If it quacks like a sexist duck…

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, June 23rd, 2011 - 125 comments
Categories: sexism, wages - Tags: ,

I suppose one must be grateful to Alasdair Thompson for one thing; at least he didn’t imply that we feeble little women should just avoid all sudden movement lest our ovaries fall out. (This is not to say that all women have ovaries, or even periods, or that men cannot have ovaries, or periods, but I don’t want to blow Alasdair’s tiny mind. For those feeling brave, check out this hot childbearing bamf.

Lew at Kiwipolitico thinks it’s a good lesson in not believing your own hype, and certainly Helen Kelly’s got to be viewing this whole situation as a gigantic win for putting the spotlight on the pay gap and the slightly-scary amount of bullshit our Captains of Industry are seriously small-minded enough to buy into.

But that’s what gets me. Fear not, readers concerned that I’m never going to find a man because I’m such a bitch; I’m not offended. I’m not even contemptuous towards Alasdair Thompson. I’m just a little baffled.

I mean, Alasdair Thompson is the head of an organisation whose sole purpose is to basically convince us that everything is a beautiful level playing field and pay is totally based on ability but also maybe you shouldn’t tell anyone else what you’re paid because then, um, the total fairness of your pay might shock you so much you’ll get confused and fall down. And really being forced to take four weeks off every year is just terrible. And getting a bunch of your coworkers together to negotiate a shared set of terms, well, no one should have to do that.

That’s not actually the easiest sell.

So you’d think you’d entrust the job to someone with enough basic political instinct to not say, in front of a woman union leader and a microphone, that “Women do, in general, [take more sick leave] why? Because once a month they have sick problems.”

(It’s okay, Alasdair. In the 21st century we use the word “period”. And if you’re going to use code, break out the fun shit like “they have Communists in the funhouse”.)

He does seem to have got his bullshit-mojo back though, as he’s had a bit of a whinge at being accurately quoted and is now spamming people on Twitter saying,

Of course women should be paid more than men where their output and productivity is greater than men’s. It’s a pity if saying this is un-PC.

Yes, Alasdair. That’s totally what people are complaining about. Who thinks he’s a clever little derailer den?

But it brings up another of those wonderful rightwing slogans: output and productivity.

Given how committed Alasdair is to his principles, I can only assume his personal KPIs are based on “saying things which your old, white, male Board think are just plain common sense” and measured by “how many women who are obviously on the rag take offence.”

But let’s face it. If that epitome of modern capitalism, the IMF, is anything to go by, all Alasdair has to do is go on being an old, white, rich dude who works for and on behalf of a bunch of other old, white, rich dudes. And the hypocrisy is simply never going to occur to him.

PS: inevitable neggers: go read this shit and know that every time you whinge that it’s not sexist, early childhood teachers just aren’t worth as much as fly-fishing chief executives, God kills a merchant banker.

PPS. Thought about kicking this off with a nice snappy self-aware disclaimer about my own menstrual status. Like you sexist pigs who are already drafting your “lol ur on the rag” trollisms care.

– QoT

Note – for more QoT goodness head over to her blog: Ideologically Impure

125 comments on “If it quacks like a sexist duck…”

  1. Eddie 1

    “Communists in the funhouse”

    I’m making that my political view on the Bookface.

    update: lucky I don’t have any Danish friends. I thought that was just your own brilliant creation, QoT

  2. Peter 2

    He is a classic example of what die-hard members of the Blue team represent.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      On Checkpoint RNZ tonight, I really really like how quickly two National MPs jumped at responding and overtly distancing themselves. Often, it is so very very hard to find a National MP to comment.

  3. ianupnorth 3

    Good to hear Catherine Delahunty on Radio NZ going on about her bill to relook at equal pay.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      It would be superb if a National-led government would pass this bill.

      In fact, how about the government put the bill (or an identical one) firmly on their legislative agenda and, oh wait, even better, go into urgency and pass it. Go on, you know you want to. Compared with other shit that have gone through urgency, this would be a most worthy bill.

      Oh hello, Kate Wilkinson, Hekia Parata, Nikki Kaye and Hillary Calvert*,
      time to put your vote where your mouth is while in government.

      *All four commented at:
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10734009

  4. Don 4

    It’s an incredible view to take. Employers have a sickness , a fear of the productive capacity of the homosapien, so they should, they have fucking exhausted it.
    This is just a very babyboomermaleblinkered take on the fear

  5. dupdedo 5

    you on the rag?

  6. swimmer 6

    I’m stunned that he would say that!

  7. WOOF 7

    Someone’s going to be in the dog house when he gets home!

    • NZFemme 7.1

      Meh…if he says that shit in a public interview and thinks it’s Oky Doky, I’d have to wonder what he says in the privacy of his home.

      • Jim Nald 7.1.1

        Where’s home?
        Can we have a photo of his hut in Afghanistan?
        Even better, a group photo of him with other Taliban chiefs.
        And the veiled women.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        I suggest that he is the only one with say at home.

    • toad 7.2

      Nah, Don Brash has offered Thompson his sofa for the night.

  8. Jenny 8

    Why are women paid less?

    Are we sicker?

    There is no statistical evidence to back this claim

    Do we take more time off work because of family?

    Maybe

    But don’t men have family too?

    Of course they do

    Shouldn’t men take time off for their children’s birth or other critical times in their lives too?

    If not, why not?

    Is Alasdair Thompson rationalising prejudice in the workplace because it makes more money?

    Is Alasdair Thompson just a rich prick who supports inequality and encourages bigotry because it allows him and his rich mates to exploit one section of the population at a greater rate than the rest…?

    Would Alasdair Thompson like to also explain why he thinks Maori are paid less?

    Is Alasdair Thompson just a rich prick who supports inequality and encourages bigotry because it allows him and his rich mates to exploit one section of the population at a greater rate than the rest…?

    Probably – but he dare not say it.

    Is Alasdair Thompson a coward who thinks that can get away with bigotted statements against women?

    • weka 8.1

      I think he’s one of those old school men who have very weird and patronising views of women. I wasn’t offended by what he said – when I first saw Morrisey’s comment with the radio transcript I thought it was a send up – it was so awfully bad that I had to laugh. But when you watch the guy on the unedited TV3 clips (there’s a news one and a Campbell one) look at how he relates with the female interviewers. Sometimes he comes across as smarmy, trying to be charming but in a way that would make most women I know cringe. But he also does some power and control bullshit to the reporter that’s designed to intimidate. I’d hate to be his employee or in any other relationship where there was a power differential.
       
      I’d like to have seen him interviewed by a man on the same topic.
       
      Oh, and yes he should be sacked. His views promote practice that is illegal.

    • Deadly_NZ 8.2

      I think that he is a throw back to the 70’s and 80’s just like I am and a lot of others are. Now if you call me PC, I would feel that you have insulted me. I am polite and considerate, but PC? nope the only PC I agree with is a Personal computer, or a Police Cuntstable. And I think he is a lot like me, He calls a spade a spade, and not a pc shovel, and the only major difference between him and a lot of us, is that we do not get quoted in the press, for calling it how he sees it. Personally I do not agree with Women’s rates but it has nothing to do with the PC bullshite it is because if you can do the same job as men, then you should be paid the same as a man, no more and no less. Okay that should have pissed off the sensitive crowd so I will apologise now, but the Politically correct movement has ruined NZ. So he like a lot of the over 40 crowd ( the good years 70’s and 80’s best years to grow up in) I am probably going to be called a dinosaur, but hey you can even learn from a Dinosaur, if only to keep out of the way of Asteroids.

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.2.1

        As someone else who grew up in the 70’s I would say those attitudes sucked even then and when I as a male said to men cracking crude jokes at meetings (yeah they were real productive), complained about centrefolds on the walls, fought against behaviour such as holding up scorecards rating the new teller out of 10 (large breasts and blonde hair got extra points), and so on and so on I guess the spades I was calling were slightly different from the spades you were calling.

        Treating people like crap whether in a sexist way or not has always been treating people like crap.

        To suggest it’s political correctness in motion is just a right wing way of supporting the whole concept of arseholeness.

        Political correctness is a rightwing (bowel?) movement meant to discourage and demean.

        • Deadly_NZ 8.2.1.1

          I Agree. But now this guy is going to be figuratively put up against a wall and shot. not once but for days and weeks. Get over it, yes he said some dumb things, but is that so bad that the reaction is as if he had ran Naked through a convent on Xmas Day ?? Really I hate to tell you all there is a shit load more important work to do getting rid of the NACTS, and we DO NOT need these silly distractions, and I’ll bet ( I have not looked) that blubber and fur rat’s hate filled diatribes will be cranking this madly through MSM. BUT what will get slipped into a bill or a sneaky amendment to a bill, or what ever and if you are focused on this crap you will MISS it.

          So treat it like it is, someone said the wrong thing in front of a camera, MSM will call for his public flogging, or worse. And the NACTS will use it all as a smoke screen. WAKE UP!!!!!!!

          • Descendant Of Smith 8.2.1.1.1

            It is only a distraction and as you well know the MSM will run with it whether we comment on it or not.

            Why I think there is a reaction though is not just over what he said but because for once the thin veneer of civilised control that many of these business show in public slipped and their general all round arseholness showed. (I just can’t think of another word that more aptly describes them).

            I noticed at an early age that senior managers across many businesses and organsiations have two personas one the public see and once within the senior levels of the organisation which often isn’t that pretty.

            It’s not often you get to see that second one in public.

            It doesn’t take intelligence to make money – some really stupid people I know are millionaires – the property boom in particular seems to have helped with that. In many cases it simply takes a ruthless desire to do so and damn the consequences, or a specialist skill, or an inheritance, etc.

            When this story broke my first thought was that his female staff take leave to get away from him. He a boorish and lacks self awareness and seems to have little emotional intelligence. The mask slipped and it wasn’t pretty.

            Anyway I’m quite capable of putting my mind to this in a small way and keeping an eye on other stuff. I think it’s called multi-tasking.

          • Carol 8.2.1.1.2

            The attittudes and ideas AT expressed were pure NAct – “productivity” get rewarded financially, and if it doesn’t, the worker should negotitate individually with their boss…. totally out of touch with the reality for most workers, especially women and lower paid workers.

          • Janice 8.2.1.1.3

            Why should the poor nuns have their Christmas spoiled by the sight of this white slugs old naked body? Just thinking about the vision makes me feel so yukky.

          • QoT 8.2.1.1.4

            Oh, if only he’d just “said some dumb things”, Deadly. Except what actually happened is he said dumb things, repeated and defended them, claimed all criticism was just a leftwing plot, and then menaced and bullied TV3’s reporters when they asked him to back his shit up.

            Read the post. No one is surprised that Alasdair Thompson is a reactionary sexist wankstain. But he has got himself into this situation through sheer force of will, apparently ignoring all political instinct or media relations advice. And yeah, we’re going to call him on that shit.

            • KJT 8.2.1.1.4.1

              Sort of confirms the idea that you have to be a psychopath to get into the top levels in business.

      • millsy 8.2.2

        throwback to the 1870’s and 1880’s would be more accurate.

        Thompson, not you…

    • Jim Nald 9.1

      The man is remarkably transparent!
      He really shows his true colours!

      Where are his colleagues from the Embattled Employers Association ?

      Do they support his view? Will they promote his view?
      Are they keeping him on as chief?

    • ChrisH 9.2

      That interview was like somebody getting the 3rd degree from the fat ugly cop with the raincoat on Life on Mars. Oh yeah, that’s where I last saw Alisdair Thompson, in 1973.

    • rosy 9.3

      So he admits to going into work “tired and emotional” after a couple of big nights socialising, after sleeping in (being unpunctual?). Time for a verbal/written warning, if he hasn’t had one or more already.

      • QoT 9.3.1

        Well, there’s a different set of rules for those who work in a segment of society where “going out boozing with other CEOs” apparently counts as being productive …

      • The Voice of Reason 9.3.2

        ‘tired and emotional’ is an English euphemism for drunk. That’s quite an admission.

        • rosy 9.3.2.1

          ah sorry to mislead, he didn’t say tired and emotional – In the first bit of the tape he used an explanation (for his poor performance, I presume) he’d had a long dinner the night before, and the night before that. I used the quotes as if I were making the finger signals in a kind of ‘nudge, nudge, wink wink’ way. My mistake.

      • Jum 9.3.3

        Rosy

        Give him a drug test; he might be unsafe for other employees.

        Then show this film to every young woman who thinks she has attained equality, pay equity and respect for who she is.

        • rosy 9.3.3.1

          Spot on, Jum. He admitted behaviour that would get people in many industries drug-tested.

          And yeah, for those young women who thought the fight was over – watch and think again.

          • Colonial Viper 9.3.3.1.1

            The Tories have never forgotten about Class War. We need to remember that.

    • Carol 9.4

      Just watched the beginning of the interview. What a start! Telling us what an important and hard working person he is – hobnobbing with the Fonterra bosses, diplomats, regularly on TV One Breakfast…

      AT also follows the John Key school of diction, talking about some women having a difficulties with men’s tray shin!

  9. What an idiot he is, his comments would of raised eyebrows decades ago, let alone in the year 2011.

    • ChrisH 10.1

      See above, 9.2.

    • Jum 10.2

      No Brett Dale,

      He was opening the door to let women peek into what still resides in the mindspace of many men; this is why women experience low pay, rape, battering, domestic murder.

      Because men like him are in positions of power and control and have no intention of allowing any women to share that power. In order to keep that order they will resort to inequitable behaviour.

      This manspeak is just a hint of what goes on in men’s sheds, boardrooms, the backlash of men’s groups because women dare to try and break out of the box they are continually put in.

      And Key is their guru. An arch-conservative from America.

      There are so many men that know that when women are treated equally society is better and children gain from that. Unfortunately, those men are in the minority in New Zealand and globally.

      Fortunately, now that Thompson has stated unequivocally that he believes in equal pay for equal productivity, race age or gender – that is pay equity for all employees.

      As the Chair of Employers and Manufacturers I now expect them all to pursue pay equity for all their female employees and halt any lobbying for youth rates.

      I now expect them to contact Act and tell them to stop pushing for youth rates.

      • KJT 10.2.1

        “Unfortunately, those men are in the minority in New Zealand and globally”.

        No. Just less vocal!

        Decent men tend to end up in positions where they help others, rather than having power.

        I know! I know! we do need to stand up for our beliefs more.

  10. The Voice of Reason 11

    I can see some gardening leave coming Alasdair’s way. The EMA needs to get him to STFU before their credibility is fatally damaged. His interview on Nat Rad this afternoon only made things worse and the TV3 video is just painful.
     
    And, given that he is the employer of many women, a fair few of them employment lawyers, I’d say a raft of personal grievances may be coming their way. Apart from the potential loss of income claims, the hurt and humiliation settlements could be record breaking. I wonder if there is a union they could join?

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      y. The EMA needs to get him to STFU before their credibility is fatally damaged.

      They need to sack him sometime before lunchtime tomorrow. Probably announcement of resignation in time for morning report. The Campbell live interview where he gets right up in the face of Mihingarangi Forbes is just waaaaaaaaay OTT. She is made of WIN. And that’s not even getting into the shit that keeps falling all out of his mouth.

      • SHG 11.1.1

        I would just like to say… Mihingarangi Forbes, you are made of win.

        • Vicky32 11.1.1.1

          She was brilliant – she did not back down, even in the face of his behaviour…

          • felix 11.1.1.1.1

            Yep, she was a very cool cucumber standing her ground against a standover bully.

            I wish the rest of our journos could keep as cool when facing a barrage of smiles and charm.

    • Jim Nald 11.2

      Keep him on for the moment.

      This is the time for New Zealand to see him with their own eyes and hear him with their own ears.

      Is he the only one in New Zealand who says these things and think these things?

      Painful and shameful as it is to watch, make the interview go viral.

      The world needs to see this. This from the country that first gave women the vote.

      Re the video: if short of time, start watching from 19:20

      • weka 11.2.1

        “Re the video: if short of time, start watching from 19:20”
         
        How do you do that? I can never get tv3 video to start playing from the middle.

        • Jim Nald 11.2.1.1

          There is a sliding thingy ….. find the triangle icon, click once on it and move it while watching the counter change (max time is 27:57).

          • weka 11.2.1.1.1

            Ta Jim. I can move the sliding thing now but the video won’t play.

            • Jim Nald 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Let the video run for a few minutes, before you slide the triangle thingy.

              The video file needs to stream a bit more.

        • Jim Nald 11.2.1.2

          At 23:54, he stands up and walks away, back to behind his desk.

          At 24:04 and in the time of 4 seconds, he walks back towards and right up to the interviewer. At that point, I flinched and was afraid he was going to do something to her.
          I would hate to be alone, without a camera, with that guy.

      • felix 11.2.2

        Yeah people need to see how these fuckers think so they can join the dots for themselves.

        Keep him on and keep him talking.

  11. McFlock 12

    As an encore, he’ll explain why the Maori unemployment rate is 16% but European is only 5%.
     
    That was the funniest interview I’ve seen in ages. Off the record vs on, the EMA has a woman doing the books so female staff can tell their employer they have bad cramps  (he’s obviously never had a prostate exam – he’d never say such things to a woman), and he pays his female lawyers well because they don’t have children or boyfriends sorry “are more productive”.
     
    I wonder if he’ll get a paycut after this? Or get fired? Because his performance sucked.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      I know. Unbelievable. Not even useful as a ‘not what to do’. Real good example for camera operators of why you just keep rolling the tape though.

  12. Mac1 13

    The bit that got me, “red rag to a bull!”, was his assertion that the only people who would get upset with his comments were the socialists and the politically correct.

    All I can say to Alasdair Thompson, if that’s what it takes to distance myself from you, then I’m a PC Sozi! And proud.

    I’ve also had three months off work with a prostate operation, but that doesn’t count, eh?

    • Jim Nald 13.1

      I’ll join you and stand in solidarity with you as being ‘PC’, even better, make that morally correct and socially correct.
      Alasdair Thompson can be politically wrong, morally wrong and socially wrong.
      So New Zealand, are you with us or with him?

    • jackal 13.2

      I think Thompson’s ethos is typical of those who reside in generalizations. I’m not particularly fond of political correctness and I don’t associate myself with being a socialist either, so where does that leave his theories when I’m offended by his bigotries? Probably at the bottom of a bottle, which I surmise is part of the problem.

      Nice post btw Qot.

  13. YG Huang 14

    Mihingarangi Forbes: thank you for conducting an interview that would, for me, have been very difficult to sit through.

    The video is most enlightening for me.

    Is there another interview opportunity to seek his views about Asian workers and their ability to pick fruit, and Pacific workers and their ability to use toilets and showers?

  14. ianupnorth 15

    Hopefully tonight he’ll choke on his Viagra

    • Jim Nald 15.1

      Last night, it was about Key having Delhi belly.
      Tonight, it is about Thompson playing with Pfizer.

      Actually, speaking of Key, can someone ask him for comments? Hope he can be found.

      • ianupnorth 15.1.1

        People like those deserve to suffer a minute amount of suffering for the extreme suffering they have put many others through!

  15. Draco T Bastard 16

    the head of an organisation whose sole purpose is to basically convince us that everything is a beautiful level playing field and pay is totally based on ability but also maybe you shouldn’t tell anyone else what you’re paid because then, um, the total fairness of your pay might shock you so much you’ll get confused and fall down.

    IMO, if everybody could see the books and how much they were actually worth for the business that they worked for there’d be a general strike by morning. That CEO getting the big bucks – yeah, they’re not actually worth that much it’s just how much they, as The Keepers of the Secret Books, say that they’re worth.

  16. Hilary 17

    He’s also a cheerleader for youth rates so obviously prejudiced against young people too.

  17. Ari 18

    This guy isn’t just wrong, he’s fractally wrong, that is, he believes things that make sure that everything else he believes are wrong- things like that the gender pay gap doesn’t exist after adjusting for leave, (that’s already counted in) or that measuring pure output is a good way to assess whether an employee is useful, (you also have to measure their contribution to other people’s output, the quality of their work beyond just the amount of it, whether their effect on the organisation or its public image is positive, etc…) and many other things. He’s clearly disconnected himself from reality and is not capable of doing anything useful- a great candidate for firing or demotion.

    • Jim Nald 18.1

      I know a party, which again will be forming a government with National, that has a political cemetery of the male, pale and stale.

      He would be a most suitable candidate for that party – no screening needed, no questions asked, and he is now for sale.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      He’s clearly disconnected himself from reality and is not capable of doing anything useful- a great candidate for firing or demotion.

      ?

      In the capitalist world he’s now perfectly ready to become CEO or perhaps join a few more Boards of Directors.

  18. Sookie 19

    That TV3 interview was just epic car crash stuff, I was sitting there with my gob gaping not believing what I was seeing. The way he got in the interviewers face and did the old bossy abusive male standover tactics thing was more revealing than any of the shit he spouted. Hey sexist toad, since I don’t have kids or take the day off when I’m on ze rag can I get a payrise? 🙂

    • SHG 19.1

      That TV3 interview was just epic car crash stuff, I was sitting there with my gob gaping not believing what I was seeing.

      Couldn’t look away. Couldn’t believe it.

  19. HC 20

    Great that Alasdair Thompson has outed himself in the way he did. Now every one that may have given that man the benefit of the doubt will be able to clearly see, what kind of arrogant, sexist, elitist and narrow minded, bigoted idiot is heading the employers in this country.

    His arguments are so idiotic, it is so funny, but I am sure that few women can laught about this.

    If women are supposed to be less productive due to their monthly period, then that is not a valid argument. It is practice that people have a number of sick days to take off. That is ok, and both men and women are entitled to do this. As a somewhat backward country NZ offers only 5 sick days per year, that are the legal minimum. So many employers only grant that number of days.

    After that the leave has to be taken as holiday or unpaid leave. Since the year has 12 months that means that women who may actually take a day off due to suffering too much when they have their period, will mostly have to take off days as holidays or unpaid leave. That does not negatively affect the employer. Of course employers want staff to take NO days off at all, but then this is unreasonable and totally unrealisitic, as most people, men and women, will be ill at some times.

    Since most women work in offices, retail shops or some in processing positions, they have proven to be much faster on keyboards, faster doing certain repetitive manual work and generally are more committed than many of their male colleagues. One would therefore think that this would well compensate for any leave that SOME women take due to menstrual stress and sufferings.

    This whole debate started by A. Thompson is so bizarre and riduculous, it should not be an issue at all that women take off sick leave for whatever reasons.

    It proves once again that many employers want their staff to function like robots and never get ill, never have sick children, never have male or female health problems.

    My view is that Alasdair Thomspson has discredited himself and the organisation he represents to such a degree that the most decent thing would be for him to resign – or be sacked!

  20. bobo 21

    best pic of interview. http://twitpic.com/5fmrne

  21. Luva 22

    I think the 63 comments that were posted at the time I wrote this clearly indicate that this guy is considered a complete fucking tool by 99.9% of the population.

    Some here are attempting to paint him as a representative of the right or the white middle class male. He quite clearly is neither.

    Whenever a righty comes out and says something that upsets the frail senses of the left, you usually have numerous righties here defending the controversial comment. In this case, there is total silence from the right. In other words everyone across the board thinks this guy is a fucktard.

    • Descendant Of Smith 22.1

      Maybe maybe not.

      I’ve seen the private personas of some well established male white middle class businessmen and this is perfectly reflective.

      I’ve also seen plenty that don’t think and behave in this way as well.

    • Carol 22.2

      His ideas are pure NAct: ie that high “productivity” is rewarded financially; if not the worker should negotiate a more adequate salary with their boss individually; that examples of (women) workers he uses are all in well-salaried professional jobs (lawyers etc).

      And as for his idea that a worker will be “productive’ if they are passionate about their jobs…. I wonder how “passionate” the cleaners at his business are about cleaning AT’s toilets?

      I believe their is research that shows more women than men tend find it difficult to ask their employers for more pay. AT’s “evidence” is as good as a lot of Key, Joyce & Blinglish’s dodgy stats – ie, it turned out AT’s evidence was from ONE workplace – hardly representative enough to explain the unequal pay gap across the board.

      The guy’s totally clueless about the reality of work life for the majority of workers, especially those on middle and low incomes. And he is HEAD of the Employers association? – and has no idea about the situations of employees they deal with!

      • Descendant Of Smith 22.2.1

        No he knows perfectly well and will think it’s funny. He will even joke about it with his fellow executives who are of a like mind He won’t joke about it with ones who are not..

        They will have pet nicknames for the feminists and the trade unionists that oppose these types of behaviours and fight for workers which they use when they are out of earshot.

        • Carol 22.2.1.1

          Well, that may be, but us human beings can be contradictory, especially when it comes to a (lack of) match up between the ways we behave and the ethos we espouse. I think at some level, the things AT said in the interview are things he believes. But the self contradictions may explain the muddled and fragmented nature of the ideas he was expressing.

    • Pascal's bookie 22.3

      Luva. Representing employers is his job. The EMA could hardly be described as ‘left’. He ranted on about socialists and nanny state, and PC and all the other little right wing shiboleths. It’s true that there are no righties here defending him, but care to bet that there aren’t any at KB painting him as some sort of victim of a liberal media beat up?

    • Murray 22.4

      Exactly! fuckwits like this exist on all sides of the political spectrum

      • QoT 22.4.1

        And you know what, Murray, I’d be equally pissed off if Andrew Little had said this. But he didn’t. I’m not going to ignore Alasdair Thompson’s sexism just because some leftwing dudes are also misogynist. And as Carol has adequately explained above, it is a distinctly rightwing move to use sexism (and racism and ableism and ageism) to justify shitting on workers.

    • Frida 22.5

      Nah Luva, the usual suspects at the Sewer are defending him….

  22. millsy 23

    As I said before, what a douchebag.

  23. ianupnorth 24

    Want to read about another of his ilk and how they will get off with their abusive behaviour?
     
    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/80722,news-comment,news-politics,how-strauss-kahns-wife-could-buy-his-freedom,2

  24. Jenny 25

    Why bosses love being able to pay women less.

    The motive behind Alasdair Thompson’s bigotry.

    I once got a job at Masport foundry on the Mt Wellington Highway.

    Masport is a large manufacturing plant in South Auckland. The conditions in the largest part of the factory are not so bad, the work involves machine operating, assembly and packing. The main part of the Masport factory though noisy, is well lit and airy, and like many factories in South Auckland, most of the people doing this work were women.

    The worst party of the factory was the foundry, where all the steel components were cast before going into the main factory to be worked up.

    The foundry was hot noisy and dark with no natural light. The air was thick with the black sooty grit that was mixed with solvents that combined with the grit are pressed into the molds that the molten steel is poured into. After cooling the molds are broken apart and the grit is carried away in overhead conveyors to be used again. All the machinery walls and floor were covered in this black gritty soot and it hung thickly in the air. Combined with the noxious fumes from the smelting process itself, the air was filthy. Apart from the foul air and the noise, the biggest immediate danger to our health was from being splashed with hot steel in the pouring process resulting in horrific burns.

    The workers all have to wear heavy leather aprons and steel capped boots with gaiters and perspex visors over our faces.

    Despite the work being hot and dangerous and heavy a surprising number of the foundry workers were also women.

    I asked an older male worker why?

    He told me that the original foundry workforce had been all white European males, but because of the foul and dangerous conditions they had all left. He then told me that for a long time the workforce were mostly P.I. and Maori men who generally are paid less than Pakeha, but the company also had trouble hiring these men for this work, on the wages they paid.

    In the end the company began placing women workers from the main workforce into the foundry.

    • The Voice of Reason 25.1

      Interesting comment, Jenny. I used to work a few hundred metres away in the Dulux paint factory and would often talk with Masport workers in the Trust pub located between the two sites or on the bus home. Dulux also had a high PI workforce, which was a fantastic education for me. As at Masport, the PI’s often got the shit jobs, but to be fair, a few made it to more senior positions, mainly I think because it was such a well unionised site.

  25. Were i to kick off a Kiwibog campaign, where i jump out and surprise RWNJ’s by showering them with a bucket of bullshit while a mate films it for youtube, this asshole would be right up there…top of the list.

  26. ianupnorth 27

    There is also a strong body of evidence that some of the parenting theory from the UK in the post war years was specifically ‘tainted’ to ensure the women who were building planes and machinery were returned back to the kitchen sink – as all the men coming back from war would need their jobs back.
     
    On a similar note, the first influx of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the UK were to do the jobs that white people would not take – spot a trend?

  27. Frida 28

    Mrs Thompson was waiting for him when he got home and she had a good case of PMT brewed up just for him.

    What a tool.

  28. leftiewestie 29

    Dont be thinking his wife will have him on rations. She came out in support of him commenting that their daughter takes time off with PMT!! I am gratified to think that even those on the right are squirming with the sheer ignorance of the man. Ooh sorry have to go and have a lie down – I’m having a flush/flood…

    • Frida 29.1

      Actually, seriously (and sadly) after watching that whole Mihi Forbes interview (and feeling quite scared for her at the end, what a legend she is), I rather suspect Mrs Thompson doesn’t have a lot to say in her household……

    • The Voice of Reason 29.2

      From the Herald:

      ‘Last night, Mr Thompson’s wife, Joan, stood by her husband of 40 years, saying he was “absolutely not sexist, not a dinosaur, he absolutely believes in equal pay for equal work”.

      Mrs Thompson said she had never taken sick leave for menstruation, but their daughter was “totally different”.’

      Given the clench fists and overbearing stance Thompson took with the TV3 reporter, I doubt Mrs Thompson is going to risk getting the bash by stepping out of line.

  29. Frida 30

    Anyway, my two cents’ worth on what he had to say:

    1. I don’t have children unfortunately. I can’t. But what I do have is terrible problems with period cramps. Most months I struggle on at work absolutely drugged to the eyeballs with prescription only painkillers. Sometimes however, the pain gets too much and all I can do is lie on the floor in the foetal position and groan. When that happens, I have to call in sick. But, guess what, because of the sexist, discriminatory men AND women in management positions at my workplace I always lie and say I have a migraine.

    2. Despite the health issue mentioned above, I am still one of the highest billers at my level in my workplace (a law firm, I am a lawyer).

    3. Despite being one of the highest billers at my level, I am one of the lowest paid. All the men at my level are paid higher. One is paid $30 k higher. When asked about this, my employer told me they “think very carefully about relativities.” They refused to provide specifics however.

    4. When the relativities are explored they are as follows: Me and said man finished law school at same time, i.e. we have been admitted to the bar for the same length of time; we both have post-graduate law degrees; we have both worked in London at large international law firms; clients love both of us.

    5. Despite all the issues in 4, said man still receives $30 k more than me. Explain THAT one, Mr Thompson (bearing in mind what I said in 2. that I am one of the highest billers in my organisation, thereby ticking the box on your ridiculous “productivity” score card.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Jenny 30.1

      Frida your courage is an inspiration to us all.

      As the saying goes “A Woman has to work twice as hard as a Man to be thought of as half as good”.

      But why should it have to be this way?

      The way Thompson talks you would think that men never had any health problems.

      What a jerk!

      A total disgrace.

      • Frida 30.1.1

        Thanks Jenny, it’s a topic that really winds me up (along with so many in New Zealand at the moment).

        I think there’s a spot in the ACT party for someone like Mr Thompson.

        If we can take anything from his comments it’s that we young women can’t be complacent. Older women definitely did the hard yards for us but we can’t sit back. There’s fighting still to be done.

  30. randal 31

    I wanna marry a 30 year old dead virgin.
    pure and unstained.

  31. the sprout 32

    glad to have you posting here again QoT

  32. McFlock 33

    I’ve been mulling it over, and have come to the conclusion that AT is in no way sexist. Indeed, he is a sincere advocate for payment based solely on productivity. And as for not wanting any records being kept to assess whether women truly are being paid less because of kids and periods, he simply feels that his feminism is so powerful he doesn’t need to talk about it. 🙂

    • policywonk 33.1

      McFlock – you’ve observed that AT is in no way sexist. Indeed, he is a sincere advocate for payment based solely on productivity.

      I don’t support your conclusion. AT’s comments were very poorly delivered and his patronising approach was disappointing for a person holding his position of responsibility.

      Unfortunately ATs comments are supported (at least in a small way) by empirical research and that confounds the whole issue. Back in 2009 a study entitled Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap was undertaken by Ichino and Moretti, and was published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

      They noted that absences with a 28-day cycle explained a significant fraction of the male-female absenteeism gap, and that the gap attributed to this reason disappeared for workers aged 45 years or older.

      Interestingly the researchers found that there’s also a observable difference in shirking – more prevalent amongst men than women.

      The study concluded that absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8 percent of the earnings gender differential.

      The problem with AT’s approach is his poor delivery and patronising attitude…. plus a fair dollop of shallow and self-serving media coverage.

      • McFlock 33.1.1

        I was taking the piss with a rick giles reference (“my argument is so powerful…”).

        As for your study, it just demonstrates that “it must be periods” would probably be number 7 or 8 on the list explaining the gender pay gap, rather the first or second.

        Frankly, his priorities and behaviour are a definite indicator as to what might be number one on the list.
         

        • policywonk 33.1.1.1

          Your humour escapes me and is out of place in this context – although not as inappropriate as AT’s comments.

          You comments As for your study, it just demonstrates that “it must be periods” would probably be number 7 or 8 on the list explaining the gender pay gap, rather the first or second.

          That’s why I described the study as supporting AT’s comments “in a small way”.

      • McFlock 33.1.2

        apparently there are indeed some NZ stats.

        Maybe he should have looked those up? Meh, we’re still talking f-all difference in attendance. It doesn’t seem to be much of a contributor if at all to the pay gap. 

    • Vicky32 33.2

      😀 Very good! (I am assuming you’re being funny, as others have not.)

  33. What really concerns me is Alisdair Thompson’s statement:

    “And if a person’s productivity is more or less than someone else, that will be recognised in their pay.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1106/S00750/ema-backs-and-promotes-equal-pay-for-equal-productivity.htm

    This is absolute garbage.

    Most employees are on fixed wage rates or fixed salaries and are not paid on a ‘piece-work’ basis – so how on earth is their ‘productivity’ measured?

    Isn’t it fair to say that employees paid on a fixed hourly rate (wages), and fixed yearly rate (salaries) are paid for their ‘ability’ to work (produce) as opposed to WHAT they produce?

    So – how on earth is workplace ‘productivity’ actually defined/ measured/quantified?

    Likewise, where are the meaningful statistics about leave taken for sickness/ childcare/, backed on researched FACTS and EVIDENCE?

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/women-less-productive-ema-boss-ck-95820

    “If you really want to keep some statistics, look at who takes the most sick leave. Why do they take the most sick leave? Women do in general. Why? Because, ah, you know, once a month they have sick problems.

    “Not all women, but some do. They have children that they have to take time off to go home and take leave of. Therefore their productivity — not their fault, it’s … it may be because they haven’t got it sorted out with their partners, where the partners take more responsibility for what happens outside work.” (Alisdair Thompson)
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

    • the sprout 34.1

      if only managers were paid in accordance with their productivity, relative to their workers.
      then you’d see some serious changes to pay scales.
      don’t hear AT talking much about that.

  34. Harbourview 35

    If he’s willing to be filmed acting like a controlling bully, physically threatening the interviewer, then one wonders what his behaviour is like when there are no witnesses.

    • The Voice of Reason 36.1

      Nice work, William! They’d make great screensavers for the braver staff at the EMA. BTW, doesn’t Thompson look remarkably like the current MP for Te Tai Tokerau in the first one? Separated at birth?

  35. Tigger 37

    No surprises here – National has made employers think they are all-powerful. And this is the sort of shit you get when power goes unchecked.

    Can’t see how this guy can remain – and he shouldn’t.

    Best line from my female friend (who had a health related hysterectomy at a relatively young age): How does that fucker explain why I earn less then?

  36. Tangled up in blue 38

    The NBR is here to save the day!!!

    Research backs Thompson’s period comments
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/thompson-has-no-plans-resign-over-period-drama-ck-95867

  37. My response to that NBR article – plus another which refers to a review of this ‘survey’ and finds it ‘flawed’.
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    What sort of ‘scientific’ survey is THIS?

    “A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap, found higher absenteeism due to the menstrual cycle accounted for nearly 12% of the gender pay gap.

    Rather an extrapolation isn’t it?

    FROM “Using the personnel data set of a large Italian bank,…’

    TO: “In most Western countries illness-related absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers” ?

    What also concerns me is Alisdair Thompson’s statement:

    “And if a person’s productivity is more or less than someone else, that will be recognised in their pay.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1106/S00750/ema-backs-and-promotes-equal-pay-for-equal-productivity.htm

    This is absolute garbage.

    Most employees are on fixed wage rates or fixed salaries and are not paid on a ‘piece-work’ basis – so how on earth is their ‘productivity’ measured?

    Isn’t it fair to say that employees paid on a fixed hourly rate (wages), and fixed yearly rate (salaries) are paid for their ‘ability’ to work (produce) as opposed to WHAT they produce?

    So – how on earth is workplace ‘productivity’ actually defined/ measured/quantified?

    Likewise, where are the meaningful statistics about leave taken for sickness/ childcare/, backed on researched FACTS and EVIDENCE?

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/women-less-productive-ema-boss-ck-95820

    “If you really want to keep some statistics, look at who takes the most sick leave. Why do they take the most sick leave? Women do in general. Why? Because, ah, you know, once a month they have sick problems.

    “Not all women, but some do. They have children that they have to take time off to go home and take leave of. Therefore their productivity — not their fault, it’s … it may be because they haven’t got it sorted out with their partners, where the partners take more responsibility for what happens outside work.” (Alisdair Thompson)
    _________________________________

    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com
    Penny Bright | Friday, June 24, 2011 – 1:12pm
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    reply

    Actually, a review of the Italian research by researchers at Columbia Business School found it flawed. http://tinyurl.com/6ho9gqv
    “We analyze absenteeism of teachers and find no evidence of increased female absenteeism on a 28-day cycle. We also show that the evidence of 28-day cycles in the Italian data is not robust to the correction of coding errors or small changes in specification. We show that five day workweeks can cause misleading group differences in absence hazards at multiples of 7, including 28 days.
    Anonymous | Friday, June 24, 2011 – 1:41pm

    • weka 39.1

      “We find that higher absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8% of the earnings gender differential.”
       

      I don’t get that. Surely earnings are set when the person is employed, not after some time when it’s shown they take more time off work than their male colleagues. Any correlation between menstruation and lower earnings is going to be because both have women as the common denominator i.e menstruation isn’t a causative factor.
       
      And why would lower earnings be reflected across the board anyway when only some women are affected by mentrual problems?
       
      Glad to hear that the research was crap anyway Penny.
       

      • weka 39.1.1

        “This difference disappears for workers age 45 or older. We interpret this as evidence that the menstrual cycle raises female absenteeism.
         

        That’s weird too. It’s not like all women stop bleeding at age 45. Most women have irregular periods over a number of years, and many women find that menstrual problems increase during that menopausal phase, so it wouldn’t be until maybe the late 50s that the stats would represent non-bleeding women.

        • Carol 39.1.1.1

          I responded to a comment about that research over on the handmirror, after looking at the research and another more recent study. Here’s what I posted:

          If you look into the detail of that research, Daisychain, you find that the evidence isn’t as clear-cut as you might think.
          http://www.nber.org/papers/w16523

          It says that women in the western world tend to have more absenteeism than males and that there is evidence of a 28 day cyclical pattern in one workplace, for women under 45 years. Furthermore, the conclusions for research of this Italian workplace is not supported by a more recent study.

          The original paper estimates that this female absenteeism accounts for about a third of the difference in pay by gender. They look at gendered absenteeism patterns across the western world, then look at an Italian bank workers to find explanations for this pattern.

          However, they conclude that the impact on the gender pay gap is probably because the absenteeism of women provides a signal to employers that the women are less productive. But there is no way to conclusively measure if the women who have more sick days are actually less productive than men. There is a indication in the evidence that women may be absent more than men, but that they can still be as productive as the men.

          The researchers conclude that men’s absenteeism is more due to shirking than the women’s. And the researchers say that the cyclical absenteeism of women under 45 in this one workplace, provides a noisy signal: ie it’s hard to draw strong conclusions from it.

          http://www.nber.org/papers/w12369

          This more recent (2010) research of female teachers doesn’t support the above findings:

          It finds fault with the data analysis methods of the earlier ‘Italian’ study. The abstract for the more recent research says:

          We analyze absenteeism of teachers and find no evidence of increased female absenteeism on a 28-day cycle. We also show that the evidence of 28-day cycles in the Italian data is not robust to the correction of coding errors or small changes in specification. We show that five day workweeks can cause misleading group differences in absence hazards at multiples of 7, including 28 days.

  38. grumpy 40

    All this slinging off at the Right is rubbish. Whale gets stuck into the tosser and National much harder than you guys – I won’t link to his site but I’m sure you can find it.

    • McFlock 40.1

      The right have always been quick to throw their weak to the wolves. And by “weak” they mean “anyone weaker than me”.
       
      It’s the left that believe in helping individuals to improve for the public good. But, being human, schadenfreude still happens.

  39. Jenny 41


    In my working life I have met employers who have confided in me that there is a certain group of workers that they sometimes regret hiring.

    “I will never hire another rugby player again.” I hear them say.

    When I enquire further, I am told.

    “Because they have so much time off work due to injury.”

    According to employers I have talked to, football players have lots of time off, due to injuries sustained playing this admittedly very rough male contact sport.

    Despite this view being widely accepted by employers. I have never heard one employer ever suggest, that rugby players should be paid at a lesser average hourly rate than other employees of the same skills and qualifications.

    Of course rugby players are almost universally men

    But it seems it is alright for the Employers and Manufactures Association to use this excuse to pay women less per hour?

    Even if Alastair Thompson was right and women do take more time off from work than men, is this a suitable excuse to pay women less per hour?

    Logically thinking, there is actually no justifiable connection between the two things.

    This is just pure bigotry.

    I defy anyone to argue that it isn’t.

  40. This is just old fashioned sexism that’s never gone away and won’t in capitalist society. Capitalists assume that women’s place is in the home doing unpaid domestic work. They thus constitute a reserve army taken on in ‘female’ jobs for less pay if they are needed. Paula Bennett is a woman I would say, but she shares this view which is why she wants solo parents on the DPB, mainly women, to work for no pay at home and for pay in some shitty part time job.
    So women contribute doubly and disproportionately to profits, working for no pay to raise children and care for men, and working for lower wages for equal and usually more shitty work.
    Reformists who think that by legislating they can change the attitudes of big business are deluded. Gender equality has marginally improved in the last decades but sharing of domestic work is still heavily against women. The gender pay gap has gone up and down marginally but remains probably well in excess of 15%. I never trust the stats anyway.
    So what to do? Sack Thompson sure but sack all the capitalists too and let the workers run the economy for need and not greed. Any residual male slackness will be removed in short measure so that gender equality becomes a reality not a delusion.

  41. Jenny 43


    Body language tells us a lot.

    Just as the indelible video image of Thompson standing over reporter Mihingarangi Forbes spoke volumes. So also the Stuff.co photo of Alasdair Thompson in this link, conveys the impression of a guilty looking bigot caught in the act, and who knows it.

    The accompanying stuff.co article reports that there has been almost universal revulsion of Alasdair Thompsons views from right across the political spectrum.

    Jenny Shiply has demanded that the EMA take ‘decisive action’.

    With this sort of universal reaction, and the risk of complete loss of public and political credibility, the EMA would be very unwise not to heed this advice,

    But even if the EMA at their “special board meeting” on Monday, bow to the inevitable and dismiss Thompson. The question will still remain in the public mind – What sort of organisation is it – that promotes such a person up through it’s ranks to it’s highest level in the first place?

    An organisation that campaigns for youth rates?

    An organisation that persuades government to let their members sack workers without reason?

    An organisation that opposes the minimum wage being raised to a liveable level?

    An organisation that lobbied for laws that make it harder for unions to enter workplaces?

    The EMA claim that they lobby government to impose these sorts of laws not just for the selfish benefit of their members, but for the greater good of us all. This episode may well make people re-question this organisation’s motives.

    Alasdair Thompson may have done a public service by exposing the unsubstantiated prejudices that shape this organisation’s policies regarding women. But further than that also raise questions about the EMA’s motives behind their policies on youth, their policies on workers, and their policies on unions.

  42. ..One wondered what in fact the bigger issue would be to an employer A) A woman who was really good at her job and actually did take a day off every month or B) someone like Mr. Thompson who managed to be a complete plonker and a liability every day of the week? Hard to say. Mr. Thompson is also right. We all know that blokes if they had periods would roll their own tampons in some menstrual Marlboro moment and go and log pine trees to prove how macho it all was and then give themselves a monthly bonus cheque…(contin.)
    Inside out column Sick Issues.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts