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Key writes off Sealord jobs

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, March 3rd, 2009 - 50 comments
Categories: economy, International, john key, maori party, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: ,

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?

50 comments on “Key writes off Sealord jobs ”

  1. BLiP 1

    John Key – the man who so loves the under class he celebrates its growth

  2. burt 2

    Do you think that the recent increase in the minimum wage has made it more attractive to move more of the human labour tasks off-shore ?

  3. Tane 3

    Burt – if they’re asking people to take a pay cut then by definition they can’t be on minimum wage. Interesting to see you’re suggesting we try to compete with China on wages though – good luck with that.

  4. burt 4

    Tane

    Don’t be a twit Tane. Yeh like we can really compete with $0.50/month… We are talking about peoples jobs Tane, you might want to reduce it to National did this and Labour did that – but these are real issues mate.

  5. Billy 5

    IB,

    What do you suggest the government do? Legislate to require Sealord to employ these people? What do you think the last government would have done in this position?

    • IrishBill 5.1

      Ideally yes. But that’s not going to happen so at the very least I would like to hear that John Key has talked to the director and is satisfied they are doing this because they have to not just because they want to increase their profit. If this is the case then he should come out strongly and publicly against them doing it. Just as the Maori party has.

      • Billy 5.1.1

        I think you’re onto something, IB. The government can legislate for every business to employ a certain number of people on a certain wage. They could be scheduled and gazetted from time to time.

        We could also make it illegal for a business to go broke.

        • IrishBill 5.1.1.1

          There’s that Billy wit I like so much. The quota system is about the allocation of shared resources. Perhaps quota should not be allocated to companies that don’t return a certain amount of that resource as jobs.

          But aside from that you should (with that quick wit) be able note that the main thrust of my argument was that the “market signal” that Key sends on the issue can be a little stronger than “Que Sera, Sera”.

  6. Tane 6

    I’m not reducing it to National/Labour, burt. I’m just pointing out the fallacy in your argument. I do agree with Bill though that Key’s response was pretty weak. The workers deserve better from the Government than “go down the road”. Not that I think Labour would have been any better.

  7. A lot of the workers probably own shares.

    • gingercrush 7.1

      WTF? Oh yes Sealord and the people that own it were like here workers lets give you some shares.

  8. vto 8

    So then the Sealord owners must also be part of the conspiracy / secret agenda / etc to drive down wages and the like (following the reasoning and suggestions of many Standard posters).

    Could somebody please name the shareholders and/or directors of Sealord who are part of this secret agenda?

  9. Quoth the Raven 9

    I think this demonstrates the wisdom of our Waitangi settlements – money for the neo-tribal elites – corporatism to the resuce.

  10. rave 10

    Key doesnt care about Sealord. Why should he its got to compete to get a return on capital, so cut its labor costs. That capitalism.
    Sealord should be a cooperative, not left to number crunchers to moan about $7m lost on excess wages. Those wages are survival for families. Junk capitalist survival of the fittest mentality.
    Socialise the fishing industry let the workers run it and find new markets and conserve the rapidly depleting fish stock that the vast majority of the world needs to live on, not a few rich Asians dining out.

  11. Tigger 11

    The hypocrisy I see is whining one week about job losses and saying we have to do something (Wayne Mapp on Swazi) vs this week saying it’s just movement in the labour market.

  12. gingercrush:

    A lot of companies do give their workers some shares.

    • DeeDub 12.1

      Source?

      • Matthew Pilott 12.1.1

        I can vouch for Brett, it does happen. Well I don’t know about ‘a lot’ but it is definitely a standard from of remuneration or an incentive.

        I’m not sure that’s something sealord does, and I know I’d rather have my job, than have some shares that might go up minimally as the market reacts to a company frining workers by rewarding the major shareholders.

  13. vto 13

    So is Sealord a member of the master game plan to drive down wages for the benefit of the capitalists, as this action illustrates by Standard standards, or not?

    Or is it just a single entity out there acting on its ownsome and doing the best it can like the rest of us?

    • Matthew Pilott 13.1

      Yeah, vto, it’s called the Market. Good spotting.

      Grab your yellow pages and start at page 1.

      • vto 13.1.1

        Silly.

        Its just that on here there is a constant barrage from quite a few commenters, and The Standard itself, that there is some sort of large and organised secret plan to drive down wages, slash at workers rights, and generally squash flat the lower paid workers.

        If they are right then Sealord, by these actions, are part of the gang. So to those posters – name some names etc. This is an opportunity to put some meat on the ragged bones of that secret agenda claim. Put up or shut up.

        (its all shut up at the moment..)

        • Matthew Pilott 13.1.1.1

          It’s probably ‘shut up’ because you are making wild and absurd claims that aren’t worth refutation.

          I’ll try and coax you into making sense:

          National may or may not be trying to drive down wages, remove rights, etc, through their actions.

          Please tell me upon what grounds you’re saying that Sealord must be part of this plan.

          • vto 13.1.1.1.1

            Well thats the thing you see – I dont know see how Sealord could be. They are just a company out there doing the biz, nothing more nothing less. It just doesn’t make sense that they would be part of a secret agenda master plan. So, given that, how can any other entity / organisation be part of such a plan? And consequently, how can such a secret agenda plan actually exist?

            It, as one small example, just goes right to the heart of the Standard’s claim of a secret agenda last year.

            Hence the shut uppedness

  14. Knowing people who use to work for westpac and knowing people who have worked with certain fastfood chains and knowing people who have worked for telecommunications companies.

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    So vto (in the continuing [although obviously somewhat futile] attempt to extract sense from you), please state who said Sealord must be part of the ‘master plan’, and what, specifically is in this master plan that implies a complicit level of collusion between government and a business such as Sealord to the scale you’re interpreting?

    While we’re at it, assume for a minute that Sealord is not part of a right-wing National party agenda. Please state how that proves how such an agenda cannot exist.

    If neither of the above are doable, feel free to admit that you’re torching straw men right-and-centre for kicks or something equally pointless.

    • vto 15.1

      Don’t ask me, ask the lefties on here that keep asserting such a master plan and collusion exists. That is my whole point.

      It cannot be proved either way. Just like ‘secwet agenda’ that the Standard claimed last year over and over and over and over. Secret plans and conspiracies cannot, by their very nature, be proved. It is all just pointless and rubbish this secret right wing agenda. And the sealord action and example, which fits perfectly with such an agenda, just highlights it.

      I give up.

      • Matthew Pilott 15.1.1

        No vto, you’re making the assertion here. You and no one else. When asked about it, you shrug and say ‘don’t ask me’ because you can’t find anyone saying that every business in NZ is in league with National etc, nor can you find details of the master plan that shows that National are colluding with big business. Why – because you’re making straw men.

        To be clear:

        1) it’s perfectly possible that National has a right wing agenda that they haven’t been up front about. Agree/disagree?

        2) if such an agenda exists, it’s possible that every business in New Zealand is not party to such an agenda. Agree/disagree?

        3) there are no grounds for assuming that the actions of Sealord are part of a conscious effort by Sealord, in Collaboration with National, to implement an evil master plan. Agree/disagree?

        4) trying to pass off 3) as 1) is an effort by vto to discredit the notion of National having a right-wing agenda by making up silly comments, attributing them to authors at The Standard, and they saying it’s impossible that such a thing could be the case and you give up trying to explain, when it’s clear that you’re making a straw-man argument.

        Give up? Please. It’s childish and fairly pathetic coming from someone who has shown a better level of intellectual honesty in the past.

        • vto 15.1.1.1

          ask rave re raging evil colluding capitalists

          ask travellerev re you know what.

          assertion last year re insurance business and nats by standard.

          ask cullen re nats big business mates assertions and the insuations he tried to cement.

          ask clark re same last year. dishonest.

          there plenty examples of such assertions by lefties.

          you are very good at slanting off a particular point and making it seem like the point when it isn’t.

          gotta get the kids dinner.

  16. Snail 16

    anyone noticed how Billy’s full of government answers suddenly..? Cannae find private or even corporate answers..?

    And thereby leaves one thoughtfully wondering about the sincerity expressed and otherwise undisplayed at the Jobs summat last week..

  17. TightyRighty 17

    Cullen writes off countries future. thats an article i’d like too see round here. never happen though, only the right gets critiqued. the left can do no harm.

    • Matthew Pilott 17.1

      That was a comment really worth typing.

      • Billy 17.1.1

        Well you thought it was commenting on. And I thought your comment on his comment was worth commenting on. So I’m going to say the whole thing must have been worthwhile.

        • Matthew Pilott 17.1.1.1

          He makes a quick pointless comment that’s meant to be pointed, and I make a quick point that’s meant to mock the pointlessness of his comment. Yours is a less quick pointed comment pointing out pointlessness or lack thereof. What’s the point?

  18. IrishBill 18

    This is why I was against the “reply” function.

    • Billy 18.1

      I’m with you, IB. Addressing a commenter before was as easy as “Oi, IB, don’t you think…”.

      I much prefer the straight linear progression.

      • Matthew Pilott 18.1.1

        It does mean that a debate can be at several points throughout a comment thread, which isn’t always the easiest to follow. And then you get people like me…

        • Tane 18.1.1.1

          Yeah, I’m anti… it just kind of showed up one day when Lynn upgraded to the new version of WordPress. Not sure what can be done.

          • Felix 18.1.1.1.1

            Irony. That is all.

          • IrishBill 18.1.1.1.2

            Perhaps we should have a post about whether we should keep the reply function or return to the flat comment string. It seems democratic to ask commenters.

            • lprent 18.1.1.1.2.1

              Sounds like an idea will do tommorrow

              • bill brown

                Yay, while your at it we couldn’t have the longer list of recent comments back again could we?

                Please.

                • I think that would facilitate the reply function better too.

                  I like the reply function because you can deviate sometimes and not derail the entire thread, but I agree that it is difficult to to find the follow up but I think that this is because there are only a few comment at the time visible and that means that if you missed the reply you have to go back and find the sub thread back.

                  My opinion is that with more comments visible the reply function will come into it’s own.

                  • Felix

                    My thoughts exactly.

                    What would really make it useful is if the “recent comments” were displayed with their nesting structure intact.

                    captcha: 130,000 Clinton. Well done Clinton, whatever it was.

  19. vto 19

    Good idea IB, I vote anti. It is more difficult to follow whats going on (it was hard enough already).

    (what’s the matter MP, you give up too?)

  20. Billy 20

    I remember seeing a documentary that said that time was not linear but elliptical. How the fuck does that work? My only experience of it has been linear. Those reply things fuck with the very fabric of time as far as I am concerned.

    Edit: Speaking of which. I just commented at 12.39 pm on 4 March and the comment appeared between one timed at 7.52 pm on 3 March and on at 8.42 on 3 March.

    Have I broken time?

    • Pascal's bookie 20.1

      “Have I broken time?”

      Yes.

      It’s going to have played merry hell with markets Billy. It is all your fault.

      • Billy 20.1.1

        Now I just need to get to the dance to make sure my Mum and Dad meet…

        • vto 20.1.1.1

          Buy me some Berkshire Hathaway shares while you’re there will ya Billy?

        • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.2

          best of luck.

          Oh, and if you happen to crush any killer robots, be sure to destroy any left over limbs. The sequel will be ok, but the third will retrospectively ruin the franchise.

          thnx.

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