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Bosses move to drive wages down

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, February 27th, 2012 - 89 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

John Key said he “would love to see wages drop“, and his government has achieved that (funny, can you think of anything else they’ve achieved?) but they’re just getting started.

This is the year when the gloves come off. Ports of Auckland is trying to slash its wage bill by 20% by casualising its workforce. Talley’s-AFFCO is locking out 750 workers indefinitely, also trying to casualise its workforce. And DHBs are trying to scare nurses ahead of their pay negotiations with the spectre of job cuts.

You won’t see John Key, the Talleys, Tony Gibson, and their ilk in the 1% suffer. The price of his economic failures falls only on the workers – those with jobs and those without.

89 comments on “Bosses move to drive wages down”

  1. Can a RWNJ, any one will do, tell us how the Tally’s plan to totally casualise employment in the Freezing Works is for the common good?  Or why their holding the country to ransom by stopping workers from working can improve things?
     
    Any one will do.  Gossie, James 111 where are you?

    • Gosman 1.1

      Who determines what is the ‘Common good’?

      BTW interesting you demand answers yet have failed to answer my question to you about whether you support the readoption of compulsory Union membership as a Labour party policy. So do you agree this would be a good idea or not?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Who determines what is the ‘Common good’?

        Since you don’t accept the concept of “Common Good” (but clearly understand the concept of “Good for Capitalists”) surely not you.

        • Gosman 1.1.1.1

          I’ve never made the claim that I should define what is the ‘common good’ so I am unsure why you bring this into the discussion.

          • McFlock 1.1.1.1.1

            He didn’t. Learn to read. Tool

            • Gosman 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Care to explain what he meant by ‘surely not you’?

              • McFlock

                You brought it into the debate by asking who defines common good.
                MS responded that “common good” could not be defined by people who don’t accept its existence. This includes you.
                Further discussion was unnecessary, because then you would have been asking who defines something that you don’t accept exists. Not that you would ever be that disingenuous.

                Tool.

              • Colonial Viper

                That you should not be the one to define the Common Good, as you have no interest in the Common Good. Merely the Good of the Capitalists.

                The fact that you agree with this is fine by me.

              • Gosman

                You are very much mistaken in the belief that I don’t have a view of common good. It is just different from yours. However I don’t think it is beholden on me to try and impose my view of what constitutes the common good on others. That doesn’t seem to bother hard core leftists like the two of you.

                • Colonial Viper

                  No you don’t have a veiw of the Common Good, you have a view of the Capitalist’s Good. And what capitalists do is exactly what you say you disapprove of – imposing what benefits the few as costs on the many.

                • McFlock

                  So Gos, you are one of the “good men” who will do nothing and let evil triumph. Not willing to pursue what you believe to be the common good even through regular democratic means.

                  I just love the way you’ve taken the liberal ideal of tolerance and relativism and turned it into an excuse for inaction in the face of injustice. God what a tool.

              • Gossie care to say what you think about Talley’s action #1?

      • mickysavage 1.1.2

        I did answer it Gosman. I said that I approved in the strengthening of the trade union movement because this will improve the plight of all workers.

        As for the common good well the 1% believes that the common good is served by a system that allows them to have an ever increasing share of the world’s resources. The rest of us would prefer that the world’s wealth was actually shared around more equitably.

        • Gosman 1.1.2.1

          You never answered my direct question which was whether you supported compulsory Union membership being made Labour party policy. A simple yes or no will suffice. Your lawyerish answer simply allows you too much wriggle room.

          I obviously diifer with you on your perception of what each of the groups, (that the left has divided the World’s population into for their own ends), regard as common good. Hence I don’t think I can answer your question. Perhaps you can find one of the mytical 1% and ask them.

          • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1

            A simple yes or no will suffice. Your lawyerish answer simply allows you too much wriggle room.

            Much lols – and demanding a yes or no answer without context is equally lawyerish.

            The fact is that most people will answer “yes and no” – e.g. they might say yes for doctors and lawyers to be members of professional bodies/advocacy groups, but no for mcdonald’s burger flippers, with the dividing line somewhere between the two. But of course if mickey said either you’d just paint him as being at one extreme or the other.

            I reckon you should have to join the tools union.

            • Gosman 1.1.2.1.1.1

              What further context is required in relation to the question? It is a pretty straight forward question. It used to be a cornerstone of Labour party policy after all.

              • McFlock

                The context within which someone believes unionism should be compulsory, tool. They are unable to give this in a simple yes or no.

                Let’s say that they believe in compulsory unionism for professions, but not trades. They’d have to answer “yes” to your question, but a “yes” would imply that they also included trades. Or maybe only compulsory unionism after six months employment. Or maybe compulsory unionism with an option to opt out after six months. Or compulsory unionism for e.g. sailors on foreign-flagged vessels in NZ waters. All of the above would have to answer “yes”, but are very different extents of the rule.

                • Gosman

                  The context is Compulsory Union membership as reintroduced by the Labour Government after 1984 and which was abolished by National after they were elected as Government in the early 1990’s

                  • McFlock

                    So you’re asking if MS supports the imposition today of legislation enacted 30 years ago (or more) with no absolutely variation to meet the needs of the current economic situation?

                    Well, that’s a perfectly reasonable question. /sarc

                  • Gossie care to say what you think about Talley’s action #2?

      • McFlock 1.1.3

        Wow – a RWNJ unfamiliar with the concept of “common good”. Quelle surprise.

      • Foreign Waka 1.1.4

        This may give you some insight – not the newest quotes but valid more than ever:

        John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776 (on the constitution of America)

        Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

        Here is another thought:

        “How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
        Frank, Anne German-Jewish Teenager (1929-1945)

  2. vto 2

    Isn’t it about time the unions went on strike in support of each other across various industries?

    • Sympathy strikes were made illegal in the Employment Contracts Act, and were never re-legalised in the ERA.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        Another good question is whether sympathy strikes should be allowed again and if this should be a policy adopted by the left leaning parties.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Solidarity General Strike please. Across all unions.

          • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1.1

            No chance, CV. It would be madness in this environment to recommend illegal industrial action when there is no evidence of a groundswell of support for it, either from unionised workers or those outside union coverage.
             
            But never say never, the glorious day may come sooner than we think!

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Fair enough. Let’s wait and see. However, it is the union defenders who are besieged, and the well supplied corporates doing the beseiging. And the rules of war suggest where the advantage lies as time wears on.

          • The Baron 2.1.1.1.2

            Oh the Paratai Drive Socialist wants all his fellow workers to rise up. Won’t be a long line down at Euro for dinner tonight then huh CV.

            And just how many people did your in-laws fuck over on their way to keeping you in the lap of luxury? But you feel really guilty about that, so make up for your rank hypocrisy with endless blahing on online.

            Thanks for the solidarity, comrade!

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2.1

              I personally don’t begrudge my in-laws for their wealth, and you shouldn’t be so envious.

              • The Baron

                No envy from me pal – I’m not the one coming online every two minutes to lament the rich bastard capitalists of this world whilst I live in the lap of THEIR luxury.

                A parasite and a hypocrite is what you are, CV. What do you do for the causes you so readily mouth off about apart from, um, mouthing off about them?

                • Colonial Viper

                  LOL, I’m buying shares in the power companies to keep them NZ owned. Also I’ve always wanted to run a school I hear that’s going to be good money now.

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.2

          Gossie care to say what you think about Talley’s action #3?

    • The Baron 2.2

      Oh noes, 8.8% of the private workforce is on strike. Great suggestion VTO!

      The age of the union is over, and thank fuck for that. One more nail in the coffin once PoA is finished with the outdated, inflexible, lazy racist dinosaurs on the waterfront.

      As for defending Talley’s lockout – not my job. I know nothing about how or why this is being done. I suspect that its either a wage drop or layoffs though.

      Cue a LWNJ raving on about how there won’t be a paycut at the top – probably not, no. Doesn’t the world suck? If you don’t like it, why aren’t you in North Korea?

      • Bored 2.2.1

        ….once PoA is finished with the outdated, inflexible, lazy racist dinosaurs on the waterfront.…I can only assume you are talking about the management?

        Please elucidate on the “racist” bit.

      • vto 2.2.2

        “The age of the union is over, Thank fuck for that”

        Yep, yahoo, back to the days pre-unions we slide.

        You’re such a brainbox aren’t you baron.

  3. muzza 3

    Well the hiring of Chinese , Auckland Based Air NZ employees http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10788109

    “The jobs for the Shanghai staff paid $570 a week, the same as most other entry-level cabin crew jobs the airline offered”

    So they wont re-hire experienced staff, because they cost more…Ok, well I guess we see the model NZ is moving to eh!

    • rosy 3.1

      I’m guessing that a need for speakers of Chinese languages might be a factor. Not many NZers speak Cantonese or Mandarin, and flights between China and NZ are not reducing. I reckon it might be bit of a media beat up – wish they’d save it for the real issues.

      • muzza 3.1.1

        How are we to know if any of those made redundant who re-applied for jobs, did not speak one of the chinese languages? Bit of an assumption to make I suggest..

        Saving it for real issues! What, are reduncancies, being replaced by entry level paid staff members not important enough for you?

        • rosy 3.1.1.1

          Yes, redundancies are a real issues – you’re right. The issue of Chinese cabin crew, in the context of growing passenger numbers on NZ to China routes, is not – it’s a dog whistle wrapped as ‘news’.

          The reporter might have investigated whether these were entry-level positions given they are on entry-level pay, checked to see how many Mandarin/Cantonese speakers in NZ had been made redundant, checked on Air NZ’s plan to improve numbers on uneconomic routes – how is that agreement with Virgin Airlines going? Discussed it in terms of asset sales – anything other than a hint that NZ workers had been replaced by Chinese, not that the Chinese crew might have been additional workers on these routes, don’t you think?

          International capacity growth for the Northern Winter period (November 2011 – March 2012) on the airline’s China routes will be up by 21.6%, with increased frequency to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
          Capacity on the Auckland – Beijing route will be up 38.6% with the addition of a third year-round Boeing 777-200 service from early December.
          The airline’s Auckland – Shanghai route will have a capacity increase of 22.7%, with the addition of a fourth Boeing 777-200 service operating between December and March.
          “In addition, following strong demand for the overnight service from Auckland to Hong Kong, this route is up by 15.6% with a Boeing 777-200 operating daily services from November to mid-December, increasing to nine services per week from mid-December,” says Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson.

          I realise I worded that post badly, and apologise. I was going to change it but was on a slow internet connection that timed out.

  4. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4

    How is John Key’s government driving down wages at the Port?

    Isn’t it the shareholder unreasonably requiring a reasonable return on its investment? Who is the shareholder again?

    Do you really mean that Len Brown is driving down wages?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Isn’t a corporate’s responsibility to serve all its stakeholders? Or is it permissible to stuff workers in the interests of owners, because workers don’t count as stakeholders in the enterprise?

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        Management of a company doesn’t have to treat all stakeholders equally though. If satifying the needs of the workers means the owners aren’t getting the returns they expect then ultimately their jobs are on the line because the owners have more influence on that than the workers.

        I am amazed that the left as a whole seems to be ignoring the fact that they have the power to influence this dispute directly. Via the Auckland City Council and the left leaning Mayor you can bring this dispute to a stop with a simple couple of meetings. Yet people on the left seem to be ignoring this and instead are continuing to focus on the industrial action. Stupid, stupid thinking in my mind.

  5. Bored 5

    Interestingly Mickey has succeeded in drawing out all of the usual RWNJ suspects to express their anti union and anti worker bias….unpleasant I must say Mickey.

    For my quids worth I reckon we will see a lot more pressure on the employers / employee interface (wages) as the economy contracts. Yes folks CONTRACTS, DIMINISHES etc. We will see belligerence from both employers and employees as the un-iced sugar free cup cake and associated crumbs get thoroughly thrashed by all parties.

  6. Bored 6

    Now for a real world view….a company I manage lives in a technical equipment sales and service environment (sell / install / maintain), we supply systems businesses must have in a fairly competitive market with mature technology.

    Our costs for kit are compressed and lack margin, service is where we make the cash. And that’s a people issue. Our market is declining with the overall economy so to stay competitive and to maintain continuity we have to cut costs….and that’s mainly a people issue.

    We like any other company to adjust to the new trading conditions are going to have to ask people to do more for less, and cut our workforce when revenues / profits dictate that we cannot afford people. Where I think I differ with the usual RWNJs is I believe that management and shareholders are just as liable to take the negative impact of the new conditions.

    What we are seeing at POA and elsewhere is the owners and managers driving their workers conditions down whilst believing fairy tales about how they don’t need to take any downside themselves. I don’t give a monkeys about equability, I do care about continuity.

    At POA I see well paid managers with no personal shareholding, no immediate employment risk or dollar risk. I suggest they need to wake up, smell the coffee, read the old fashioned texts on supply and demand and understand that they (like the workers) are not in short supply.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      and understand that they (like the workers) are not in short supply.

      Motivate workers by paying them less, stripping them of long held conditions and benchmarking their wages against the Chinese.

      Motivate senior management with lavish bonuses and benchmark executive salaries with US CEOs and Wall St execs.

      • The Baron 6.1.1

        Oh yeah, how much do you pay the cleaners in your mansion there, CV? Or do you leave it to the inlaws do source the minimum wage labourers?

        The man in the biggest glass house of all can’t stop coming online to throw stones. Solidarity forever workers – the Remuera branch is here to help!

    • Gosman 6.2

      Talk to the owners of the company then Bored. They might not be easy to track down but you might luck out and they will agree to listen to you. Admittedly it’s not like you have any influence over them so you will have to make a very persuassive case and let them know what’s in it for them.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Capitalists profit by taking dollars away from workers.

        • Gosman 6.2.1.1

          Do you mean the wider community of Auckland via their democratically elected council C.V?

          • mickysavage 6.2.1.1.1

            Gossie care to say what you think about Talley’s action #4?

            • Gosman 6.2.1.1.1.1

              As an independent contractor you wish me to comment of a firm wishing to employ independent contractors? Generally I’m in favour of this.

              I presume you are comfortable with Talley’s having the ability to use the lock out as a bargaining tool are you?

        • The Baron 6.2.1.2

          Just like you and the in-laws huh CV. Thanks for your support to the cause, Comrade!

          • fender 6.2.1.2.1

            How clever you are “The Baron”.
            Someone divulges a little info on their living arrangements and to you its just treated as ammo for your RWNJ gun.
            Unless you really know the facts I suggest you just STFU.
            Could be your fault someone is down on their luck if thats the case and is staying with the inlaws. The Barons will be the first to enjoy the sharp guillotine.

            • The Baron 6.2.1.2.1.1

              Tut tut, took you two seconds to get onto your fantasies of killing fields following the beautiful revolution of the caring left.

              And you call me a nut job.

              CV gets my goat cos he is a complete and utter hypocrite, bemoaning the wealthy while noshing it up with the best of them. In your simple parlance, he is a class traitor. Would he be before or after me in wearing the black hood?

              And what is it with the left and killing people? Has the millions of deaths from every single socialist revolution in history not sated your bloodlust yet?

              • fender

                Any bloodspilling will be the result of their failure to learn from history.

                If I lose my job,house etc and go stay with my “rich” inlaws thats hypocracy is it? And you would just be envious of my situation, you must be a booze baron sampling your product too much.

                • The Baron

                  Interviewing your keyboard AND calling for death. And you call me a drunk.

                  I’m curious to know who else is on this death list of yours there fender. I imagine that you’re a typical caring lefty who has a massive list of enemies of the people/revolution to murder as soon as you have the chance – but how do you decide where to start?

                  • fender

                    Oh don’t worry your drunken head over where the barons/speculators sit on the list, it’s fluid as events unfold. They will very likely all be in line at nearest airport heading to Hawaii and the like.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ohhhhhh well off people can’t be concerned about the struggling working class and underclass because that would be “hypcritical”

                You’re a moron, Baron.

                In your simple parlance, he is a class traitor. Would he be before or after me in wearing the black hood?

                I’m of the working class, and I’m still fighting for the working class, so I think that’s Loyalty mate 😉

                • The Baron

                  Buying privatised shares and moaning all day on a lefty blog is helping how exactly? Noshing it up at expensive restaurants and driving a Q7 makes you working class how? Marrying into it excuses your hypocrisy in what way?

                  Start walking the talk then CV – you’ve created yourself a pretty lofty set of standards for you to live up to as one of the wealthy, capitalist elite in this country (or at least as someone that is all to happy to live off their fat).

                  Or is this just yet another case of do as I say and not as I do?

                  • felix

                    Revealing quite a bit about how your mind works, Baron.

                    Why do you you think everyone with money has to be a prick and try to fuck the rest of society over?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    driving a Q7

                    Q7 meh. You even know it’s an X5.

                    No Aroha for Key

                    you’ve created yourself a pretty lofty set of standards for you to live up to as one of the wealthy, capitalist elite in this country (or at least as someone that is all to happy to live off their fat).

                    You’re repeating the politics of envy mate, it’s so sad to see you turn and become like this. Look with a bit of hard work and upskilling I’m sure you’ll be able to afford the bi-turbo version like mine.

                    If it makes you feel better, I have to pay out of my own pocket for the insurance costs and the fuel, the in-laws only pay for the monthly lease and the maintenance. It seemed a fair way to go.

      • Bored 6.2.2

        Gooseman, I do talk to the owners…a major shareholder is (you guessed it) .. me. And the rest of the shareholders do tend to listen to me (yes I have influence well in excess of what you might expect because of the results I get) if the issue is put in terms of continuity and long term return to their capital. I would not expect you to understand that concept.

        • Gosman 6.2.2.1

          Ummmm… I’m not sure we are discussing the same thing. I am talking about the owners of the POAL not your company.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.2.2.1.1

            Why would you be talking about the owners of PoAL in a thread talking about Bored’s business?

            • Gosman 6.2.2.1.1.1

              Really??

              So his last two paragraphs (see below) weren’t actually about the problems with the POAL?

              “What we are seeing at POA and elsewhere is the owners and managers driving their workers conditions down whilst believing fairy tales about how they don’t need to take any downside themselves. I don’t give a monkeys about equability, I do care about continuity.

              At POA I see well paid managers with no personal shareholding, no immediate employment risk or dollar risk. I suggest they need to wake up, smell the coffee, read the old fashioned texts on supply and demand and understand that they (like the workers) are not in short supply.”

              Funny because I swear he was making a point about how bad POAL was in terms of management’s handling of their work force.

              • Draco T Bastard

                He talks about two businesses but primarily his. If you wanted to talk only about the PoAL part then you should have said so. What we’re actually seeing here is your inability to communicate.

              • Bored

                Goose being a goose…whats new! Yes goose I was taking a dig at management that has no shareholding or interest other than bloated salaries, no capital risk. In the case of the POA I watched on TV tonight a shameful exhibition of worker demonisation by the CEO. I would not pay this trog a cent to represent my company, and I resent him being paid any wages by a Council owned company. I doubt the prat would last a moment in a competitve environment, he is hjust another wannabee corporate jesuit pretending to be a capitalist.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.3

      “We like any other company to adjust to the new trading conditions are going to have to ask people to do more for less, and cut our workforce when revenues / profits dictate that we cannot afford people.”

      What’s the alternative? The fewer salaried workers, the weaker the local economy. I appreciate that you can’t conjure work out of thin air, and there is a limit to borrowing to maintain staff levels etc, but if the only response to a market downturn is to degrade everyone’s salary and conditions doesn’t that imply the same old race to the bottom just with more starters?

      Certainly not a problem one company can fix.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      At POA I see well paid managers with no personal shareholding, no immediate employment risk or dollar risk.

      Agreed. If their wages were dropped to something more realistic, say $60k each, PoA would easily make the required excess profits without screwing over the wealth creators (otherwise known as the workers).

      I suggest they need to wake up, smell the coffee, read the old fashioned texts on supply and demand and understand that they (like the workers) are not in short supply.

      Actually, in this day and age, the skilled workers at PoA probably are in short supply (I suspect that the only ones available are the ones working there now) – lots of managers about though.

  7. Kotahi Tane Huna 7

    Take this as hearsay. I heard it said over the weekend that Talleys are looking for “greater flexibility” etc – the usual race-to-the-bottom shopping list – but also that they want 40-odd personal grievances called off.

    If this is true, can someone explain to me how a majority vote can cancel a legal action?

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    I/S gets it right over at NoRightTurn.

    Trying to get people off welfare into work makes sense (for non solo-parents) in good times, when jobs are plentiful. In a recession, its just an exercise in pointless sadism. But National doesn’t care if this policy works. They don’t care if its effective in improving the lot of solo parents, or beneficiaries generally. They certainly don’t care about the long-term social effects. Instead, its all about further stigmatising those on benefits, and getting headlines for kicking them. Plus, of course, increasing competition in the labour market, and lowering wages even further for the benefit of their rich mates. This isn’t a welfare policy, its a spin exercise and labour-market policy. And we will all lose if it is enacted.

    • infused 8.1

      No, he misses the point.

      • felix 8.1.1

        Which is what, infused?

        That $8 a week from a handful of beneficiaries will balance the budget? That the poor have it too easy? That kicking solo parent and widows gives you a warm tingly feeling?

        What what what? Don’t be a hold out, tell us what the point is.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        I’d say that you miss the point except that you’re a RWNJ and know exactly what the point is – driving down wages so that a few rich pricks can make more profit.

  9. Bryan 9

    Getting the story right is important. In fact there are only a couple of days left in the nurses two week ratification process (my pick is they will accept the current DHB offer). The NZNO plan (??) via ratification bulletin on their website seems to be a long deal to avoid as long as possible whatever National’s legislative attack on bargaining is until after the next election.

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