Go Bus Lockout; Hypocrites Ngai Tahu and Tainui Screw Workers

Written By: - Date published: 1:31 pm, November 19th, 2018 - 70 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, boycott, business, capitalism, class war, Economy, jobs, Unions, wages, workers' rights, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Two iwi who you would have hoped would know better are bullying bus drivers in the Waikato.

Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff has called for donations to the welfare fund for FIRST Union members who have been locked out by Tainui and Ngai Tahu owned Go Bus in the Waikato.

“This employer has cynically tried to tank driver’s incomes right before Christmas, because they dared to ask for a living wage,” Wagstaff says.

Go Bus is owned by the two well funded iwi, neither of whom appears to give a shit about working people.

First Union divisional secretary Jared Abbott said it was time for Go Bus’ owners to get involved in the dispute.

“In any situation in an industrial dispute like this that escalates to this level, it’s time for the owners to step in and take some responsibility for what is going on.”

However, that may be a forlorn hope unless people rally behind the drivers. The CTU’s Richard Wagstaff points to the way forward:

“The next step is telling operators who tender for contracts by squeezing drivers’ wages and conditions, like Go Bus, Tranzit, Ritchies Murphy and Pavlovich, that commuters aren’t having it. Working people are firmly on the side of the drivers getting them safely around our towns and cities, and they support the living wage.”

We tend to go easy on iwi owned enterprises, however the reality is that they are capitalist businesses who will happily rip off their workers. Ironically, Ngai Tahu claim to be in favour of paying the Living Wage, though that is clearly bullshit. What they actually are in favour of is using economic violence against workers.

Council of Trade Unions Maori Vice President, Syd Keepa, says Go Bus has iwi members driving its buses and the union is calling for the two iwi to step in:

“The drivers, many of which whakapapa to the iwi that own Go Bus, are asking the iwi to step in and assist in a resolution with the company because the abysmal wages are having a depressing effect on the drivers’ wellbeing, their families and their respective communities. Ngai Tahu are a Living Wage employer, yet when their own people put their hand up for a decent rate they have been locked out.”

Please donate to the drivers. They and their families are going to need considerable help over the next few weeks. The website is: http://busfair.nz/donate/

Tainui can be contacted via fb here. Ngai Tahu’s fb is here.

Tell them they should be ashamed of themselves.

70 comments on “Go Bus Lockout; Hypocrites Ngai Tahu and Tainui Screw Workers”

  1. Right on.

    “Living Wage Employer’ is being used as a white wash like unaudited ‘free range’ and ‘Forest Friendly’ etc.

    Apparently Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has a living wage policy, but its subsidiaries are able to say ‘No’ we can’t/won’t do that.

    Which is a problem with all these things. its all about nice headlines not real life.

    Its like the great wages and health perks for google employees..the thing people don’t realise being that half the workforce at google are ‘Contractors’ who get diddly squat.

  2. adam 2

    For the love of God, how are average members of an Iwi responsible for the actions of leadership and boards – any different from other structures in society? That’s like saying all white people from Christchurch are responsible for Gerry Brownlee. Or other logical fallacies.

    Iwi, are made up of a lot of different hapū. To lump them all in one, is wooly settler
    thinking at best.

    You could have said the board of Ngāi Tahu holdings, which is a better description, or did you not want to mention that Chris Joblin as CEO of Taniue Holdings is a pākehā. Or is it simpler to indulge in a bit of hard right race baiting?

    You know I’m hard core pro workers rights, but that means fingering the right people, not some faceless corporation or equally valueless, some faceless iwi. Doing things like this don’t help the workers on the ground, especially when the real people making the decisions get a free pass. You know like Mike Sang, Allan Hickford and the rest of the management team.

    • bwaghorn 2.1

      Didn’t you get the memo . In the true left’s eyes all Maori, woman and LGBT are perfect people who are beyond reproach and if you are maori lesbian you are actually a God. (I made that last bit up for a laugh)

      • Michelle 2.1.1

        yes we are so perfect b waghorn we are filling our prisons but it if your a rich arab you can get away with murder and people will shake you hand and bow as they are fucken gutless and only care about money

  3. SaveNZ 3

    Sad. It also makes a mockery of wanting jobs and opportunities for Iwi, if the wages offered by iwi are too low.

    I’m also disgusted when iwi don’t fish their quota themselves but lease the quota to foreign slave traders to harvest the fish, and then wonder why Maori don’t have job opportunities.

    Same for horticulture, same for farming, aka not creating jobs for Maori but instead getting cheaper migrant workers in.

    Maori own 15% of the NZ economy.

    They could be leading the way for their people instead of just trying to follow the neoliberal way which has a few capitalist winners and a lot of losers.

    Obviously I think that ALL NZ business should be on living wages.

    I’m also not sure that the $20 p/h of living wage is enough if you live in Auckland, how do you live on that amount with a family, a dog kennel?

    Apparently the affordable housing in Wellington is now up to $700 p/w. The figures for living wage need updating.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    an echo of the 90s–“Brown Table”, Dr Elizabeth Rata’s “Neo Tribalists”, and John Tamihere’s West Auckland Trust’s then reactionary attitude to unions, but the fact is the small layer of class collaborative, Māori capitalist elites must be called and dealt with like any other exploitative employer

    I take Adam’s point though, TRP’s opener does resemble collective punishment rather than focusing on the specific villains

    the time line alone of this scenario shows the employer to be seriously taking the piss, support the drivers!! financially and on their pickets!!

  5. Bewildered 5

    Great to see iwi standing up to mafia like financial stand over tactics from a union whose members are a minority at the bus company

    • In Vino 5.1

      Bewildered – would you like to work for the miserable, demeaning rates those drivers are getting? I don’t think you have even thought about such matters. No doubt you worked super-hard and made meritorious decisions so that you could deservedly live comfortably. Nauseating.

      • Bewildered 5.1.1

        Yep been there done that, learnt quickly low end wage jobs was not great so did something about it, thanks for asking Vino albeit cliche question from some one with a victim mentality

        • Bewildered 5.1.1.1

          Put this to you Vino, If Union next strategy was to collect fares and keep it, you ok with that, no different not collecting, both are stealing from company and iwi shareholders

          • In Vino 5.1.1.1.1

            Victim mentality? Silly wishful thinking. You think you are special because you ‘did something about it’? A self-made man who worships his creator?
            As it happens, I have a Master’s degree, and am still working part-time in the profession which has afforded me a good life. In no way am I a victim. I am damned fortunate – much more so than the poor bastards being exploited for less than $20 an hour: demeaning and destructive of human dignity.
            Your foolish misunderstanding of the Union’s tactic is utterly risible. One of the few ways they can affect their mingy employers is to refuse to collect fares, which is actually a help to the public they are supposed to be serving. Your idea that they would steal that money for themselves is as dumb as the proposition that they are stealing money that they are not collecting.
            Stealing it would be if they did collect the money and kept it for themselves. Refusing to collect it is industrial action, not theft.
            Stop kidding yourself.

            • Bewildered 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Only one masters degree , you got a bit of catching up re getting off your backside re my background, sacrifices and risks I took ( if it’s a competition) Not collecting fares is tantamount to theft as they are incurring cost on the company while refusing to recover what is due to the cover those costs The company is a business not a charity re your point to serve the public Dont know if bus company are pricks or not but suggest if you don’t like the company or pay, leave and do something else don’t rely on a morally bankrupt union

              • In Vino

                Piffle. However great your self-esteem, you are not empowered to change the English language. Collins Concise Dictionary: ‘Theft – the taking of another person’s property for oneself…’ Refusing to collect the fares is not taking the fares for themselves: it is a form of striking (industrial action as I said) and the company is entitled to dock pay when such limited strike-actions are taken. Get your definitions right, and stop using your own wishful thinking to vilify unions. Such behaviour is both academically and morally bankrupt on your part.

  6. Yes well I’m not a fan of this bullshit.

    First Union divisional secretary Jared Abbott said it was time for Go Bus’ owners, Tainui and Ngāi Tahu to get involved in the dispute.

    “In an industrial dispute like this that escalates to this level, it’s time for the owners to step in and take some responsibility for what is going on.”

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/108692358/tensions-escalate-in-bus-driver-wage-wrestle-affecting-buses-across-hamilton

    Pity the union is going this way. Good to see you’re trotting out the lines – solidarity

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      a bad boss, is a bad boss, the timeline of this low pay and disrespect issue is appalling enough in itself, not sure what offence you have taken here marty mars

      • marty mars 6.1.1

        Iwi are shareholders – they aren’t management. Sure go after shareholders but please, dressing it up as bad Māori is not needed. That is my issue.

        E.g. “We tend to go easy on iwi owned enterprises, however the reality is that they are capitalist businesses who will happily rip off their workers. Ironically, Ngai Tahu claim to be in favour of paying the Living Wage, though that is clearly bullshit. What they actually are in favour of is using economic violence against workers.”

        • WeTheBleeple 6.1.1.1

          Hi Marty

          I am here to learn. Forgive my ignorance where I’m ill informed feel free to inform. I have a question:

          I learned of the bottom up decision making at the Marae, often a lengthy and laborious process in which all voices get to be heard. And then each Marae is heard, and so on up – This is impressive. This, alongside of Kaitiakitanga (was deeply touched learning about this) seems to me to be a way to govern both sustainably and inclusively.

          Do iwi work with these overarching principles now?

          • marty mars 6.1.1.1.1

            Iwi organisations often have a combo. Western and Māori approach but I think they stive to follow their tikanga in alignment with traditional values albeit manifested in modern ways sometimes. People get elected to roles, they then elect other roles – pretty much like any organisation imo.

            It’s hard to generalise but where I’ve interacted the kaupapa of trying to represent the people is strong and that led directly to adjustments to get more alignment with what we were trying to do. It is complicated but mostly the hearts as in the right place within iwi organisations which doesn’t preclude maliciousness, corruption, greed and stupidness.

            • WeTheBleeple 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks Marty I appreciate it. With that said I’m tending to think some Iwi have some right wing style leadership in place, but in check. If that is correct, yay, if not, watch closely for snakes.

              They do very well in NZ conditions.

              • Well the snakes aren’t in the iwi. They lurk around outside with attacks and bullshit. Their agenda has nothing to do with Māori or rights it’s just bigotry and pale reflections of mana.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  OK, that sounds like good news for Maori autonomy.

                  Sorry about the bigots. Being raised with racism in rural NZ, it’s also hard not to overstep in the other direction and sound like a patronizing twat.

                  I liked that someone called me on some shit in a marae setting. I call people on theirs. To me it’s a way to grow through strengthening our weaknesses. To (most) euro people I’ve delivered feedback, despite their asking for it, I’m ‘difficult’.

                  I am a bit. I’ve taken that on too 😉

                  I often wonder how much of our viciousness online is the lack of ability to properly address real life issues in our community/family settings. To be heard, but also to hear others so understanding is reached. But the internet is the wild west, not home. It would be nice to have a steam whistle on our heads, to release each morning. Meditation is so boring… 😀

                  The Standard stands apart in some of the debate it generates. The haters can disrupt it, I, and others can be dicks about it, but there’s plenty of hope for this model of discourse where actual debate is encouraged.

                  I digress, again.

                  • The Standard can be a great place full of cool people. I’m just me as I think you are you – if we aren’t pissing someone off it’s probably cos we’re asleep.

                    Kia kaha.

        • Tiger Mountain 6.1.1.2

          as per my post #4, I address that issue, the fact remains that Māori have a class relationship with capitalist society too, in conjunction with their distinct cultural existence

          while TRP has effectively “collectively punished” all members of those overall tribal groupings named, which is not a good thing, there is also a collective responsibility for owners and the individuals on Boards to front up

          • marty mars 6.1.1.2.1

            I agree that the drivers should be paid decently and that the company are scum for what they have done. I even agree that shareholders are accountable. However generalised derogatory statements against a group of people are not on – even at the behest of some union rep. But par for the course and as one of the denigrated ones i’ll just get over it as usual. But just reread the headline and imagine that you are being described that way. It’s fucken bullshit.

  7. Morrissey 7

    Hardly surprising that the leadership of iwi are hostile to workers’ rights. They’re National Party activists, and not representative of the people they purport to represent. Ngati Tuwharetoa is also dominated by a National Party clique.

    Back in January 2014 we had a real argument on this forum about the National Party-dominated Ngai Tahu leadership….

    https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-06012014/#comment-754069

    • DJ Ward 7.1

      Don’t iwi make there own decisions about leadership. Maybe they understand going with policy of profitable business must take precedent over socialism. Without profitability assets are eroded and socialism is impossible. The assets get squandered with trying to please everybody.

      Hence Buisiness minded iwi leadership.

      • mauī 7.1.1

        Profiteers are experts in asset squandering. No wonder the socialists have to step in and build things like state housing and rail back into a viable business.

  8. Ed 8

    Class war is about economics.

    • DJ Ward 8.1

      Is it?
      It was about rights. Landowners could vote while the serfs couldn’t. The upper class could get loans, the serfs couldn’t. The upper class controlled law enforcement, the serfs were subject to it.

      Anyway NZ doesn’t have a class system. Anybody can start a Buisiness, get educated, by property, and the poor can go to the same schools as millionaires children.

      • Kevin 8.1.1

        Can’t all have degrees bro. Someone still has to do the shit jobs but I think it’s a fair expectation the they won’t be treated like shit in the process.

  9. DJ Ward 9

    What’s not being provided is the figures for the profitability of the buses. Is it already a subsidised service.

    If the service the bus company provides in its own right is profitable then movement in improving pay to a living wage is appropriate.
    If it’s a subsidised service then more subsidy would be required to provide the living wage.
    Or you force the closing of the bus service due to inevitable backruptcy from losses. Then nobody has a job.
    Socialism is not exempt from the reality of capitalism as it requires other people’s money to work.

    Who pays for the pay rise.

    • In Vino 9.1

      ‘Other people’s money’… What rubbish. Capitalism exploits other people’s labour, and regards underpayment for that labour as a virtue for the benefit of greedy shareholders.

    • gsays 9.2

      Maybe, just maybe, that thinking- “If the service the bus company provides in its own right is profitable then movement in improving pay to a living wage is appropriate” is around the wrong way.
      For a century or more, the way to profit was cut and suppress wages and conditions.
      Turn it around, pay a living wage and perhaps productivity increases, less sick days, less ‘churn’, happy employees in the community.
      You know, stuff that doesn’t show up immediately on a balance sheet.

      • DJ Ward 9.2.1

        That’s inherent to successful capitalism.
        Bad bosses get bad outcomes more often.
        Good bosses get good outcomes more often.

        In this case it appears the bus company is not profitable.
        Therefore there is nothing to offer the owners or workers.

        If you went back a century I would suggest behavour towards workers has vastly improved over time.
        Most poverty is being caused by the rental market.

  10. SHG 10

    Shareholders in a business don’t get to make management decisions. However I, as a member of the iwi, will request an explanation from my Runaka rep.

    • Jum 10.1

      That depends on how powerful the shareholder is, SHG.

    • Thanks, SHG. This attack on workers is being done in your name, even if it is done without your knowledge or consent. I hope others will also question whether a lockout truly reflects the values of your iwi.

  11. Jum 11

    If a business can’t pay a living wage, it shouldn’t be in business.
    If a business wants to start up and has a limited budget, but can help workers get a job, then that business needs to offer them something like shares in the company and bonuses from any result, for taking a chance on that business.

  12. Ad 12

    TRP in your view what’s the chances the union will win this one?

    • Well, they all get settled in the end. The last big lockout was Talleys AFFCO and the company lost that (in court, and after some time). Prior to that, I recall Woolworths locked out their distribution workers across the country. That ended with a total humiliation for the Aussie owned company after six weeks on the picket line. The CEO had to quit.

      I suspect the GoBus drivers will get solid financial support from unions and the public, so the plan to starve them into submission isn’t likely to work. So I guess it’ll go on until the management get told by their shareholders to pull their heads in.

      • Ad 12.1.1

        I would just love to see you do a post on some of these war stories, particularly about how the workers won and the bosses lost.

        I’m sure I don’t get enough of them through the mainstream media.

        It would sure be encouraging to hear of recent wins.

        Maybe:

        The Worker: A Year In Review.

        • te reo putake 12.1.1.1

          Excellent idea, Ad! I’ll see what can be done. I also think we should look at some TS reader awards (book tokens or the like) for best contributions over the year, funniest comment etc. It’s good to celebrate!

          I was mulling over a couple of the comments on this post this morning and it occurred to me that solidarity was a defining characteristic of being left, in a similar way to looking after No 1 is for the right. It’s solidarity internally (in a workplace) and externally (among the wider population) that wins. The external pressure is vital, as economic pressure is what forces bosses to compromise. And nothing sends alarm bells ringing in a board room faster than losing market share, which was the key to winning the Progressive (Woolworth’s) blue a decade ago.

          With GoBus, I would say pressure from the Waikato bus using community, combined with disquiet from iwi members about the thuggery of their business leaders will tip the balance. I certainly hope so, anyway.

  13. peterlepaysan 13

    Most bus companies, large or small, servicing regular routes work shifts, both short and split.

    A very large cohort of these drivers have another income source, usually superannuation.

    If all the superannuitant drivers working for commercial bus companies struck the country woul be in in deep strife.

    Go Bus has the cheek to ask for a subsidy from regional or central govt. They already get a subsidy via superannuation which allows the bus companies to pay crap wages to superannuitant drivers.

    Time for a WSU, Working Superannuitants Union.

    Central govt could get involved by abolishing secondary income tax on employed superannuitants.

    I do not hear any noises from NZ 1st or age concern. They will blame immigrants for low wages. Greedy management always have clean hands. Yeah right!

  14. Bill 14

    The drivers should never have stated (read elsewhere) that they would not collect fares. You do that shit? (It’s a legitimate act.) Don’t state it as an intent. Just do it.

    • They’re stuck with having to let the company know, Bill. The ERA currently requires all strike action to be advised and detailed in advance. If the union didn’t give that notice and the drivers refused to take fares, I would say sackings and prosecutions would swiftly follow.

  15. patricia bremner 15

    Lockouts should be illegal, or at least liable for the same notice terms as strikes.

    The government needs to issue warnings requiring businesses to repay any government subsidy for the period of deliberate interruption of the service. ie lockout.

    It is classic ‘do as I say not as I do.’

    Semantics about shareholders or iwi are red herrings. It is about fairness.

    Workers should be paid a living wage…. end of.

  16. David Mac 16

    To win the contract to operate a bus network the winning tender would need to be cut to the bone. Operating costs calculated with pittance wages and stretched maintenance schedules.

    In a heavily subsidised sector the situation doesn’t rest with the brand names over the door, it needs to rest with those that decided ‘Yep, lets go with this company’tribe/entity that can only realistically pay it’s drivers $15.00 per hour’.

  17. millsy 17

    Time for a return to buses being run and owned directly by the council methinks.

  18. Philj 18

    ‘Not offering a living wage’ … Does that make it a non living wage, or a dieing wage?

  19. UncookedSelachimorpha 19

    Good post, thanks TRP.

  20. Delia 20

    Well they are profiting off paying wages of $17.90 an hour, it is as simple as that.

  21. Takere 21

    “I shall fashion my own house. The support posts shall be of maahoe, patatee. The ridgepole of hinau. The inhabitants shall be raised on rengarenga and nurtured on kawariki.”
    Kiingi Taawhiao

    Maybe now is the time for another interpretation of what he meant by the whakatauki? Because, at the moment. I dont see any protection, sustenance, care, comfort & nuturing from the elitist establishment.

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