fatigue or outright stupidity?
      A: Nope.

      Q: Do traces of a drug (or even a false-positive) necessarily mean impaired performance?
      A: Nope

      Drug testing is a lazy way of detecting impaired or substandard performance. But it makes managers feel big and gives them deniability to OSH, so they do it.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      Drug testing is very important

      No it;s not as it achieves nothing except to stigmatise a few people.

      physcometric testing..that is a companies or business right..

      Considering that it, again, achieves nothing except to stigmatise people who are powerless then why should it be? From what I can make out it should actually be illegal because of that stigmatisation of the powerless.

      Helen the big story of the week is the man ban…

      And how you’d like that to be true. Personally, I think it’s sinking like a stone no matter what the RWNJs in the National Party and the MSM do to try to keep it alive.

    • Roy 18.3

      Given the very long half-life of THC, and that you can get a positive on opiate testing from eating a poppy-seed bagel, drug testing is idiotic. For those on prescription drugs it may also be an invasion of privacy since these can show up on the screen even though they do not affect performance. I have run drug screens and they are very broad-ranging.

      As for the psychometric tests, many are not validated or are minimally validated and are little better than astrology.

  19. Martin 19

    NZ sucks just like the rest of the excremental free market world.

    • Yes 19.1

      Well leave and go live in your favorite non free market country…which country will that be by chance? Iran? Eqypt? Congo?

      • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1

        NZ will be fine – just as soon as we get rid of the neo-liberals and capitalism.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          I don’t think we should “get rid” of them. Punitive legal sanctions should be enough.

      • Martin 19.1.2

        why not just reclaim my own country?
        regime change begins at home.
        Then again, in Europe people are protesting on the streets about being spied on while here we just watch another game of rugby. Sheep! What will happen when the sheep look up?

        Iran, Egypt, Congo? countries people like Yes have plundered or tried to.

  20. locus 20

    i think justification for drugs and alcohol testing at work has to be a combination of all these:
    – proof that drugs and alcohold impair performance and cause errors in a high hazard workplace, i.e. could lead to serious harm to yourself or others.
    – backed up by a programme that offers a chance to deal with addictions, i.e. keep people in work if you can
    – the method of testing, and the procedures following a ‘positive’ test, accepted by unions and employees

    It’s interesting that drugs and alcohol testing is regarded as a ‘must’ in aviation but is sometimes seen as violation of rights for workers in other high hazard workplaces.

    Aircraft have multiple safety systems (design, equipment, inspection & testing procedures etc.) in place to prevent accidents in the event of impaired performance by pilots, but despite this and the significantly lower probability of a major accident occurring during a flight than in other high hazard industries, pilots and co-pilots are required to have regular alcohol and drug tests. Whether or not it is provable, the value of these tests in improving flight safety is assumed by air crew, the aviation industry, authorities and passengers.

    Compare this with the mining industry, where the likelihood of a major accident event occurring and the severity of the consequences are much higher than in the aviation industry. Yet safety regulations and practises between the two industries are markedly different.

    I think part of the reason is public perception of risk. Everyone is likely to fly at some time, and the danger – emotionally calculated in terms of the lack of passenger control and the consequences of a plane crash, is seen as extremely high.

    Because the public aren’t going to find themselves down a coalmine they’re not personally concerned, and so don’t demand or expect the same safeguards for miners as they do for themselves when flying.

    It’s high time that the rigour and extent of safety law in NZ was reviewed to reflect the level of hazards that workers face, and to ensure appropriate punitive and reparative consequences for abject safety performance and disregard of major accident prevention by the company (both management and shareholders).

  21. marsman 21

    Thank you Helen. You have articulated very clearly the uneasy feelings I had when I read the article about the huge increase in drug-testing.
    Re Rest Homes. They have become a very high profit industry and it seems the owners of Elderslea want even higher profits but paid for by its employees.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      Profits are always paid for by the employees. It is, after all, their work that creates the income/value.

  22. Sable 22

    This is all part of a process to control people at work much as the scum sucking government wants to control most other aspects of peoples lives.

    I have turned down at least one role where they asked me to take a drug test. For one thing, it was an office job so I saw no good reason why they demanded it in the first place. I’d agree too that it causes resentment and leaves a bad impression of an employer as distrustful.

  23. muzza 23

    When will we learn how to relate to each other and value each others humanity?

    Until individuals begin to understand they are NOT, the center of the universe, there is unlikely to be halt, let alone a shift.

    As the monetary system races towards its destination, as more energy is drained from the life of humanity, the techniques employed will become ever more draconian and demoralising, this is the desired outcome, it won’t be stopped, because people can’t accept it exists!

  24. feijoa 24

    So, are there any rest homes out there that pay a living wage?
    Where would you like your elderly parent to live – any rest homes doing it right out there?
    I guess it’s pretty hard to boycott these places as rest home places are often very limited in some areas and you have to take what’s available.
    It makes the prospect of old age even less appealing…

  25. Hippo 25

    There are two types of apology:
    -> The passive aggressive bad apology where you say “I’m sorry a bad result happened here”. Like, “I’m sorry you’re offended”. This is the apology people (especially those in powerful positions) prefer to make because it is an apology in name only and admits no fault on the part of the apologiser. They therefore have no ethical reason to DO anything at all to make amends. It has no real meaning and is therefore worthless.
    -> The ethical good apology where you say, “I’m sorry. Not only did my action produce this harmful result for you, but I was wrong to make the decision in the first place. Mea culpa. And I’m going to stop it happening again and make amends by taking this action.”

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