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Job survivor island

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, January 13th, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: ,

The CTU have launched the latest of their quirky and cute campaigns. Job Survivor Island illustrates the effects on real people of the boss being able to sack you without cause while you are denied legal redress. 1 in 5 workers are sacked under fire at will. Don’t become one of them, resist fire at will provisions.

35 comments on “Job survivor island ”

  1. Wonderful title.

    Of course this is just more evidence of what compassionate caring people some employers, at least those that fund the National Party, are.

    They just need the ability to pay young people less, to sack workers without reason, to prevent union access to sites and everything will be better. In fact we will catch up with Australia!

    What? We are falling further behind? How can this be?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Nice name change dude lolz

      Hey if they cut the minumum wage by 10%, and bring back a youth rate at 25% less, does that mean that unemployment is going to fall by 10% and 25% respectively?

      Hahaha. The only sure thing in that scenario is that workers will get less for the same work and employers get to keep more. But that can’t be the real point of National’s strategy, can it???

    • ZeeBop 1.2

      This is so boring. Lots of NZ make money on capital farming because of a lack of a capital gains tax incentivises the finance growth over the organic growth. So this also means companies load up on debt. And National are buggered because debt costs are rising globally, and our NZ private sector is heavily in debt!

      So what to do? Well if its likely that companies are heavily in debt then that means they aren’t going to have the financial backing to defend their market share. And that’s where lower cost workers, more insecure employment comes in, anyone with a skill is forced to export themselves to OZ, because everyone with the skill can also compete with the heavily indebted companies, they are a threat.

      So instead of whining, start a small business, compete with those obviously indebt and loosen their hold on the National party! The Naffy Nats only do what they do because they get big bucks from heavily indebt capital farmers.
      Duh. So build organic business that growth self-sustainable – pretty much a prerequist with oil prices trends, and the far right who control the legislator and media will shrive up and die.

      Or else they will continue to rig the legislative mix to harm the majority.

  2. Chris73 2

    Umm I tried but I couldn’t fire anyone…what a stink website

    (also 1 in 5 are only estimates so until the figures are in I think you’re being a naughty little scamp :))

  3. higherstandard 3

    The CTU need to up their game, this is the kind of thing I’d expect from a third form IT project not the CTU.

    D- must do better.

    • Puddleglum 3.1

      HS, shame on you. I’m shocked.

      I never took you as a fellow traveller with all those leftie-liberal cultural elitists who look down their noses at sub-standard manifestations of popular consumer culture!! Or that you were like those poncey ‘creatives’ in ‘Design’ businesses who can’t bare to be aesthetically offended!

      I thought you’d be applauding the honest, no-nonsense victory of substance over image – just the kind of thing that appeals to ordinary Kiwis in their email attachments every day of the week.

      Oh no! Does this mean, HS, that you’re not an ordinary, mainstream Kiwi??? Next you’ll tell me you’re not voting for Key this year because of his amateurish, schoolboy efforts as PM …

      • higherstandard 3.1.1

        What is popular consumer culture ? – I’m an old fart explain as what would have been popular consumer culture in the early 70s.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          what would have been popular consumer culture in the early 70s.

          A period of rising wages which allowed the creation of a large middle class in society able to pay in cash for nice electrical appliances, home furnishings and the odd holiday out of town.

          Since the mid 1980’s however, wages have stagnated and a smaller and smaller share of new income has gone to workers. In order to maintain the illusion of increasing incomes, workers went more and more into debt (including personal loans, credit cards and hire purchase) in order to keep consuming.

        • Puddleglum 3.1.1.2

          CV explains the phenomenon and its development pretty well.

          You could also do worse than read David Smail’s take (Chapter 4 in ‘The Origins of Unhappiness’) on how Britain’s working class was converted to consumerism during the 1980s and the effect this had on their families, communities and emotional life (he’s a clinical psychologist). Apparently, Larry Elliot in The Guardian called it “one of the best evaluations of the eighties”.

          I was actually simply alluding to the parody of the Survivor tv series that the CTU site achieves. Survivor is a classic rendition of the way that the brute ideological assumptions of what is often called economic neo-liberalism have penetrated popular culture.

          Where else will you find such a clear competitive pitting of individual against individual? Where else will you find the deliberate engineering of loose, temporary and internally Machiavellian alliances formed to overcome other individuals? (Actually, it has been observed in other primate species, and dolphins, to be fair – but with far more complexity than that achieved for ‘popular tv culture’.)

          Where else do you get the enforcement of the inescapable rule that there is only ever one winner and that the losers lose because of some character flaw (e.g., too soft, too gullible, too outspoken …)?

          Ironically, it also demonstrates that to do this to people requires a particularly harsh social and environmental structure, deliberately designed to achieve this end. That is, you have to extract people from their actual, complex social environments and put them into an entirely artificial one where no support can be called upon. Sums up quite neatly the general tendency of our social experience over the past 30 years.

  4. Can’t we just sack Jeff Probst instead?

  5. Acting Up 5

    Sadly, the “one in five” figure of those sacked is not an estimate. An academic study, delivered at an employment conference at Victoria University last November, showed that under the 2009 legislation (“fire- at-will” for employers 20 staff or under), employers surveyed reported that they had dismissed 20% of staff taken on under the 90 day provision.

    The study indicated that most of those sacked were young workers.

    It also indicated that using the 90 day rule to give young or risky workers a “go” at employment (something the National-led government stated was a major purpose of this legislation) was not why employers take people on under this probationary clause. The major reason can be boiled down to “we took them on because we had work to do anyway, and we sacked them because we could”.

    • Chris73 5.1

      In other words 4 out of 5 staff taken on under the 90 day provision wern’t sacked…

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Lolz Chris73, did you have to look up the spinners playbook for that one?

        • Chris73 5.1.1.1

          Well you know what they say about lies, damned lies and statistics…I’d like to know how many were sacked because they didn’t measure up

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            I’d like to know how many were sacked because they didn’t measure up

            Me too. I’d like to know how many got the sack because the managers and business owners didn’t measure up.

            • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1.1.1.1

              That’d be one in five, CV. Any boss using this legislation is incompetent, venal or just a bully.

              But Chris has accidentally pointed out the major nastiness in the fire at will bill. The cowardly bosses don’t have to give a reason, so he will never know the percentage that genuinely weren’t up to it.

          • mickysavage 5.1.1.1.2

            Let’s celebrate, only 20% lost their jobs for a reason they will never know. This … makes … me … feel … gutted for the 20%.

            I bet amongst the 20% were the next generation of Trade Union Delegates who had the temerity to think about workers rights.

            If you want a docile workforce then I guess you probably think it is a good idea.

  6. nadis 6

    “1 in 5 workers sacked under fire at will” is a very emotive headline, but what are the actual numbers?

    Acting up – do u have a link to that study? Does it also address how many of those young workers taken on, and subsequently fired would not have been given a chance as a permanent employee? I know of younger employees given a go under this law who would not have been given a chance as a permanent employee. Of the two i have personal knowledge of (brothers retail business in Hamilton, friends import retail supply business in Albany) one was kept on, one wasn’t. Look! the actual numbers are worse – it is actually 1 in 2 of workers sacked under the evil law. Yet neither of these would have got a permanent job with either employee on day 1, so 1 of the 2 is better off with a permanent job, the other at least had a chance she wouldn’t otherwise have got.

    And as an aside, the CTU campaign is dreadful. If a builder, nurse, farmer, call centre operator or accountant is hired and then fired within 90 days then it will almost certainly because either

    1. they lied about their skill level, or
    2. they are completely incompatible with existing staff or
    3. the business has unexpectedly had a negative P&L event (little difference for the worker as he/she would probably get laid off with few if any benefits anyway)

    99.9% of employers aren’t going to dump a skilled and useful employee in order to artificially temp the workforce. Yes you will get some idiot employers who do this, name and shame them. Warn prospective employees away.

    If you replaced the jobs with labourer, unskilled restaurant staff, fruit picker, street sweeper etc then it might make more sense. But then that wouldn’t be so falsely emotive to the middle class that Labour lost and is trying to woo back.

    The reality is that workers without skills will always struggle to capture any kind of monoply pricing power. In the glorious olden days unions could organise to artificially achieve monopoly power with the complicity of government but today, labour costs, particularly unskilled or semi skilled are replacable by machinery, productivity improvements or transportable across borders.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      And as an aside, the CTU campaign is dreadful. If a builder, nurse, farmer, call centre operator or accountant is hired and then fired within 90 days then it will almost certainly because either

      1. they lied about their skill level, or
      2. they are completely incompatible with existing staff or
      3. the business has unexpectedly had a negative P&L event (little difference for the worker as he/she would probably get laid off with few if any benefits anyway)

      4. the manager or owner who hired them was shit and not only a poor performance manager, but probably acting in bad faith originally.

      The reality is that workers without skills will always struggle to capture any kind of monoply pricing power.

      Lolz buddy recent NZ graduates are being treated like shit in the workforce. They have skills but no leverage in this high unemployment, wage suppression, capital favouring environment.

      That’s why they are all leaving for Australia and Asia.

      In the glorious olden days unions could organise to artificially achieve monopoly power with the complicity of government but today, labour costs, particularly unskilled or semi skilled are replacable by machinery, productivity improvements or transportable across borders.

      You are a fool.

      Power comes from the ability to organise and co-ordinate. In the last 30 years, capital has had the upper hand on this front.

      No longer.

      99.9% of employers aren’t going to dump a skilled and useful employee in order to artificially temp the workforce.

      Like I said, a fool.

    • “1. they lied about their skill level, or
      2. they are completely incompatible with existing staff or
      3. the business has unexpectedly had a negative P&L event (little difference for the worker as he/she would probably get laid off with few if any benefits anyway)”

      There is no need for the 90-day provision to exist for these types of employees to be dismissed. They can be already be dismissed under the status quo regime. Specifically
      1. Equivalent to serious misconduct – lying on CV/and or cover letter.
      2. There will be three possible reasons for this:
      (a) said employee isn’t pulling weight, and colleagues are annoyed about this.
      (b) said employee is harrassing other staff and/or acting in a manner that is not appropriate for the work environment.
      (c) Other staff are harrassing said employee – not the employee’s fault – look at management practice.
      3. Redundancy is a fairer option for employees, because being fired for no reason, could in fact be any reason, therefore if an employee is dismissed this way without them knowing why – how do they deal with this episode in their employment history; for e.g. an employee could be dismissed for P&L reasons, but not told why – next potential employer (or agency) finds out about the nature of termination but not the reason – and immediately moves on the next applicant.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        the best reason to fire a new employee is if the boss’ wife takes an eye to the new hire, well too bad for him, he’s gone.

  7. Chris73 7

    I’ve had a couple of interviews recently (always good to see if theres a better offer out there) and I’ve stated that not only do I not have a problem with the 90 day law but that I actually welcome it (but then again I’m a motivated and skilled worker so it doesn’t affect me)

    • Puddleglum 7.1

      If you’re a motivated and skilled worker why on earth would you ‘welcome it’? It gives your boss the ability to sack you irrespective of how skilled or motivated you are.

      It seems odd (irrational, if you like) to ‘welcome’ something that arbitrarily puts your job at greater risk despite your attributes as a worker. (Unless you are naively thinking that no boss would ever want to ‘let you go’ simply because you are ‘skilled and motivated’. There are all sorts of reasons – and circumstances – why bosses need ‘short hires’ that they might want to pass off as ‘long term employment prospects’. e.g., a big order that might not get renewed but requires a dedicated – and motivated – workforce.)

      • Chris73 7.1.1

        I welcome it because:

        Like me there are a number of people as good as me so this way the boss can see just how good I actually am because If I dont fit with the company for whatever reasons I can be replaced (its hard to tell how someone will go just in an interview)

        I’m not bothered BECAUSE I’m skilled and motivated which means I don’t go for entry-level, minimum wage positions but positions where permanancy and stability is required (but yes I have done the minimum wage thing just to build the resume)

        But if I did get let go within 90 days I wouldn’t have a problem with it as i said, I mean who wants to work for a company that doesn’t want them, in which case the position would go on my resume as a temp job

  8. nadis 8

    CV. How about actually debating the points rather than just a throw away line “you’re a fool”. When my children talk like that I ask them to “use your words”

    Have you actually worked for a living in the private sector? Or employed people? Or been responsible for productivity? because your one liners would indicate not. Newsflash – most employers in NZ are small businesses, live in local communities, pay the bulk of tax in NZ, employ the bulk of employees in NZ and take their responsibilities as producers of wealth for themselves and their staff seriously. Keep on dissing them.

    Why would your manager in point 4 hire someone anyway with no expectation of needing them?

    Why does pointing out the effect of cross border mobility of capital and labour/labour costs make me a fool? Did you not study economics in 6th form?

    For recent graduates add experience to skill and that’s why some may struggle to get the first job of their dreams. NZ is a shallow employment pool even in good times – I went overseas for same reasons at same age – better options offshore. Why is that a surprise?

    Why would an employer trying to build a sustainable business put it at risk by high staff turnover? Again if you ever interacted with a real employer you would know that all the sensible ones value good employees as they are better for customers and therefore good for the business, therefore good for their profitability.

    And if you only see society as a winner takes all conflict between human capital and financial capital, then I have bad news for you. Fortunately it is not, but the supply of labour is increasing dramatically, financial capital is increasing draatically AND and becoming more concentrated, work out the ramifications of all that.

    You are a one dimensional sloganeer. I suspect you have a had a very bad personal experience with an employer, but please get some help. We aren’t all red horned devils. Some of us are actually part of NZ society! The Stonecutters are actually fictional.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT0WEFs2S90&feature=related

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      You are a one dimensional sloganeer. I suspect you have a had a very bad personal experience with an employer, but please get some help. We aren’t all red horned devils. Some of us are actually part of NZ society! The Stonecutters are actually fictional.

      Meh. Workers are voting with their feet. You think that employers are providing such rosy prospects for NZ workers and graduates: why have 530,000 of them left for Australia and another unspecified number left to work in Asia and Europe.

      And for your information – I have plenty of private sector work experience 😀

      And if you only see society as a winner takes all conflict between human capital and financial capital

      You real want to refer to the citizens of this country as “human capital”???

      Frak off. Our people are not your money making resource.

      Why would your manager in point 4 hire someone anyway with no expectation of needing them?

      As a hedge against potential business demand. A hedge which can be disposed off easily if it doesn’t happen or if the season finishes early.

      Have you actually worked for a living in the private sector? Or employed people?

      Yes. Yes. What of it mate.

      I went overseas for same reasons at same age – better options offshore. Why is that a surprise?

      Its not a surprise. Who said it was a surprise? Anyone can see that the money and the opportunities don’t exist in this country – unless you were born into wealth and connections.

      Try finding a $24/hr job in this country. Good frakkin luck. Go to Australia and get that much waitressing.

  9. Chris73 9

    A waitressing job is not worth $24 bucks an hour unless there is a dramatic raise (one that not even Labour could bring about ;)) in the worth of every other job in NZ

    • QoT 9.1

      A wonderful capitalist response there, Chris, conflating “pay” with “worth”.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      Turns out that Chris73 is not much of a Right Winger or a neoliberal free marketer.

      Isn’t it true that a waitressing job is worth what the market will pay for it? And in Australia (the Gold Coast at least) that sum is AU$24/hr. $48/hr on stat days.

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