It’s a question that most books on business etiquette don’t really cover. Maybe that’s why Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford seemed to bring it up. It’s uncharted territory.
Speaking on behalf of Business NZ at the announcement of the the panel considering Fair Pay Agreements, Milton said, “we’re pleased to be around the table because if we don’t put our concerns there we can’t stand on the outside and sort of lob hand grenades in”.
It’s a metaphor. Yes, it’s rhetorical flourish. But it still means something.
Is Milford saying that if Business NZ chose not to be involved in the discussion about Fair Pay Agreements, they would have the right to sabotage the whole process at the end, do they really think that?
New Zealand’s premiere business lobby appears to have a problem with Fair Pay Agreements – we’re not sure what it is yet, because neither we, nor they, know what shape they’ll take. That’s up for consultation, in fact, that they and the union movement and Government will all be part of, so everyone gets to have their say. But just the idea that there should even be a set of basic minimum standards for all employees in a particular job is seems so outrageous to them that – boom! grenades!-sounds like a legitimate response.
That’s simply not rational and it shows a business leadership not equipped to deal with real world problems.
Because the extension of their metaphor is still, whether you are inside or outside the meeting, you have a hand grenade. You like to talk about your hand grenade and, when you get invited to “the meeting”, you still won’t say whether you are leaving your hand grenade at home. Even then, “I only lob hand grenades from the outside,” is not a great character reference.
Business New Zealand have got off to a really bad start on Fair Pay Agreements. Concealed carry isn’t the Kiwi way – we’d rather talk it out than drift into some Texas saloon situation.
Unions and government seem ready to work out ways to protect our living standards and local business from unfair competition. You’d expect more common sense and less gunslinging from those same business’ self-declared mouthpiece.