“This is a question of basic fairness, and it’s the Kiwi way is to treat people fairly, particularly when they’re vulnerable” – Darien Fenton
Yesterday, Fenton’s Redundancy Protection Bill was voted down by National and ACT. National showed its utter contempt for workers by having David Bennett lead their side of the debate.
The last time we heard anything out of the male Bennett it was opposing the Youth Minimum Wage Act – a bizarre, frothing speech in which he said we live in a hierarchical society and that needs to be protected, there is a difference between people who “sit at the front and the back” (Bennett has remained firmly on the backbench), and young people don’t want to be paid well.
Bennett was no better, no saner, yesterday.
He claimed that redundancy protection was a stealth move to make everyone a union member. If anything, the bill would have made being a union member less attractive: 80% of union members have redundancy, 80% of non-union workers don’t – so, this would have mainly benefited non-union workers.
He said that setting minimum standards would hold everyone back – people would only get the minimum. Yeah, David, just like the minimum wage means everyone gets only paid the minimum, eh?
He said that this denied people the choice to negotiate the terms of their own contracts. What a dream world these Tories live in. How many people honestly get to negotiate their terms? You and I know that in reality most workers don’t negotiate anything they have to take what the boss offers if they want a job.
Why doesn’t National have the respect for workers to debate this issue seriously and present their real reasons for denying workers a basic right that their brothers and sisters in nearly every other developed country have?
The reality is that National is the bosses’ party. The entire reason for their existence is to make the capitalist class wealthier. They do this in a short-sighted way by always making sure the biggest slice of the economic pie goes to the elite, which means keeping labour costs down.