web analytics

Stopping the clock

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 pm, June 22nd, 2016 - 21 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

Re-posted from Boots Theory

First up, I need to make make it clear as someone who’s spent the majority of my adult life in the movement and who still does a bit of contract work for unions, including the current push to get the Holidays Act payroll problem fixed: I’m perhaps not the most impartial commentator on union issues.

That aside, I’d want to see this business with the Holidays Act sorted even if I’d never heard the word “union”. The idea that one million dollars of debt owed to Kiwis could be written off every single day, or that $2.3bn (!) could be owed to hundreds of thousands of us is a Big Deal.

Watching One News last night I was a bit surprised to hear John Key refuse to stop the clock on this debt-bleed by claiming legislation takes too long. It’s not something I noticed last year when the validation of speeding tickets was passed from whoa to go in one sitting. Or when they passed the Hobbit law in just two days back in 2010 – a law that took work rights off hundreds of Kiwis.

Sam Huggard from the Council of Trade Unions is right. This is a matter of priorities:

 

What I find most surprising is Key’s antenna has failed on this issue. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that people feel a bit differently about speeding tickets than they do about surprise extra back pay. And, even further on that limb, I imagine that many New Zealanders probably have a few choice opinions about a Prime Minister who urgently addresses the former while letting the latter disappear over the horizon.

So why not just do it? It’s not like freezing the statute acknowledges any government liability, nor does it lock them into accepting the union movement’s fix for the problem. It merely stops people from losing money while the problem gets sorted out.

My guess is that, caught on the hop, Key’s natural response was to say no to “The Unions”. I think that’s a mistake based on his, and other National Party folks’, unwillingness to acknowledge that “The Unions” is in fact a group of democratic organisations comprising a huge cross-section of New Zealanders, including many National Party voters.

In my experience, the union movement mostly consists of people from “middle”* New Zealand. Which is why reflexively pushing back on unions has repeatedly put National on the wrong side of public opinion, from the Hobbit law, to health and safety reforms touting dangerous worm-farms, to trying to lock zero hour contracts into law.

That said, Key’s found himself on the wrong side a lot in the last few months from the trivial (flags), to the very very serious (homelessness). Maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s out of touch, maybe he’s just not getting good advice any more.
Whatever the case, he should do himself and all working New Zealanders a favour and stop the clock on the back pay. Even if it’s just in the name of the good politics he’s built his reputation on.

By the way, if you want to join thousands of others who are telling John Key to stop the clock the Together petition is here.

~

*note: I use the term only as shorthand – the notion a homogeneous “middle” New Zealand exists and can be identified and targeted is responsible for some of the silliest political decisions of the last 30 years.

Rob Egan is an ex-senior advisor to two Labour leaders and co-owner of public relations firm Piko Consulting.

21 comments on “Stopping the clock ”

  1. Chris 1

    One of the problems with the current union movement is that it’s become disconnected with the unemployed and those unable to participate in the labour market. Another problem is that many in the union movement don’t see this as an issue.

    [Off topic. Please stick to the topic of the post – MS]

    • RJL 1.1

      @Chris

      Unions are by definition for people who have a job.

      Which isn’t to say that unions should be (or are) insensitive to the concerns of the unemployed, but the unemployed is hardly the unions’ core purpose and never has been.

      • Greg 1.1.1

        Federated farmers is a union.
        Do I need to post links where farmers exploit their workers.
        Unions are cheaper than going to the employments courts
        New Zealand management rates very poorly against international standards.
        Yet they blame workers for low productivity.

        • RJL 1.1.1.1

          @Greg

          What’s your point? That Farmers don’t have jobs?

          Also, I’m not certain that Federated Farmers is a union in the legal Registered Union sense. Doesn’t seem to be on the Register of Unions.

      • Chris 1.1.2

        Unions used to be about workers as a group that employers relied on to supply labour, whether employed or unemployed. Unions are now only about workers who have a job. Unless unions stop making that distinction they’re going to become more and more irrelevant as the labour market and the role and nature of work in our lives continue to change.

      • Chris 1.1.3

        “Unions are by definition for people who have a job.”

        Kind of confirms what I’m saying, really. Eh?

  2. save nz 2

    Great post. This is shocking example of power imbalance and lack of fairness. Kiwis are legally owed money but the new way of dealing with that (and pretty much all other rights) seems to be for government and poor employers to sit on hands and just passive aggressively refuse to do anything. The onus then becomes on individuals and unions to try to ‘fight’ through at their own cost and time, to actually get what they are rightfully owed. That is why the world is becoming dangerously unequal. Just like in insurance the people often give up before receiving what they are entitled too or don’t get what they are entitled too, through legal loop holes being exploited.
    .

    The National Government love to pass through their own legislation under urgency in days, didn’t they even stop kids from getting healthy food in schools as some urgent case? Apparently giving their parents their legally owed holiday pay so they can pay for their kids lunches doesn’t seem to be high on the governments radar.

    Yet another example of false economy, employeers by having so many contracts hours and so forth are mired in a complex soup of rules, instead of just having decent 40 hour weeks and overtime after that.

    If you want to know why NZ has such low productivity, look at this holiday pay example. Seriously what sort of loyalty would you have for your employeer if they decide they just can’t be bothered to sort this out money your’re owed and need.

    And why vote for a government that likes to rip people (especially poorer people) off?

  3. jcuknz 3

    ‘Unions’ is a dirty word over at Kiwiblog …. LOL….. they do not seem to realise that most of them are in some kind of union and value their own version of association.

  4. fisiani 4

    This is just a minor quibble about a trivial technicality which is of no burning concern for most workers. That explains why the Government is not rushing to make a patch. Hardly anyone cares about a few dollars, barely enough for a cup of coffee.

    • Rob Egan 4.1

      Unite has published the details of one of their members at McDonalds who is owed 15 hours on one week’s leave miscalculation alone. I’m also aware of other people who are owed hundreds of dollars or more. Part of the problem is the huge variety of work that has variable hours. 40 hour a week salaried workers are less likely to be affected but should still check their payslips: I’m not a payroll expert but as I understand it if their leave is accrued in hours there may still be a problem.

    • John shears 4.2

      Another Fizzy Fallacious Fistula. FOF

    • save nz 4.3

      @fisiani – if it so trivial why don’t they just fix it?

      Talent 2 situation, anyone?

    • Macro 4.4

      This is just a minor quibble about a trivial technicality which is of no burning concern for most workers

      Yes of course it is dear – I take it dear leader pays you your holiday pay correctly.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.5

      A million dollars per day isn’t “barely enough for a cup of coffee”.

      To put it another way, that’s 365 million dollars per year not being spent in the NZ economy and thus not supporting businesses and not creating jobs.

  5. fisiani 5

    A million dollars a day might sound a lot but with about 2,000,000 workers is about 50c a day. About a splash of milk.
    Also If the money is not spent by the workers then it is spent by the business or shareholders. It does not just disappear. i despair for the economic knowledge of the left

    • Richardrawshark 5.1

      If you haven’t stopped supporting this governments every move yet, with the full flood of facts available right now showing pretty much everything they have done has been sole for the purpose to keep them in power as long as possible, it has never been about bettering anything, your just playing deaf and bringing up straw arguments like the above.

      Logic tells me your a National Party member or personally vested by job or profit to support them at any cost, even your fellow mans.

      Come on Fisi instead of your one line replies, give the standard a proper post with facts and details of how nationals economic strategy is working for all nz’ers.

    • McFlock 5.2

      lol

      It’s ok, because my employers or shareholders will spend $150-odd of my money every year, even if I don’t. They’ll take that burden on for me.

      Tell you what, I’m cool with that if the government takes on the burden of spending 40 to 60 cents of every dollar you earn. It’s fiscally neutral, the money doesn’t disappear.

    • save nz 5.3

      Money does disappear from the economy if you have tax havens….

  6. Until compulsory unionism is returned workers will miss out on their rights and the unemployed will remain unemployed.

  7. Little Kiwi 7

    My last employer didn’t pay holiday pay or sick pay after 1.5 years, but I need the reference on my CV so didn’t make a fuss about it. Some employers might make the wrong payments but many small businesses don’t pay holiday pay or follow employment law and they get away with it for years and never get into any trouble for it even when they are brazen about it.

    A solution would be to filter our wages through a monitored system. It would be a huge IT system but we could become a skills and labour based economy – with the right leadership of course.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism Industry Aotearoa Conference
    speech to Tourism Industry Aotearoa annual summit Te Papa,  Wellington Introduction Nau mai, haere mai Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, Ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou. Thank you Tourism Industry Aotearoa for hosting today’s Summit. In particular, my acknowledgements to TIA Chair Gráinne Troute and Chief Executive Chris Roberts. You ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets announced as Government’s second market study
    The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries.   “Supermarkets are an integral part of our communities and economy, so it’s important to ensure that Kiwis are getting a fair deal at the checkout,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Masks to be worn on Auckland public transport and all domestic flights
    Masks will need to be worn on all public transport in Auckland and in and out of Auckland and on domestic flights throughout the country from this Thursday, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said today. “I will be issuing an Order under the COVID-19 Response Act requiring the wearing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand signs Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
    Increase to New Zealand’s GDP by around $2 billion each year Increase opportunities for NZ exporters to access regional markets Cuts red tape and offers one set of trade rules across the Asia Pacific region New government procurement, competition policy and electronic commerce offers NZ exporters increased business opportunities Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister acknowledges students as exams begin
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has recognised the extraordinary challenges students have faced this year, ahead of NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams which begin on Monday. “I want to congratulate students for their hard work during a year of unprecedented disruption, and I wish students all the best as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister meets with key ASEAN and East Asia Summit partners
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today attended the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit and discussed with Leaders a range of shared challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, including: The ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic; The importance of working collectively to accelerate economic recovery; and Exploring further opportunities for partners to work more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Veterans Affairs Summit held in Korea
    A Ministerial Summit on Veterans’ Affairs was held in the Republic of Korea this week. Ministers with veteran responsibilities were invited from all 22 countries that had been part of the United Nations Forces during the Korean War (1950 – 1953). The Summit marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clear direction set for the education system, skills prioritised
    The Government has released a set of priorities for early learning through to tertiary education and lifelong learning to build a stronger, fairer education system that delivers for all New Zealanders. “The election delivered a clear mandate from New Zealanders to accelerate our plan to reduce inequalities and make more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • A Progressive Agenda
    Speech to the Climate Change + Business Conference, November 12, 2020 Tena koutou katoa Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. It is great to see us all come together for a common cause: to redefine our future in the face of unprecedented times.  Covid-19 and climate change are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Wellington Pasifika Business Awards
    Thank you for having me join with you as we celebrate the success of Pacific businesses tonight, and recognise the resilient and innovative entrepreneurs who lead them. Equally important to me is, that we are also able tonight to offer up our gratitude to those leaders who have organised and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Commemorative address at Act of Remembrance for Armistice Day
    Tuatahi māku  Ka mihi tu ki a koe Pita E pīkauria ana i te mana o Ngā tūpuna o te whenua nei. Thank you Bernadette for your warm introduction. I would also like to reflect on your acknowledgments and welcome Peter Jackson, Taranaki Whānui; Members of the National War Memorial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago