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National wants there to be no unions

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, November 30th, 2018 - 76 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, national, same old national, Unions, workers' rights, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Dan Bidois this week in Parliament confirmed what we have always known, that National want there to be no unions around.  From Hansard:

We need a flexible employment framework for New Zealand’s future. We need unions that really—quite frankly, the New Zealand public have voted with their feet overwhelmingly in favour of no unions, and the employment framework that we want to see, on this side of the House, is a place where no unions are around, where in fact the power is given to the workers of New Zealand rather than to the unions.

National’s obsession with unions is difficult to understand.  The good old days when the Engineers union or the Boilermakers Union could shut down a site at will and did so regularly are long gone. Things have changed that dramatically that the middle class unions like the various Teachers unions and the PSA are now among the strongest.

But National would prefer a union movement that was that weak it could then discard it.

Their crocodile tears about workers rights and being empowered are so transparent.  They are not interested in the rights of workers.  If they were they would not have led the wholesale attack on wages and conditions that they have engaged in since 1990.

Bidois’s honesty was refreshing.  But his willingness to engage in Trump like rhetoric against the Union movement is of deep concern.

76 comments on “National wants there to be no unions ”

  1. millsy 1

    As I said before, don’t be surprised if measures to outlaw trade unions are in Nationals 2020 manifesto.

  2. Michelle 2

    He (Bidios) wont last long he is wet behind the ears and the fact he is a Maori he should be ashamed advocating for individualism and not supporting collectivism does he want to see more people homeless and living on the bread line.

    • tc 2.1

      Ideal national party material. Ticks the ethnicity box whilst smashing unions.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      …does he want to see more people homeless and living on the bread line.

      I thought that was pretty much a pre-requisite for joining National.

    • mary_a 2.3

      Michelle (2) … Well said. Thanks.

      The fact is individualism weakens power, whereas collectivism on the other hand, gives strength and courage in just about every respect. This is something which scares the bejesus out of gutless Natz and their calculating, greedy support base, particularly unscrupulous employers! Hence the reason to break down and destroy a collective workforce.

      • cleangreen 2.3.1

        Well said Mary-A.

        National is all about control, – control – control.

        The National Party want workers rights extinguished so no-one can stop them ‘roting the system’.

  3. mac1 3

    I am sure that he is envisaging a utopian New Zealand where employers are very generous and kind, where wages and conditions are exemplary and health and safety are paramount.


  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    is Mr Bidois unaware of National’s Union busting 1991 Employment Contracts Act? surely not…

    his anti Union views, should be concerning given his previous jobs with OECD, Deloitte, and most recently among the supermarket duopoly of this country as a Foodstuffs Strategy Manager

    Mr Bidois seems rather an aspirational type, with a submerged Māori side–good neo lib material in other words, and piss poor MP material!

  5. Kat 5

    Mr Bidet should be mindful that New Zealanders may very well vote with their feet overwhelmingly in favour of no politicians such as himself.

  6. ianmac 6

    One of the reasons that National is anti-union is that Individual Contracts allow employers to screw down the wage bill. My daughter discovered that she was being paid much less than the person beside her for the same output. Confronting management they were annoyed that she knew the other’s pay.
    A Union forces transparency and most NZers do not want that – don’t you know?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      A Union forces transparency and most NZers do not want that

      That’s what we’ve been trained over the years. Never ask another’s income, never share you own.

      For a market system to work the nation actually needs that transparency. Needs to know what a job is paying so that people can make informed decisions about what work they do.

      But that high transparency doesn’t work well for the bludgers who like to screw wages down.

      • JohnSelway 6.1.1

        Individual incomes are personal and no one should be forced to share what they are being paid but in saying that most salary bands are transparent. It is quite easy to navigate what professions and positions pay – particularly in the public service.

        • ken

          Secrecy around wages and salaries plays straight into the employers’ hands.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And yet, for some strange reason, women are still paid less than men.

          Perhaps it has to do with all the secrecy.

          And, no, it’s not easy to navigate salary bands to find out how much a job pays.

          • JohnSelway

            Yet we KNOW woman are paid less than men for a start so no, given we can and have estimated how much women earn less than men it isn’t much of a secret.

            Secondly if you use this awesome website I found called “The Google” you can get a whole range of information about how much you can be expected to earn and what you can earn based on experience and education. Obviously it’s a guide and not specific but it is a handy reference.


            You should really check out The Google. It’s a handy little website that brings up information if you search for it. If you need help, just shout

            • Draco T Bastard

              I didn’t say it wasn’t possible – I said it wasn’t easy.

              Although, that site is looking better than when I last looked at it.

              • JohnSelway

                It was extremely easy – I simply searched “salary bands nz” and it was on the first page along with a ton of other sites.

                So yeah – really easy.

                It’s OK to be wrong sometimes

                • Draco T Bastard


                  Finding them isn’t the same as navigating them.

                  • JohnSelway

                    Draco – all it took was a single google search.
                    That’s it. It was very very simple and took me about a minute.

                    I don’t know whh you think it’s at all complicated

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Finding them isn’t the same as navigating them.

                      Which ones are accurate? Seek? Randstad? WINZ? CareersNZ?

                      They’re all fucken different.

                      Then there’s navigating through them to find the job you’re actually looking at. Many times it’s not listed. There’s a reason why I said the site you linked was better now than before.

                    • JohnSelway

                      I linked to NZ Government site which gets its information from Stats NZ. It is found on the first page of Google and takes two clicks and a search string to find the information you need.

                      I don’t know how much easier to navigate you expect it to be.

                  • Gabby

                    You may have a mild case of the lazy galloways draccy.

                  • Malcolm

                    Draco. The easiest way surely is for the tax dept. to publish everybody’s annual tax return. Job done. (They do this in Norway or Finnland)

          • JohnSelway

            Gee whiz – look at what I found using The Google. Such a good site.


  7. fender 7

    Goodbye David Farrer and Jordan Williams.., not that you should be allowed to sully the word union anyways..

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      They’re not workers but bludgers and their ‘union’ is there to support other bludgers that also vote National.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    where in fact the power is given to the workers of New Zealand rather than to the unions.

    Of course, the only way the workers of NZ can express their power is through unions.

    Which means that what National really want is powerless workers who have to do as they’re told by their ‘betters’.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      yep, organised workers have the ability to influence shareholders to hand over some of the loot, “naasty unionsees”…and the Nats typically like high unemployment to put further “downward pressure” on wages

      Bidois is expressing as openly as you will see, the Union busting ideology of the NZ National Party, in earlier times of “unqualified preference” aka compulsory union membership, the Nats were into rewarding “tame cat” more class collaborationist led unions

      but now Unions are 100% voluntary they would prefer to smash them, which is what a lot of the issues in Education were really all about–eradicating the strength of the NZEI and PPTA and associated smaller groups

      all sorts of current settlements including Pay Equity and a stiff rise in Minimum Wage to 2021, will hopefully be well established, and people will be awake to the likes of Mr Bidois and not want to go backwards with National

    • Wensleydale 8.2

      It always makes me howl with laughter when you hear National MPs bemoaning the poor lot of the working man (and woman). Much like their feigned concern for the homeless, the only time you witness these crocodile tears is when they’re in opposition. When they’re in government and actually in a position to do something about these sorts of societal ills, they couldn’t give a toss.

      National – “We care… but only when it’s politically expedient to do so, and only when we can score points against Labour by having a disingenuous whinge about things we don’t really give a shit about.”

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1


      • patricia bremner 8.2.2

        Wenslydale, good to hear from you, Yes, Nats anti-union stance was enshrined in law with Bill Birche’s Contracts Act.
        That really screwed wages to the lowest bidder for the contract, plus it took away permanent jobs.

        All wages ‘could be improved if workers raised productivity’
        Guess what, they wanted capital growth to increase their own wealth and did nothing to improve productivity.
        Hence they got rich on capital gains and workers got poorer.

        So Unions are not wanted by the Nats. Bidois is toeing the party line.

  9. Gosman 9

    What I would like to see is proper competition in worker representation. this would mean that any worker could choose which organisation (if any) represented them in negotiating with their employer rather than only having a choice between one Trade Union or nobody.

    • Craig H 9.1

      In theory, the employment relations act allows that now – an employee can have anyone act as their representative if they choose. Likewise, quite a few sectors and employers have multiple unions for employees to choose between.

      • I feel love 9.1.1

        Yes, my workplace has 2 unions, as well as the option to bring someone with me if I don’t belong to a union.

    • Rapunzel 9.2

      How would that work, unless you have money to pay for that there aren’t people hanging around to “represent” workers for free – who are these kindly, benevolent “representers” with the knowledge, expertise and time to do that? The choice other than a “union”, and they are not all trade, IS nobody, unless as I say they can afford can fund the process.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      What I would like to see is proper competition in worker representation.

      Of course you would as that decreases the concentration of worker power and thus helps to keep workers powerless.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 9.3.1

        unless you are very good at being a union and then employees decide they should be members.

        Imagine a creative union that brought about group buying for it’s members on things like petrol, electricity, health insurance? as well as making working conditions better and their take home pay higher.

        I couldn’t imagine anyone being stupid enough to not belong to that union.

        But that’s capitalism even though it’s enriching the workers through the benefits of socialism.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Unions already do all that.

          But imagine this:

          Instead of being hired by a boss you’re actually hired by the union and the union then contracts out your work to the businesses that require the labour. It could operate as a cooperative as unions already do.

          And because it would have such awesome buying power it could negotiate great rates for purchases and wages.

          See, it’s the latter that the bosses don’t like. The ability of workers to actually have power in negotiations and pull wages up. Which is why National try to destroy them and come up with BS like more competition in unions.

          Such things as the RWNJs suggest destroys a unions power.

          • JohnSelway

            That’s quite an interesting idea. I’m sure there are pitfalls but worthy of consideration

            • Bewildred

              Falls over like most labour cooperatives as becomes very inefficient in regard cost to control vs other models ie capital structures. , similarly eventually members work out as undrerltying value of cooperative increases new members dilute thier wealth or there is a benefit in restricting numbers with increased barriers to entry to maximise interests those already on the inside No free lunch sorry, capital has proven over time as the most efficient way to structure the firm, nothing stopping union trying though ( sarc)

              • Draco T Bastard

                What a load of cods-wallop.

                All purely based upon the failed ideology of capitalism.

                BTW, what I describe is a guild and they were so successful the capitalists had to go round banning them by law because they couldn’t compete with them.

    • patricia bremner 9.4

      GOS Select someone other than a union rep? Like someone they have to pay hugely as in USA. Riiiiight! Nah don’t think so.

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    You say this like it is a surprise.

    The Nats are, and have always been proudly anti-union. They accept them as a reality of a capitalist society, but would get rid of them tomorrow if they could.

    • Johnr 10.1

      I could tolerate the abandonment of unions if they included ALL of them. I refer to the; legal union, the accounting union, the real estate union,a the financial union, the banking union. Remember all of these “union’s” make and administer their own laws, and be assured they aren’t for Joe Blogs benefit. Then their is another whole can of worms in the form of Fed Farmers, The liquor lobby, The transport lobby, et al

  11. Darien Fenton 11

    Well I suppose Dan Bidois has to make a name for himself somehow as the most junior of all juniors in the National Party caucus. For something that is apparently a hot right wing issue I was surprised at who the National Party put up in this debate. It seemed to me to be digging in the dearth of talent. Not to mention ignorance.

  12. Dorothy Bulling 12

    But it is still ok for Federated Farmers, Maunfacturers Federation, Motor Trade Association, and a host of other sector organisations for employers in that sector? Ok to get rid of them as well? You can’t have one rule for employers and another for employees. In an ideal world all employers would be good, fair employers but as it is not, we must allow both parties to form unions. The employer groups are unions too. Bidois is one of those who would exploit workers right to the end. What they forget is that workers can only buy their products when the wage is sufficient to have a little more than enough for the basics. Will they never learn, these arrogant puffed up nutters who think they are God’s gift to the world?

    • ianmac 12.1

      Many years ago there was a call to set up a Farm Workers Union. Some worked long, inconsistent hours with no protection. In our district the farmers appeared to go with the idea by appointing a very basic local worker as a leader. They encouraged the local Workers to attend but without leadership the group collapsed.
      The farmers said, “There you go. We tried to help them get started but they just didn’t want a Union.”
      Do farm workers have a Union yet decades later?

    • Bewildered 12.2

      Only difference is that much of what labour union do would be illegal for other industry organisation re anti competitive behaviour, collusion on pricing, monopsony etc hence why labour unions distort labour markets and flexibility if to strong and negatively impact long term economic growth and productivity

  13. dV 13

    AND lets have mps individually negotiate THEIR pay etc with the voters in their electorate eh!!!

  14. Sabine 14

    and….did anyone expect anything else from the National Party? After all, its gonna be hard making a profit if you have to pay your slaves…..err workers. Bring back Debtor Prisons, now that is something National could get behind, and of course the Police Union. 🙂

  15. These political neo liberals work by proxy through donations to their party by groups like the NZ Initiative ( formerly the Business Roundtable ). Exemplified by the odious John Key and Bill English. And a big part of why they do it is sweet deals and financial gains, – and , for a time, – enjoying the power and status to keep things as they were…

    Most of them know full well that blue collar workers are too busy and thus too tired to now offer resistance, – they also know that many workers now share a cynicism that unions cannot alleviate their plight. Sad , really , … because if the lackeys were rooted out, they actually could.

    Those from the political far right need to be first taken with a grain of salt. Secondly their absurdities and obvious ulterior motives need to be called for what it is. Thirdly their activity’s, investments and the like need to be monitored. And when discrepancies are found either financially or politically , exposed. Who benefits, where does the money land, – and finally what is the societal end result of their policy’s / activity’s?

    To do that , a proper and realistic official standard of living needs to be established , adjusted by quarterly / annual inflation – starting from those on the LOWEST rung of the ladder. Not the middle, not the higher end earners but those on the LOWEST. When any of these political apes try to implement policy’s that are detrimental to any element in society, … it would then be so easier to expose them. No tinkering, no lies or justifying of pie in the sky ‘future benefits’ like we had under Douglas , Shipley or Richardson… no lies… just a cold hard standard with which to measure by.

    And this is where trade unions could aid and assist that process by fulfilling a ‘watchdog’ role.

    Scary , huh.

    Especially if your a wealthy neo liberal globalist who wants to keep New Zealand and its people as the soft touches that they are currently.

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

  16. Wait, what? New Zealanders voted “with their feet overwhelmingly in favour of no unions”?

    Says you and your Natbot mates Dan. Says you.

    Never belonged to a union, but 100% behind anyone who says that workers should be able to have a means to organize and protect their rights.

  17. SPC 17

    End the collective pay for National MP’s.

    Let each National MP negotiate their pay individually each time they are elected to parliament.

    Leave the collective agreement only for those who choose to support such things.

  18. Ad 18

    With the government’s new labour legislation appearing to be a set of compromises warmly endorsed by all, I would like to hear commentary from unionists on what kind of legislation would actually increase union membership.

    Pretty well established that higher union membership in a country is a very strong correlation to higher wages all round.

  19. patricia bremner 19

    Ad it has been so long, the young need educating. The ability to join a union and a sense of community has to be encouraged. Individualism has sway currently.

  20. Bryan 20

    And then how is it that “Proud To be Union” PSA is instrumental in setting up a scab union for DHBs to attempt to undermine Junior doctors’ tremendous gain in achieving safe staffing and rosters.
    Let’s hear from them how much they spent of their members union funds or did the DHB’s chip in a few dollars



  21. Malcolm 21

    Draco. The easiest way surely is for the tax dept. to publish everybody’s annual tax return. Job done. (They do this in Norway or Finnland)

  22. JustMe 22

    Perhaps Bidois has that foolish National Party belief that he is a big fish in a little pond. Ego and arrogance are big MATTERS for a political party that is now in decline thanks to the implosion within their very ranks.
    Perhaps this is probably the last time he stands up and makes a speech in parliament.
    Perhaps those low paid low income workers in his electorate will next time vote with their heads and kick the little twerp out.
    No-one wants an MP as their representative who admires the rich and condemns the poor. But that seems to be the track record of so many National Party MPs and even former National MPs.
    John Key, being the odious and nasty little man that he was and probably still is, viewed NZers who protested against the National government with such disdain and hatred that he denigrated NZers time and again.
    National will go down in history as the political party that demeaned and rubbished low income NZers whilst at the same time courting and heaping adulation and praise upon the wealthy especially those from China.

  23. Descendant Of Smith 23

    It’s not a particularly new idea.

    You can know how much your neighbour earns, and how much tax she pays. The practice dates back to the 18th century.


    David Burkus says not knowing leads to market failure

  24. Observer Tokoroa 24

    level playing field

    As Johnr has pointed out above, the Union Movement exists to try and ensure adequate payment for workers. It is a hell of a job because the wealthy hate paying wages.

    The Capitalists such as the likes of Billy English, Nick Smith, and Paula Bennett, set out boldly to reduce workers income to the level of Poverty. Poverty is their call for New Zealanders.

    John Key’s efforts have caused a horrendous slum of Poverty not previously encountered in Aoteaoroa. He suns himself in the ugly torture of “the low wage worker structure” that he has built. He and National collectively is truly Evil.

    As I see it, Labour on behalf of workers must counter National by making it illegal for any money making Business to Lobby Parliament for whatever reason.

    Additionally, no money making Business may set the wages and conditions of Staff.

  25. cleangreen 25

    Long live the unions!!!

    As Governments cannnot and will not ever change all things for the “good of all” as Governments are a temporary system and have no political will for change as they fear voter kick backs all the time.

    Political Parties only change what they see as a most voter ‘popular policy’

  26. Dean Reynolds 26

    During the recent Northcote by-election which brought Bidois into Parliament, Bidois was quoted on many issues. Everything he said was either contradictory, ill informed, or downright moronic. Not the sharpest knife in National’s drawer.
    The next National PM, (should there ever be one again) is not yet in Parliament

  27. CHCOff 27

    Unions are a more valuable source of inflation to an economy’s value system than speculative bubbles.

    The problems that unions introduce into the price cycles (& the profit motive to signal chains) in turn, could be ameliorated by small to little tax rates on the lower and middle classes.

    Then a jubilee, wiping associated govt. debt for this, at start of every term, and alot of supply & demand failings in modern economic market collapsing forms are significantly reversed.

    The catch being this is all done by decree. !

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