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Getting it right

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, February 4th, 2018 - 13 comments
Categories: business, Economy, workers' rights - Tags:

We need to move away from our reliance on a low-wage economy where companies compete by paying people less.

We need to remove the temptation to throw more cheap labour or longer work-hours at a problem, and make investment in skills, productive capital and innovation the better option.

CTU president Richard Wagstaff on employment rights and our economy. It’s a bloody good read.

13 comments on “Getting it right ”

  1. Bill 1

    If we want companies to not compete in that fashion – the downward spiral of wages and conditions providing a competitive edge – then government must legislate to return power to workers.

    Merely rolling back National led government changes to Employment Law won’t cut it. Neither will taking us back to whatever the best of the Employment Relations Act was.

    What Richard Wagstaff is pointing to is a necessary and fundamental change in labour relations.

    But does NZ Labour and the two other parties in government have the stomach for that?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Agreed: the proposed move to industry-wide bargaining isn’t the same thing as returning the power that has been lost. It might be a better model in theory, but if it’s easily repealed it has limited value.

      From a business perspective, we need workers to have more power, so that the gutter ethics of the Peter Talleys and Augustine Laus of this world are driven out of the market.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Edit…for “returning” read “taking back”. Whose agency is this anyway?

        • Bill

          S’okay, on that note – remove disabling legislation and put in enabling legislation, such that labour is able to exercise its agency and realise its power free of legal constraints?

          So not industry wide bargaining if that’s set up in such a way as to benefit workers without empowering workers – if it empowers union bureaucrats in lieu of empowering workers.


          • One Anonymous Bloke

            labour is able to exercise its agency and realise its power free of legal constraints

            There should always be legal constraints on power. I prefer to think of the law as a framework, a culture, within which behaviour is encouraged, or not, as the case may be. Lao Tzu said “rule a great nation as you would cook a delicate fish…the greatest rulers are scarcely known by their subjects”.

            And yes, if that’s set up in such a way as to benefit workers without empowering workers, you’re doing it wrong.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 1.2

      Well put Bill, absolutely agree

  2. Ad 2

    Sure hope this government has more in it than employment law tweaks.

    Looks like Parker is their main guy on this, but he can’t do it by himself.

    PM looks simply devoted to domestic redistribution agenda.

    Regrettably I have low expectations.

  3. eco maori 3

    Well shonkys rock star economy is full of his lies as is everything he has touched..
    Big employers do not even guarantee a 40 hour week how is some one to pay the rent power phone food E.C.T .My wife worked her ass off over the Christmas period she was coming home with a sore back arms for crap hourly rate less than $18 A hours she thought that if she worked hard the place with the big _______shed would give her at least 4 days a week but know you see this is the second time my neoliberal neighbour has interfered in my wifes work place the first time he got some people to get there children to play up blame my wife and next minute there is a man verbally abusing my wife its all on video . The big business tried to heap the blame on my wife ECO MAORI pointed out that my wifes safety was put at risk as someone should have de-escalated that situation before it got to a stage that my wife was scared out of her wits by this bully of a man . The staff the were in charge of my wife gave these actors some free chips or what ever and sent the actors on there way and placed my wife on notice another actor sent in anonymous letter heaping the blame on my wife . Another person sent in a letter that conferemed my wife side of the story and gave all there deatals . You can read that mans body languages on the video he was aggressive as towards my wife . I pointed out to the 2 staff in that meeting that that letter would not stand up in court .
    I went to her meeting and pointed out the flaws in there case against my wife I.E health and safety issues .I left that meeting thinking that everything was OK but know they moved her off the shop floor into the back on nite shift starting at 12 pm every shift .I went with it as my wife enjoyed being employed so we would survive on my wage when I had my busness she did all the paper work. Life is to expensive now we need 2 wages just to keep afloat .
    Now ECO MAORI is asking the good people to boycott this place as they have not treated my wife fairly P.S we will be looking into the way this organization has treated my wife with a microscope and we will hold this organization accountable for any breaches to her employment contractual rights . Ana to kai.
    Ka kite ano

  4. Whispering Kate 4

    I remember years ago my dear old Granny telling me that “there wouldn’t have been any reason to have unions if it hadn’t been for rotten bosses”.

    It has never changed, it is always staff which are laid off if there are financial difficulties – we do not work smarter and never have. That is why we have a low wage economy – laziness – its easier to lay off workers.

    • Unions are an insurance policy against bad bosses. Fairly cheap one to.

      Unfortunately the majority of people have bought into the myth created by bad bosses that it was all the unions fault.

  5. CHCOff 5

    ….(Trade Unions resemble a Guild in a sort of imperfect way. They do not guarantee property; on the contrary, they were invented to protect the proletariat against a minority of owners and they are concerned with the limiting of production instead of the excellence of it: but they got their spirit of co-operation and of checking competition from the traditions of the Guild).

    We shall do nothing toward the restoration of property unless we also re-establish the Guild. And we must apply the principle of the Guild to every kind of human activity in order to stabilize and to guarantee property; and, with property, independence, in order to make the labor of every man worth the laborer’s while. …


  6. J 6

    Does this tie in with the opposite angle of bidding wars by students who have to pay higher rents to get the place? i.e. bidding wars by workers to get the job and accept even lower pay. The latter was prophesied in The Precariat.
    Greed really doesn’t sleep does it.

    • eco maori 6.1

      +100 J greed is responsible for all the ills of our society I am fortunate to have this site to defend my immediate whano So much for doctor client confidentiality It does not exist that is just another facial part of this system they are doing what they do best starting up there spinning machine to cover there bad behavior this organization has its tail between its legs now A They have underestermated me once again Ka pai
      Ka kite ano

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