An interesting piece on the SST yesterday:
English has warned public servants such as teachers and nurses not to expect pay increases that are “out of line with realistic expectations”.
“I think we will see quite a few sparks fly,” O’Reilly said. “Government departments are being told how much they can spend so you’re going to see an ugly budget from the perspective of government spending and that will impact people like the state sector unions, the teacher unions and so on. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of that was turned into industrial action.”
NZ Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said O’Reilly was being “hysterical” but warned that public sector workers would not tolerate zero pay increases or cuts in services.
“We are ready for that kind of a year but we hope commonsense will prevail.
“It doesn’t have to be a nasty budget. I think the government has set out to create a misconception, in our view, that there is over-spending in the bureaucracy, but the figures they are using are misleading.
“Whether there is industrial tension or not will depend on what is in that budget.”
Kelly said although some senior public servants were very well paid, the majority were not and many, especially clerical workers and support staff in health and justice, were paid little more than the minimum wage.
When you demand that people do the same work (or more work, thanks National Standards) for less real pay, damn right that any person with self-respect will stand up for themselves. Only the weak bow down and take what the bosses hand them; the strong unionise and get a fair deal. It doesn’t have to mean industrial action, not if the bosses will agree to fair adjustments – matching inflation at least.
Farrar says he hopes “common sense” will prevail. He notes that the economy grew just 0.4% over the past six months and concludes “so pay increases greater than the rate of economic growth are not common sense”. Well, that’s a leap of logic and doesn’t stand – I didn’t see Farrar demanding wages match growth int he good times. The balance between wages and profits can just change if need be. But the real point is that he is playing maths games to fool the ignorant (again). Farrar is implying that public servants’ pay rise for the last half year should have been just 0.4%, but the 0.4% growth in the economy is afterinflation. Inflation was 1.9% in the last six months. So,to get a 0.4% after inflation pay rise for the last six months, your pay increase needs to be 2.3%.
A pay adjustment to keep your wage inline with inflation plus wages, it’s not “out of line with realistic expectations”, it’s “common sense”, it’s 2.3% for the last six months alone.