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Happy Labour day

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 28th, 2019 - 20 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

Happy Labour day everyone.  Have a great day. And don’t forget the importance of the Labour movement and of collective action in preserving and enhancing our quality of life.

20 comments on “Happy Labour day ”

  1. gsays 1

    I was reflecting on Labour Day, its meaning and how it is celebrated.

    If you decide to catch up with friends and family at a local eatery, spare a thought for the hospo workers tending to you.

    Plenty of them will be under paid. Quite a few places will be short staffed.

    I have recently tested my value on the labour market.

    As a Sous chef in a very busy kitchen, I am responsible for ordering, preparing and cooking food (all of which is deteriorating when we receive it), organising and training up to 6 junior staff, implementing the Food Control Plan and several other aspects of kitchen life.

    Without going into the unsocial hours, the stress, paying for parking, the unpaid work of washing uniforms etc.

    I have been with this company for over 2 1/2 years and had no discipline issues, never late…

    I applied for a job as a maintenance person at a retirement village. 60% of the job is mowing lawns and weeding including chatting to clients. The rest is varied tasks including occasionally driving the van for an outing, tidying the communal lounge, liasing with guests and village clients.

    I am offered a $4 an hour increase as a starting wage.

    Happy Labour Day folks, and please cut your wait and kitchen staff a little slack.

    • I think we need to start tipping with the knowledge of the low wages in hospo (hospitality) in mind. The informal little jar with the cheery slogan on it needs to receive at least a 50c-$2 piece. We didn't like tipping in NZ because we believed everybody should be getting a decent wage for doing a decent job. That was the idea.

      We believed that we had reasonable welfare provisions and that people had no cause to be in difficulties except their own foolishness. That stopped being correct some time ago, and now we have to tip some charity people's way to help out – if we consider that we are decent reasonable people.

      The tipping-point has been reached. As gsays there is a need – see food and pay it, please. And that old saw about the worker being worthy of his/her pay, the Bible has something good to read about it.

      And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire Luke 10:7

      The greedies have invaded our economy – They Came, They Saw, They Conquered. So good people, step up and help those who need a hand, even a finger, but hold it downwards so people can grasp it, don't stick it upwards in a coarse act of contempt.

      • Darien Fenton 1.1.1

        I am totally opposed to tipping (except as an extra over and above agreement wages and then only under the control of the workers on the job as to how it is distributed). I don't agree there is a tipping point ; after all have a look at the minimum wages increases (and more to come) under this government. The only tipping point is the greed and moaning of small business who think they should be able to pay their staff shite and you and I should top them up with tipping.

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        • greywarshark

          Darian Fenton

          It is a shame that union people can't stop being ideological first and practical after. If people want to tip, encourage them. Rememberinhg that CEOs etc get bonuses on top of their bloated salaries you would stop low paid workers from getting an extra real appreciation of themselves – because it's against your principles?

          I was not impressed with the way that unions behaved when I was in one and I believe in them whole-heartedly, not though to worship every word they say, and every idelogy they think.

          It is time for the left to be pragmatic and be both demanding for better conditions, and looking for ways to get the governmenet and society to support the low wage strata, and the middle-wage strata, who are having all their gains stripped away because of capitalist games with housing as if we were all a boardgame of Monopoly.

          So tip everysone, and also demand living wages for everyone. Do you know – sit is good for the economy – it puts more money into circulation and sets up a demand for supoly of goods. If you persist in saying NZ made goods first, others second, you will be good customers doing good for your fellow citizens and building a strong enterprising country that is resilient.

          So go for it – let's make NZ great again in reality instead of theory.

          • McFlock

            Tipping undermines efforts for wage increases – as soon as it reaches a significant amount, jobs are pitched as "[crap hourly] plus tips". Essentially blaming the worker for their poor income.

          • Molly

            I was in hospitality when the Employments Contracts Bill was enacted, and all the safety and industry awards were scrapped.

            When I returned from overseas a few years later, the disparity between what were well-understood good employment conditions, and how it was progressing was apparent.

            Tipping – an undocumented transaction – can often go into the pockets of the owners, and is a poor mechanism for improving work conditions.

      • gsays 1.1.2

        I agree with the sentiment, not the solution Grey.

        There is enough money in the business, higher wages isn't a priority.

  2. RadioNZ did a good cover of the past efforts to get to 1984, after which they have changed direction somewhat and now we are back to trying to hold onto past standards.

    The image in the write-up about the days when we actually did something for each other's welfare as well as our own, is striking.


  3. SPC 4

    Any chance of a minimum standards award being developed (we only have minimum pay – MW) or would this only come about through the proposed industry sector awards?

  4. A current union effort to raise wages beyond pittance level.


    4 Oct 2019

    Carpet workers at Godfrey Hirst have been locked out by their employer after a breakdown in negotiations over their denial of a living wage for all staff. Fifty locked-out workers will be on strike outside the store today in Wiri, Auckland, fighting for their futures.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.1

      Godfrey Hirst:

      Owned by US multinational Mohawk Industries

      Market capitalisation USD 10.5 billion

      Mohawk made USD 1.5 billion profit in 2015

      CEO and major shareholder Jeffrey Lorberbaum has personal fortune of USD 1.3 billion

      And they can't pay a living wage to their workers!!

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        That whole carpet thing down there – was it Cavalier? Earler I had a quick look at it and when examined it seemed to start off as a rather petty stand-off between two businesspeople.

        We would be better off setting up a fund that buys up basic businesses and makes sure that public relations is kept up for them. We can't afford to have Pass the Parcel with our core businesses shutting down; this would be an opportunity for employees to have a small paid-up parcel of shares each, and share in the good times and bad.

        Trouble with us is we are too small and that makes us vulnerable to being picked off, losing the benefit of discoveries, innovation and expertise.

        I think we are going through the end of a business phase of Clever Daddy who hits on good idea and follows it up, then Son mismanages it usually with big unjustified spending and over-confidence in the showy thing, then the business gets sold and pared down, taken overseas.

        This Cambridge University study may spell it out – they certainly have chosen a catchy title :


        Clogs to Clogs in Three Generations? – jstor
        https://www.jstor.org › stable

          by T Nicholas – ‎1999
          Research into culture and entrepreneurship in Britain has been dominated by … receiving a high-status education experienced relatively low lifetime rates of wealth … Tom Nicholas is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Economic History ..

  5. A stuff piece on Janice Gill – NZ painter whose works fit a Labour Day theme.


    • mac1 6.1

      I worked with Janice a long time ago and own one of her prints. Did not know her well outside of NZLP matters. I do understand how being bullied when young can be a powerful motivation and early steer towards the side of the under-dog. Good on her and good on all those Labour Day /Labour sympathetic people, Thanks greywarshark.

  6. marty mars 7

    Had a small celebration with my 12 year old today as I explained what the day was about and why unions are awesome – ate some cake to celebrate people working together to create a better world for others.

  7. Stuart Munro. 8

    Today is a good day to be remembering Rewi Alley , who spent a lot of time working to improve the lot of Chinese workers before the revolution, and establishing worker cooperatives to rebuild the regions devastated by the war. His gung ho movement was comparable to more modern microfinancing poverty reduction initiatives like Yunus's Grameen Bank, and of course, infinitely more effective than any of the vicious nonsense neoliberalism has wished on New Zealand.

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