- Date published:
10:52 am, March 3rd, 2009 - 50 comments
Categories: economy, International, john key, maori party, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: fishing industry, sealord
Despite making sound profits Sealord are laying off 180 workers in Nelson. They claim the move is part of restructuring and that there will be fifty new jobs aboard factory ships that will fully process fish. Remaining workers are also being asked to take a pay cut.
I’m not sure I buy that. Even with the 6-on/6-off shifts they run on these ships 50 people will struggle to process the same number of fish as 180. I know some NZ fish is catch-frozen and shipped to China for processing before being sold back into the NZ market. If this is the plan here (and so far Sealord haven’t made it clear it isn’t) then some serious questions need to be asked.
One thing is for sure though, John Key won’t be doing the asking. He’s quoted on the Herald on-line as saying:
You’ll always get quite a lot of movement in the labour market, so the challenge here, I think, is to try and hold on to as many (jobs) as you practically can and make sure you’re sending the right signals that jobs are being created.
Which basically means he sees this as a market decision that the government can, at best, send signals about. So what kind of a signal is he sending here and, if he thinks that nothing can be done, why did we just spend $65K on a summit to save jobs?
I much prefer the Maori Party’s position which is that the shareholders need to suck this one up and not try to profit at the expense of their (low-wage) workers. I wonder what steps they’ll take to see that happen?