Save our tea breaks

Written By: - Date published: 2:50 pm, October 23rd, 2014 - 97 comments
Categories: labour, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Workers’ rights, including the right to tea breaks, are under attack from National. Labour has a petition to save our tea breaks:

The Government’s currently trying to rush through a law to stop workers from having the right to a tea break.For thousands of working Kiwis across the country, it will mean the risk of losing the breaks they take to have a deserved rest and a cup of tea or coffee.

We don’t have long to show the Government the strength of feeling against this proposal, but if they know that thousands of Kiwis feel strong enough to speak out against their plans in just a couple of days, there’s a chance they may back down on this part of their proposals.

Can you add your name to the petition and stand up for workers’ rights? The more of us who sign it, the more likely it is the Government will be persuaded to rethink their plans.

Why not go sign the petition?

tea-breaks

tea-break-greens

97 comments on “Save our tea breaks”

  1. vto 1

    National Party people are just mean mean mean.

    mean, nasty and unpleasant. Bunch of scrooge mcducks.

    Mean

    • adam 1.1

      So working people in this fair land, happy you voted for Key now?

      Happy for Nice Mr Johnny boy – giving you the middle finger?

      The corporate elects now get to exercise their muscle and see if anything happens. They feel so confident they can do anything they like to working people, and nothing will happen.

      Mmmmm so much for the people who died to bring people fair working condition, so much for the people who died so working men and women didn’t have to die just going to work. SO MUCH for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

      If you settle for this, your children will be slaves – the ballot box is fast becoming a bad bad joke.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 1.1.1

        With my children looking forward to Christmas in a couple of months, as well as Labour weekend just around the corner, I have encouraged them to rally to – Save Santa’s tea break 🙂

        Getting them to start early. Pointed out Santa wears red. Real red.

  2. Phil 2

    Link to the Bill?

  3. hoom 3

    Far too late & completely pointless at this stage.
    Why wasn’t this the key point of the election campaign?????????

    ‘if you vote for these guys you are voting for removal of tea breaks’ it should have been all over the campaign, every 2nd sentence from Labour & Greens.

    • Rosie 3.1

      “Far too late & completely pointless at this stage.
      Why wasn’t this the key point of the election campaign?????????”

      I couldn’t get my head around that either hoom. The only thing that stopped the ERA amendment going through earlier this year was Banks’s departure from Government – had he remained they would have had the numbers, but even then this massive reduction of basic hard won work rights flew well under the radar. Now here we are, they have the numbers and it’s too late. It’s not just about loss of tea breaks either it’s about the abandonment of good faith bargaining too.

      Labour had some good workplace policy, opposition to the ERA amendment should have been a focal part of it, it wasn’t. It really surprised me at time that it wasn’t, knowing this was around the corner.

  4. ianmac 4

    More flexible? For whom tolls the bell?
    How does the Key lot get away with it? I wonder if having a growing number of contract workers disguises the loss of rights. What group of contract workers could possibly mount a challenge?

  5. Tracey 5

    breaks are important for workplace safety. we have a pretty poor record on workplace safety… but murders get the headlines

    • Phil 5.1

      we have a pretty poor record on workplace safety

      Could you post your sources?

      😛

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        how many dead each year is acceptable to you? numbers of dead in workplace accidents is the same or more than murders in a year. dept of statistics

      • GregJ 5.1.2

        You could start here.

        “Comparing the relative ranking of New Zealand’s non -standardised reported occupational fatal injury incidence rates, New Zealand performs in the lower half of the rankings for 8 of 13 International Standard Industry Classification (ISIC) major level industry classifications examined in this analysis. Industries in which New Zealand ranked in the lower half of the relative rankings for all 9 comparative established market economies were: Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing; Mining and Quarrying; Manufacturing; Electricity, Gas and Water Supply; Construction; Financial Intermediation; Public Administration and Defence; and Wholesale Trade”

        Our death rate/100,000 person years is twice that of Australia and almost three times that of the UK. We lag behind Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Sweden & the UK.

        You can also then check out the ILO database – although you’ll have to do some of the work yourself.

        Essentially, and broadly speaking, Workplace Health & Safety showed improvement in NZ from 2002-2008 and is now worsening again.

        • b waghorn 5.1.2.1

          I was in the forestry for 8 years we never had smoko we had to 4 hour runs with between half hour to hole hour for lunch which included walking out and refueling. I doubt it’s changed. The forest could do with a union.

          • GregJ 5.1.2.1.1

            Yep – it’s bloody hard work – fortunately I’ve never had to work in the industry but I know people that have. Dirty, dangerous and physical outdoor work. I suspect conditions have not moved on much from when most Forestry was state-owned – arguably it’s probably worse.

            First Union represents Forestry Workers and I know they’ve been working with Helen Kelly & the CTU to bring forestry safety & health much needed publicity.

    • Bob 5.2

      I very much doubt that I create and manage health and safety systems so many accidents actually happen before and after a break and this is due mainly to concentration levels being broken. You are also more likely to have an accident at the beginning or near the end of the day for the same reason. According to some of my data you are also more likely to have an accident in summer than in winter (although this will vary between industries).

      Using the Health & Safety argument is actually a very weak argument as the 10 minute smoko breaks were created for a having a cigarette not Health & Safety.
      Creating a Health & Safety culture in the work place is the only true way of creating a safe work place and no law can do that only people can.

  6. Grantoc 6

    Who takes formal ‘teabreaks’ and ‘smokos’ in this day and age? Very very few do.

    21st Century workers basically take breaks when they feel the need to, and their organisations support them in this.

    Most organisations take the view that if you meet expectations, its of no consequence if you decide to have a long lunch or leave early, or go out for a coffee during the day.

    ‘Tea Breaks’ and ‘Smoko’s’ are anachronisms. They are not relevant in the 21st Century workplace.

    • Tracey 6.1

      could you post your sources?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        No, because he hasn’t got one, never mind any.

        • Tracey 6.1.1.1

          in every factory I have ever visited… every supermarket and call centre worker I know cannot just get up and take a break. they are 100% determined by roster and supervisor….

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1

            In the twilight of what used to be known as Conservatism, which has been twisted to the service of greed, lurk those honest souls who can spot a shit response at a hundred paces. Smart employers promote them. What does that say about this government*? Rhetorical question.

            *Seriously, you wingnut gimps: is this what you call governance? Mit der dummheit…

    • shorts 6.2

      in many office based workplaces this often is the case for non public fronting staffers…. for everyone else this is not the norm

      don’t think for a second your workplace culture is emulated through the land in other words – support those whom don’t have such freedoms is the point here

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 6.2.1

        Grantoc has in mind the 21st century CEO and senior management working class who make as many cuppas as they like, whenever they want, and raid the biscuit tin multiple times of the day while complaining there wasn’t that particularly special kind that they like. Also, they step out of the office anytime they like to do chores for their children or partners, as well as make phone calls during work time to anyone they can think of to find study/career opportunities for their favourite child.

        Making this up? No, ask the lower/lowest tier of workers who have to put up with the errant ways of the privileged members of the senior working class who are culpably absent from work.

      • Tracey 6.2.2

        precisely

    • Rosie 6.3

      Grantoc, things may be sweet in your place of work and you may have no requirement for formalising your breaks schedule but regular rostered tea breaks are a basic foundation of our work rights, and are essential for the productivity of workplaces where refreshed and rested workers keep the wheels in motion, eg, nursing staff.

      There is a health and safety element to rest breaks for those working in manual labour jobs, (as there is the health professions too).

      Not everyone has the luxury or being able to come and go as they please, and in my case, where I worked sole charge in a shop for 8.5 hours every day for almost two years I didn’t even get a break, despite the fact this situation wasn’t legal. It’s bosses like my former one who are behind this bill.

      The right to a break must come before the petty greed and minor inconveniences of bosses, but under National the wants of a few come before the needs of the many.

      • left for deadshark 6.3.1

        Too right Rosie,if employers cannot under stand that,well they doing a poor job managing that work place,I’ve said it once if not a thousand times,an as for living wage,if the can’t manage that,DO the job yourself,lazy bastards.

    • tc 6.4

      so Grantoc why the need to change the law if in your view ‘..its of no consequence..’

    • sabine 6.5

      unless you work in a call centre were all breaks are planned in and will and can only be taken when allocated.

      the only ones that are going to the bath room when they need it are the ones that are not logged in a phone system and have their attendance monitored by big screens on the wall telling everyone who is or is not logged in.

    • karol 6.6

      Well you don’t do my job then.

      And anyone who deals with the public, or works in factory jobs as part of a team, etc, cannot just take tea and lunch breaks when they like, or leave early.

      And then there’s the safety issues of drivers, forestry workers etc, being asked to work through tea and lunch breaks for too many hours at a stretch.

    • politikiwi 6.7

      This is true in certain industries – I work for a niche private-sector IT company and, generally, my workplace is very flexible. This counts for a lot.

      However, many people who work for larger organisations, and particularly what are referred to as “lower skilled” workers, generally have their breaks managed aggressively.

      I’m lucky I don’t have to deal with this myself, but other people certainly do.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    National will get to look conciliatory by “giving back” the right to smoko. Meanwhile they will attempt to practically put an end to good faith bargaining.

    It’s time ethical employers stepped up to oppose this shit, never mind the Human Rights Commission and the Left – weird right wing notions about employment law don’t end well.

  8. Tom Gould 8

    Who has ‘tea breaks’ these days? Most people just get it when they can. Is there any correlation between the Labour stance on this matter and that only 20 per cent of wage and salary earners are now in unions? And most of them are public servants who ‘do coffee’ as necessary. Serious question, people.

    • s y d 8.1

      stop extrapolating your experience to ‘most’ is what I would say.

      Most people – like who? you and your mates in the office, the car yard, the boardroom?

      It’s a principle at stake – the right to have a rest, take a piss, stretch the back, stare into the distance, even just talk to other people without being docked pay.

      go work in an orchard, a packhouse, a supermarket or any other place where you physically need to stop, then tell me most people get it when they can.

      serious answer

    • fisiani 8.2

      Labour wonder why they are increasingly irrelevant. When they invent hysteria and hyperbole and claim that the sky is falling or even more ludicrously that tea breaks will disappear can anyone be surprised when they are ignored and mocked and fall further in the polls. Remember the hysteria about how the 90 day right to prove yourself would lead to heaps of people being laid off on day 89? More people employed than ever before. Labour are always crying wolf. Eventually no one believes the bullshit,

  9. What a pack of arseholes this Govt are.

    About time we forced the closure of their free food and booze outlet in Parlaiment and make them sit in the debating chamber for 9 hours a day with no breaks.
    Who the hell do they think they are ?
    They, (National) are a disgrace to the human race.
    You bastards.

    • music4menz 9.1

      This proposed legislation doesn’t seem to have as its intention denying workers’ their right to a tea or lunch break. It is aiming to give workers greater flexibility around their breaks to reflect their changing and/or different working environments. Opponents are deliberately misrepresenting the tea break aspects of the bill. You are suggesting that overnight workers won’t be allowed a smoko or a lunch break. You know that is not true.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        “Doesn’t seem” – doesn’t seem?

        Paging Dr. Weasel.

      • Tracey 9.1.2

        you are deliberately misrepresenting the amount of power many employees have to make such flexibility work for them…

      • sabine 9.1.3

        this is a full load of horse manure.

        really just that…a stinking pile of manure.

      • Bob 9.1.4

        That is what it was always suggesting a lot of people on this site seem to have gone and created something different in their minds.

  10. tc 10

    wow a petition, can’t wait for the bumper stickers and leaflet campaign.

    If only we had a major event in which such issues could be raised in the public eye and debated to say a large TV audience such as an election …….doh !

  11. Rawmadness Natshark 11

    Although I hate National, I bit the loss of breaks propaganda hook line and sinker, many media and people have been hollering it.

    What a load of crap. All this does is give flexibility around break times. Flexibility around your contract for meals breaks for crying out loud this would also allow me to negotiate a longer day and longer breaks. Frankly if you sign to an employer and their is no break clause in the contract your a muppet when you could have tweaked your contract to suit both parties.

    Actually it’s freaking good!

    Pick our battles this is not worth it and we are twisting it for political gain which the public as I did in two minutes can sus out. This is why Labour lose elections blowing crap out of all proportions and coming out looking like eggs.

    If we want to score points against National then lets not make ones up, when their is plenty of real crap to go on about with keys performance to date. Seriously this is not what is being portrayed stop it. Or show me why I am wrong on this because I cannot see removal of breaks anywhere just the word flexable which works both ways.

    Lastly who made a law that forces an employer to compromise with a collective. Seriously? You think I’m that stupid to know this forces employers to unions/collective demands but allows the collective to walk away. Bad bad legislation when we cry fair play but force them to negotiate.
    IMHO.

    • Tracey 11.1

      flexibility for those with power in the employee employer relationship.

      remember when the 90 day trial was just for a few work places and just during the gfc.

      • Bob 11.1.1

        I worked on 3 month trial contracts before the legislation came in so it existed in a different format long before the 90 day trial which is exactly the same thing.

    • Murray Rawshark 11.2

      Reading your confused contribution, I can only think that you hate National because it’s too left wing for you.
      What the hell does this mean?
      “You think I’m that stupid to know this forces employers to unions/collective demands but allows the collective to walk away. Bad bad legislation when we cry fair play but force them to negotiate.”

      Yeah, I do think you’re pretty stupid. You seem to think that employers should be able to do what they like.

  12. RRM 12

    Can someone please CALMLY AND CLEARLY quote the exact section of the bill that constitutes “taking away your right to a tea break”?

    I see simplistic allegations, a lot of sound and fury, little substance.

    Just “hurry up and sign this petition saying you agree with what we just said.”

    • Rawmadness Natshark 12.1

      There is none RRM. But you know that as well as I do. On this I’m on the side of intelligence not scaremongering..

    • politikiwi 12.2

      I might be wrong about this, but I’m assuming that the part causing all the furore can be found here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2013/0105/latest/DLM5160293.html – specifically sections 69ZE and 69ZEA, particularly section 69ZEA(1)(b).

      Here’s section 69ZEAwhich I expect is the sticking point:
      —–
      An employer is exempt from the requirement to provide rest breaks and meal breaks in accordance with section 69ZD(1)—
      “(a) to the extent that the employer and the employee agree that the employee is to be provided with compensatory measures; or
      “(b) if paragraph (a) does not apply, only to the extent that, having regard to the nature of the work performed by the employee, the employer cannot reasonably provide the employee with rest breaks and meal breaks.
      —–

      As a non-lawyer, my reading of this is that employers have the right to withold rest breaks if giving the employee a break is not “reasonable” – so it’s all down to context. For example, a coffee retailer with only one employee might say it’s not reasonable to close the store for half an hour at lunch time, and so they could argue that it’s not reasonable to give the employee a break. But, again, it would all hinge on the definition of “reasonable”, and as I understand it that would be decided by the courts.

      So, while this doesn’t directly remove the right to rest breaks, would it does do is open the door for employers to take advantage of their employees if the employer deems it’s not “reasonable” to offer the employee a break. The employee’s ability to challenge that decision would require they go to court (by the look of it), and who’s got the time or energy to do that?

      Please correct me if I’m wrong about any of the above.

      • Rawmadness Natshark 12.2.1

        So Really removing breaks is scaremongering, section b is the stickler however a reasonable employer should abide fairly.

        The over ruling agreement in law is based on the employee, employer acting in good faith and a employer abusing that would be wise not too, or face stiff action at a ERA court hearing.

        A sharp employee would find another job whilst working. Whilst not saying this works for everyone I found two job offers in a fortnight, whilst employed by my present company and found I was suddenly much more appreciated than I had been led to believe. I currently have a fantastic relationship with my employer but had some tough moments getting there.

        We have the power of choice if they want a free market well two can play that game, we are free to NOT, work for bad employers. Simple as that. IF you do not like the contract do not sign it.

        If you sign it don’t cry about the agreement you signed.

        Harsh but hey they want to play nasty so can each and every one of us.

        • adam 12.2.1.1

          Rawmadness Natshark.

          Are you white and middle class by any stretch of the imagination?

          Male?

          Educated?

          No kids?

          Just wondering, been in the workforce long?

          A specific skill set, desired by employers?

          Because their is a world of difference from the freedom to, and the freedom from. Yes in an ideal world we all can have the freedom to walk away from bad employers. In the real world – that freedom is curtailed by obligations, expectations and just basic survival. The freedom from abuse, and villainous actions of bad employers, is the freedom we have lost under this government. And, all the governments before it, back to the 4th Labour government – which decided to sell working people down the river.

        • Tangled_up 12.2.1.2

          We have the power of choice if they want a free market well two can play that game, we are free to NOT, work for bad employers. Simple as that. IF you do not like the contract do not sign it.

          If you sign it don’t cry about the agreement you signed.

          For people struggling to find a job I’d say that it’s not that simple.

        • Tracey 12.2.1.3

          laws arent made for reasonable people, they are to cover the unreasonable people. In this case employers who use the power of “if you dont like it I can find a replacement” as part of their “bargaining”.

      • Bob 12.2.2

        The reason this was put in was because of the ridiculous situations that occurred at Gisborne air traffic control where plans had to circle while the sole air traffic controller took their brake.

  13. Rawmadness Natshark 13

    After all the workplace deaths lately a better tactic would be to approach Key and bargain with him. Tighten safety rules and more inspectors and employment dispute resolution staff and we will vote for this bill.

    Just saying.

    • sabine 13.1

      bargain with John Key when he is the Prime Minister? Or when he is just representing the Office of the Prime Minister? Or when he is John Key the MP?

      And once you are done bargaining with John Key do you believe he will recall the bargain? And which John Key bargained?

    • BM 13.2

      Hilarious, politicians working together for the betterment of NZ,.

      You obviously don’t understand how left politics work, which is surprising, it’s rather simple.

      National always bad, therefore you must never agree or work with them, LabGreens always good.

      LabGreen would never gain power if they worked/agreed with National, working together, LOL, what a crazy suggestion.

      • sabine 13.2.1

        Ok BM, what will be better if the Labour Laws are changed and tea breaks are history?
        I can see why as a business person I might not want to pay two ten minute breaks a day…that could go into real money if you have several thousands of staff….but really what are the benefits for the workers? And all other aspects of New Zealand?
        also, do you want your children to have it as good as you had, or are you one of those that believe that the ones that come after us should just harden the ef up and accept that they will not have what you currently have?

        also BM, if you dislike the left so much, why are you here, should you not be on a National Page/Blog/Chatroom of sorts and circle jerk?

        • BM 13.2.1.1

          also BM, if you dislike the left so much, why are you here, should you not be on a National Page/Blog/Chatroom of sorts and circle jerk?

          The Standard is an enjoyable site to read.

          I like the CSS,search function and the ability to have nested comments as well as the out there people who tend to post here.

          I rarely agree with what’s written but think it’s a good idea to read a different point of view.

    • Tracey 13.3

      how can people be dying with only reasonable employers out there???

  14. sabine 14

    a long time ago, about a 100 years ago, children worked up to ten hours a day with little to no breaks.
    adults worked up to twelve hours a day with up to little to no breaks.

    as per the govt:
    http://www.dol.govt.nz/infozone/myfirstjob/employees/during/holidays-and-leave/breaks.asp
    Tea and lunch breaks
    Employers are required to provide employees with the following paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks:

    one paid 10-minute rest break if their work period is between two and four hours;

    one paid 10-minute rest break and one unpaid 30-minute meal break if their work period is between four and six hours;

    two paid 10-minute rest breaks and one unpaid 30-minute meal break if their work period is between six and eight hours.

    Now one can see clearly that there is no stipulation as to how the breaks are to be taken, but I guess what the government and their business mates have an issue with is that they actually have to pay for the break.
    Of course If the right to a 10 minute paid break is taken away, and one must use the bathroom because usually once every three to four hours one must, than they can just work an extra 10 minutes at the end of their shift. Simple as that.

    Now that is awesome flexibility isn’t it? And most importantly it is unpaid! Win Win.

    Mind the concerning worker can always go to work wearing an adult depends and forgo breaks altogether….now that really would be a show of flexibility.

  15. dave 15

    it was that fucker jamie lee ross does any one know where he lives ??

    • BM 15.1

      You’re not going to go throw feces at his house are you Dave?

      Christ, who’d want to be a politician when you’ve got nut bars like Dave running around free.

  16. BassGuy 16

    This gets me angry, incredibly angry. I am employed at a workplace where I don’t get any breaks.

    I mean that: no breaks whatsoever. I’ve worked 13 consecutive hours without a break – or even pay for the 5 extra hours. I was told that it was my job and too bad, if I didn’t like it, I can quit.

    I’m going to have to be very careful to not let any clues out as to where I work because it will mean my job if they discover I’ve said this.

    All I will say is that I’m minimum wage/part-time, on-call as well as having some fixed hours, and the guy who owns the business is a multimillionaire. The head guy at work alters time sheets to suit his budget, and he steals breaks and blames then employee for not taking them. He refuses to have his timesheets filled out accurately (they’ve stolen hundreds of hours from their minimum wage employees in the last 18 months alone) and outright refuse to pay stat days for part-timers. They won’t even discuss that, simply dismissing it by telling us that it’s legal and if we don’t like it we can resign – they know the employment situation in town, that there are thousands of unemployed and only hundreds of jobs.

    It’s been made very clear to me that if I join a union, or discuss this with the Department of Labour, I’ll find myself without a job.

    It may yet be worth it.

    But this cannot go on. We must do something to stop this crap and we must do it now. I’ve signed the petition already but that’s not enough.

    What else can we do?

    • r0b 16.1

      Reading your comment – I’m so sad and angry at the situation that you and the other workers are in! If I had any brilliant ideas I would share them – I don’t. My only suggestion would take at least 3 years. Join the party of your choice and work to change the government. All the best….

      • adam 16.1.1

        A change of government, hold on we will make it better if we get a change of government – that is such a cop out.

        I believe that is the lamest thing I think I’ve read on this forum – ever. I’m serious, what planet are you own r0b, Pontius Plata hand wringing planet?

        People need to live through this shit now, they need to organise, and they need food on the table. They need to know going to work won’t kill them, or get them seriously injured – because of some petty little shit has a modicum of power.

        Grow a spin r0b, or at least the appearance of one.

    • RedBaronCV 16.2

      Collect or squirrel evidence of this as it happens if you are able to. A day by day record when you get home if possible.

      If there is some older employee retiring or leaving the workforce for some other reason then they may be willing to complain to DOl etc.

      I believe you can join a union as a hidden member but that may be risky.

      When this sort of stuff comes to light the courts have a habit of making back orders. Even if it isn’t solved today there will be a change of government and laws someday making you less vulnerable then. Complain then on a well organised plan that freezes owner’s assets. .

      And frankly I do think this is shite for you – not sure I have been of any help

    • fisiani 16.3

      What else can we do?
      Stop inventing horror stories. Eh ba gum lad, you don’t know how lucky you are.
      Do you expect anyone to believe your confabulations?

      • Tracey 16.3.1

        If all employers are so flexible and cool and kind why do we need a law change????

      • BassGuy 16.3.2

        Inventing horror stories, as well as confabulations? That’s pretty juvenile, but I’ve been reading this site for a while and I was fully expecting a troll like that, from you in particular.

        But the question to be addressed is: why do you consider what I’ve stated to be untrue? Is it because employers are so pleased to have staff that they would never do anything in breach of employment law? Or is it because employers are just such good people?

        Something I’ve never heard from any employer: “Never mind the profits, lads, here’s a pay increase out of the kindness of my heart! While we’re at it, take the rest of the day off, you’ve earned it!”

        Something that’s interesting to note is your apparent confusion between confabulation, a non-deliberate confusion or distortion of memories, and “inventing horror stories,” which obviously means to lie. These are contradictory positions to hold as they cannot both be true at the same time.

        Of course, they are also attacks. Why do you feel the need for this? Are these attacks because of a challenge to your apparently firmly held ideal that employers willingly do no wrong?

        I stand behind every word I wrote. I have been keeping track of these events for a while. If necessary, I can point to particular dates when hours have been removed from my time sheets, and I can produce evidence that time sheets are regularly inaccurate. I’ve got documentation proving I’ve worked hours that aren’t represented on my time sheets.

        I’ve sufficient documentation that, should I find myself not relying on that job just to survive, significant fines may be levied against the workplace.

        That’s rather difficult to do that for a lie or confabulation.

    • adam 16.4

      Brother, then you have no choice, none – you can stay as you are and probably have a work related accident, or organise.

      Because next you’re going to be put on a zero hour contract so you will then not be eligible for any help from winz either. The new reality is more work instability.

      Here, try these resources – print them out but don’t let anyone see you have them. Only people you trust. Memorise them, then pass them around.

      http://libcom.org/organise/workplace

      This is the whole lot on organising – english but a great resource

      http://libcom.org/organise

    • Murray Rawshark 16.5

      You should join a union. It may be possible to do this without your boss knowing immediately. The union can then advise and help you.
      You could speak to a lawyer, or your local MP. If you’re in a NAct electorate, it’s probably better to speak to a Green or Labour MP.

      As long as you think you are by yourself, you have no power. You need to realise you have interests in common with all workers, and organisation is power.

    • music4menz 16.6

      Bass Guy- don’t be a wimp. If what you say is true- if- then be a man and do something about it. The media would LOVE your story- Campbell would lap it up. You would have your chance to be a Labour/Green/Mana pin-up boy.

      Go on, grow some balls and stand up for yourself.

      IF what you say is true.

      • BassGuy 16.6.1

        It’s easy to talk tough like that, but when you’re sitting as close to the red line as I am, all it’d take is the boss to fire me and my partner and I would lose everything in a few short months.

        It really doesn’t matter that I would probably win at the employment court in the long run, I’d lose so much more in the short term.

        If I can find another job, I’ll be quite willing to go public. Once I’m employed it doesn’t matter how much I annoy the owner: he can have his quiet words with all of his mates as much as he likes but I’ll already have a job.

        A few others have suggested that the workers at the bottom should work together and join a union. I’ve actually discussed that with them. One of them is so young he’s willing to take whatever crap they throw at him because it’ll give him experience and a good reference, and very soon someone will recognise his genius so he can move up. Some of the others are studying and will move on once they’ve graduated, so they don’t care. There really aren’t enough of us to band together.

  17. Trendy Lefty 17

    Section 69ZD sets out the proposed changes and does appear to provide for the employer dictate the duration and frequency of the breaks, including not providing for them.

    They pasty office dwellers including those on here claiming paid rest breaks to be irrelevant, who trot off for a coffee whenever they like might not be affected but a shitload of New Zealand workers will be. never done a hard days work for shitty pay, I expect let alone years of it.

    • tc 17.1

      Wait till those patsies get the same treatment, they arent irreplacable and then lets see how they feel about that nice bloke they voted for and his brighter future.

    • Rawmadness Natshark 17.2

      I work at an engineering co, heavy, hot, hard graft. My employer is fine as he understands it dangerous and we need the breaks for other reasons. Knowing him, paying for me sitting on my arse for 30 minutes a day probably annoys him but I respect that.

      But I signed a contract , that contract was negotiable, in it were stipulated breaks this law change does not alter the terms of my contract.

      For those starting after any changes in law, you still sign an employment contract and you should be focused on that as it’s your legal rights and stated work conditions.

      An Employer cannot amend a contract changing your work conditions unless you agree to it.

      Or are we saying every employment contract in NZ will have to be rewritten after any law amendment passes on breaks?

      @Bassguy, I understand, I was in a hard position after coming back from years of sickness, their are good employers out there, if your current job and employer is bad do you have the option where you are of finding other work? IDNK everything their are always exceptions 1%’s, it’s life I suppose.

      • GregJ 17.2.1

        Out of interest do you belong to a Union (or any of the others in your Company?)

        • Rawmadness Natshark 17.2.1.1

          No gregj

          nor would I feel very safe if I said to my boss Hey I’ve joined the union no matter how much I believe I have the right too, or could have used help.

          However I feel these days unions have no power in small businesses. Employers have to many other ways to get rid of you if you complain about things including damn it safety. Things are shocking I have been away from NZ’s workforce twice for ten years, and then returned once overseas once with long term illness. Both times I’ve seen radical changes but currently it’s fairly low safety wise and wage related to spending power.

          You see a lot of bright yellow fluro jackets around but theirs a whole universe of small garages, small town engineering shops, you get the picture safety?

          I see a tui advert coming up. In a real workshop we work with our employers in loyalty and common sense, safety in mind but guards training seem missing at a lot of machines in the real working environment. Time pressure causes accidents, pressure of greed over safety. profit over everything. Their has to be checks and balances true?

          At the moment with higher unemployment wages are low , costs are high , having a job is more important than arguing about rights.

          perhaps fixing the economy so their is a job surplus is another avenue of restoring our employee balance.

          • GregJ 17.2.1.1.1

            Thanks – I suspected as much. I grew up in small towns so I kind of know what you are talking about. And in small towns “troublemakers” like Union people soon get identified.

            An interesting comment about how Health & Safety can actually be used against an employee by the employer. Anecdotally I’ve heard of this happening and I’m sure it does. Ironic really that something designed to make worker conditions better can be used as another rod to keep them down! One is tempted to say that it proves that any lever an employer can use against workers they will use it (eventually).

            Would I be right in assuming that at least some (most? all?) of your colleagues would not be Labour supporters? I’m assuming your boss certainly wouldn’t be?

            • Rawmadness Natshark 17.2.1.1.1.1

              “Troublemakers” hit’s it bang on the small town button.

            • Bob 17.2.1.1.1.2

              If an employee is creating hazards for the work place and making it a dangerous place for other employees of course it can be used against them. Under the current Health & Safety Act employees have responsibilities as well as employers.

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    As well as signing a petition drop in on your local Nact MP and give them an earful.

    • Rawmadness Natshark 18.1

      I have not seen one Louise Upston Missing Person in my Town in the last 5 years I’d say apart from a little column she posted in the local paper on her first term then that died down too now nothing for at least 3 years.

      We have an MP and I have not a clue where or what she is doing for my town at all. Or my region unless you live in Taupo I suppose. She however has a street level party house with a HUGE freaking picture of her on the Window to make you sick on your way to work. I bet those rich Taupo residents are well taken care of, not us up in the small town labour voting area’s eh Louise. We just get your mug shot to represent us.

      • GregJ 18.1.1

        Yeah Taupo is a weird electorate now – and adding in Cambridge and its surrounds has made it a much safer National seat (my folks live there). South Waikato by any chance – the Tirau-Tokoroa axis? (It’s OK – don’t answer that – you never know who is watching!)

        • Rawmadness Natshark 18.1.1.1

          Yes Gregj, Tokoroa and I’m happy to discuss any issues I have with my employer if he found me posting here. It took awhile for me to realize he wasn’t such a twat after all. However I would not be able to tell him I joined a union because in such a small outfit that would look like I was dissing his integrity and he would take it the wrong way..

          I found finding a new job and telling him I was not satisfied with his pay rate for the work I did and his if you don’t like it leave statements rude. So I did and he realized I was very valuable and had not expected me to call his bluff.

          Now we get along like best mates it’s bloody great actually. However it was a fluke I doubt any employer in the land would put up with what I did and still want me to stay I was lucky he was bluffing really.

          Now I do some of the hardest stuff and most expensive machining products. I really came out far better off with a far better relationship.

          We give each other shit in a humorous way now, and both know where we stand. he knows I’m a labour party member and we discuss issues.

          Like this one I took the wrong way.

          I still have some issues I’m working with him on. One is pay through xmas as he doesn’t pay early and due to banking I’m left over xmas broke like last year. This year I will be complaining hard about that.
          Secondly if we work through smoko for urgent jobs I am not compensated with the “I already pay for your smoko I am not paying you again” statement.

          So we have issues but at least we now work with each other not against each other.

          Had I had a union this wouldn’t be an issue, but with unions seen as bad not many small work places can have them.

          Secondly the 90 day trial stops you signing up to union representation as it may cause your instant dismissal frankly.

          None of us like national except the employer and we cannot blame him for that, dangle the National carrot so to speak in answer to your other question. However we both agree all parties seem to be more about themselves and fulfilling three terms for a lifetime pension than representation currently.

          .

          • GregJ 18.1.1.1.1

            Thanks. Sounds like you are fighting the fight in your own way. Keep commenting here – the labour movement needs your voice heard (especially from those on the front lines).

  19. Red delusion 19

    bassguy stop making stuff up, if what you say is half true grow some proverbial and deal with it, stop been a pathetic little victim

  20. greywarshark 20

    Interesting. An example of government pre-empting people’s rights to not have to have the latest technology to participate in the political process?

    I was set to sign the petition about tea breaks. It said you could put your phone or email. I chose to put my landline number and it won’t accept that as valid. I don’t give my email address to just anyone, it is too easy for people to invade my personal space with stuff that is not vital or important, sort of like having a letterbox full of advertising bumf. I already have a cause a day that I should be concerned about besides my personal interests.

    I don’t want to be a slave to my cellphone, similar to the email. If people want to communicate I am happy for them to phone on my landline, that’s why I pay to have it, or they can leave a message,. Why force me to be fiddling round with a cellphone that I use as an extra or when I am away from home?

  21. Treetop 21

    When it comes to a child contacting a parent, it is helpful for the child to know when the parent is on a tea break. This can be said for an elderly parent or a unwell spouse as well.

    Next a person will be docked for taking a toilet break. Most people are considerate and use the toilet when they have a tea break.

  22. James 22

    Bassguy,

    Your situation is terrible, (assuming that it is real that is).

    But assuming that it is all true – I feel for you.

    Im disappointed in the “caring left” because saying wait for a change in government, etc is just bulls**t.

    What is happening is illegal. Pure and Simple. Regardless of who is in power. If Labour were in now you would still have the same shi**y boss, and same laws under which to fight him.

    There are remedies for you – some free of charge (CAB for example). Lodging a personal grievance (or laying he work for one) is very easy.

    I would recommend start documenting everything. If you are uncomfortable approaching your boss (or putting it in writing), document the reasons why (scared for job? why? What has he said or done to make you feel that way).

    Document your hours, keep your pay packets. Keep any documents he alters.

    Then get a lawyer (there are no win / no fee ones) and take it from there. IF you are bringing it whilst in a job – it will protect your position while you look for something better.

    And from the sounds of it – most jobs will be better.

    There is no place ever for employers like that.

    Good luck.

    • Murray Rawshark 22.1

      “Im disappointed in the “caring left” because saying wait for a change in government, etc is just bulls**t.”

      One person made something like that suggestion, and was quickly pulled up on it. Most commentators apart from the RW underbridge dwellers made constructive suggestions.

      What is your agenda that makes you begin your comment with such bullshit?

  23. lyn 23

    Well if our tea breaks are to be taken away then I assume parliament wont be having tea breaks either, after all they work for us.

  24. Chris John Findley Newman 24

    MR JOHN KEY I WANT MY BREAKS TOO OR ELSE IT WILL BE A HEALTH PROBLEMS TO MOST OF THE WORKERS AND HAZARDS FOR THE WORK PLACES TOO.
    BY THE WAY IT IS NOT PROSTITUTION AND CONVENTION CENTRES BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT EXALTS NATIONS.

    [r0b: You are welcome to comment here, but please check out the policy link at the top of the page. And please don’t post in ALL CAPS – it is considered to be “shouting”.]

    • Chris John Findley Newman 24.1

      I will shout. People’s basic human rights are being trampled on and people are suffering. Now is not the time to be all genteel and nice.

  25. Chris John Findley Newman 25

    To the establishment and parliamentarians: if you and your buddies say “everything is honky dory in our patch, never mind the others ( meaning workers)” but try to deny people their basic rights then lookout. Read what happened to ancient Israel (which was set as an example for us) in the books of the prophets and Lamentations. Do you think that something similar won’t happen to New Zealand? Unless you repent and change your ways it will. We will be like the Philippines, a laughing stock and by word to the world. Repent before it is too late for you Mr John Keys and you others.

    I noticed you said that the change of labour laws and loss of rights to meal and tea breaks “won’t effect most people.” Well it shouldn’t effect anybody. Or are you trying to deliberately segregate a group of people and have them without their basic human rights like the nazis did. The Lord has his eyes on you and he will not listen to your parliamentary prayers unless you repent. The Lord says,”This is a foolish and wicked/rebellious generation that does not listen to me. Therefore I will punish them and punish the crowd who do the punishing later”, all dependant of course on whether you repent.

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