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Stunning

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, March 24th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: ,

This is just stunning:

Mr Key was yesterday questioned about an employment situation where a person was offered a job paying $40,000 a year and told that the fourth week of leave would have to be included in this or the job would go to the “next in line”.

He said this would not happen because employers “would be prosecuted if they did that”.

Asked what could be done to stop employers pressuring for the swap then simply denying doing so, Mr Key said all employment relationships had to be based on “good faith”.

Forcing workers to rely on the “good faith” of their employer simply isn’t good enough. There’s a reason we have minimum standards of employment, and it’s to make sure our working lives are not subject to the whim of our employers.

It’s just astounding that when given a concrete example of how employers could abuse the law despite his promise of safeguards the best John Key could come up with was a hope that employers would act in “good faith”.

The only plausible explanation is that he knows very well there’s no real protection against abuse, and that’s part of the plan.

John Key and National have wanted to repeal four weeks’ annual leave from day one because their business backers resent having to provide you with decent leave. Don’t think that’s changed one bit. This is about normalising three weeks’ leave for a future repeal.

UPDATE: No Right Turn has an excellent piece here.

42 comments on “Stunning”

  1. jason 1

    I assume its just a one-off payment in regards to selling your 4th week.

  2. cocamc 2

    Tane
    This is simply about giving employees a choice, as they do everytime they sit down with their employers to talk about their job (union represented or not).
    What is big deal with this. It is a storm in a teacup. I am glad of the choice, personally would want the extra week this year rather than the payment, but other people would want the cash.
    And as it’s decided annually next year I might want the money.
    If employers and employees cannot sit down in good faith then all hope is lost. Yes – there are bad employers out there but let’s not lump the majority of employers in with them.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      And how much “choice” would you feel you had if your employer quietly told you that the week you would rather have was not on the table unless you wanted to be swapped to another shift or have your overtime cut, or forgo this year’s pay rise? Because that is what many workers will face under this law.

      • infused 2.1.1

        Great to see you can read the future. Give me some proof this is what is going to happen.

        • Kaplan 2.1.1.1

          The law is currently in place. It is set to change. The onus is on those making the change to PROVE that this scenario is NOT going to occur.

      • cocamc 2.1.2

        IB –
        Utter rubbish.
        I am an employer – and as an employer I give my employees lots of choice – they can work from home, I give them extra leave over Holiday season to be with family, give them opportunities to take some ownership in the business. And despite of the economic situation I’ve just paid bonuses to staff (which wasn’t in their agreements) for the efforts they put in over the past year. I have good relationships with my employees and that is what we should aspire to in overall employment relations, not this though shalt approach from both sides of the table.

        • Kaplan 2.1.2.1

          You are not the only employer in this country. Do you accept there are employers out there that will try to take advantage of this?

          I suggest that if you disagree you are living in a dream world.

          • cocamc 2.1.2.1.1

            Of course there are GOOD and BAD employers. But lets focus on the Bad employers and go about fixing that – rather than always lowering ourselves to the lowest common denominator.

          • Kaplan 2.1.2.1.2

            cocamc:
            “lets focus on the Bad employers and go about fixing that”

            Excellent, great idea. Lets fix up all the bad employers THEN make the changes that would otherwise affect their workers. Seems like the logical thing to do. Good luck with those fixes.

        • Akldnut 2.1.2.2

          Cool have you got a branch in Auckland – I want to work for you, you sound great unlike the asshole who has effectively offered a job with only three weeks holiday.
          I suppose the upside if its acceptedwill be he won’t have to pay a higher rate of tax (40 hrs – normal PAYE ) because it will be spread over the year. Unlike the ones who trade their week off for coin (40 hrs + 40 hrs traded paid together = Huge PAYE) or will there be a new tax code for those who take the cash option?

          Wouldn’t holding onto your holiday “en mass” create work for others to fill in for you, thereby creating employment – the supposed aim of this govt?
          Just who will be the big winner here, the little guy or business?
          If it goes it the direction of everything else they’ve done it’ll be the business.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    Actually, cocamc, this is about giving employers a choice, not their workers. The clear option for bosses is to not offer a wage rise.and say to workers that there is a weeks pay available instead.

    Another subtle attack on the rights of workers, disguised as ‘choice’.

    Have their been widespread calls from workers to buy off the 4th week? Do workers not enjoy their time off? Are their families not strengthened by having parents at home more often?

  4. Pat 4

    It is not a “concrete example”. It is a hypothetical example.

    Labour and it’s supporters need to get away from their “bad things are going to happen” approach, becuase I reckon it has lost its impact. Since Helen Clark’s opening speech in the election campaign, all we have been hearing about is all the bad things that are going to happen if Key becomes PM. This has continued after the election with every word uttered by Key carefully picked over as further evidence for the prophecy of doom.

    If Labour MP’s are genuinely reconnecting with their electorates, then they should focus on gathering real stories about real people suffering real impacts from any of the Nats policy changes. Then they will have their “concrete examples” – something meaningful and newsworthy to attack National with, plus they will also find areas where they can develop a policy platform to take to the next election.

    • George Darroch 4.1

      That’ll take a while – the effects of these laws isn’t instant. In the meantime, ‘this is what will happen’ is all the left have to go on.

      National should be called up if their laws do not have the effects they claim, and the left similarly for their claims.

      Just like the idiots claiming the “death of free speech” should have been laughed at this election, for their patently false claims.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      When a law is made you need to predict what is going to happen. Taking it on faith that nothing bad will happen is sheer stupidity. The scenario outlined is one that is guaranteed to happen because there are some real schmucks around that have the power to ensure that it happens.

      The law isn’t there to force everyone to do what’s right but to try and protect the majority from an unscrupulous minority.

      • TightyRighty 4.2.1

        and yet everyone took the EFA on faith.

        and ditto your last sentence and how the EFA was put forward by an unscrupulous minority.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          The EFA wasn’t taken on faith. A lot of people questioned it on both the right and the left. A lot of people realised that something like it was needed on both the right and the left. It was, unfortunately, not a good example of legislation.

          And it wasn’t put forward by an unscrupulous minority but because of an unscrupulous minority (The National Party).

          • TightyRighty 4.2.1.1.1

            ahh no, the unsrupulous minority targeted was the bretheren. which is a hate crime and discriminatory.

        • Akldnut 4.2.1.2

          And how did the EFA affect the common Joe. It did nothing at all, it only affected only those who were trying to influence the direction this country was taking (normally behind the scenes, anaomously and unscrupulously) How did it hurt you?

  5. ak 5

    Stunning and sickening: the repulsive faux-naivety of the usual suspects particularly so – the same smug, smarmy lice who whine loudest when the shoe’s on the other foot.

    Much worse than Fire at Will. Worst part is, there’s nothing to stop them in future applying this to the 3rd, 2nd and 1st weeks as well.

    Back to serfdom. The hard-wrought gains from the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers and mothers, cunningly and gradually eroded by the same grinning, pink-fingered wide-boys who have gorged on the cream and now bought the world to its knees.

    Enough is enough. Fight this one hard.

  6. Mike Collins 6

    “because their business backers resent having to provide you with decent leave”

    Well actually no. It is not about resenting providing decent leave. It is resenting extra costs being imposed by do gooder elitists in Wellington for no extra gain. You know this. However you seem to think it does your argument well to paint employers as being a group looking to screw over their workforce at every opportunity.

    This is a recurring theme with your statements Tane (and IB for that matter). You wilfully misrepresent people’s positions. You are capable of making arguments based on your own logic, why you need to misrepresent others is beyond me.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      Mike, I’m pretty sure that those “extra costs being imposed by do gooder elitists” are the reason for the “resentment”. Or are you saying that a) there is no resentment at the extra cost, or that b) the “decent leave” does not come at a cost?

      It’s all logical and straight forward, but if you prefer to pretend to be so retarded as to not understand it, that’s your business.

      • Mike Collins 6.1.1

        No PB – it’s the implication that employers are a group of people that resent people taking leave that I have an issue with – as if it’s a case of them vs us. Of course the resentment lies with the extra cost – however Tane’s statement leaves me with the impression that employers resent their employees for the leave – rather than the do gooders in Wellington.

        BTW I am far from retarded.

        • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1

          The ‘cost’ equals ‘the leave’.

          You are spinning it no less than Tane is. This particular discussion is about the leave, to generalise it and say that what is resented is the ‘costs’ imposed by wellington, doesn’t change that fact.

          In this instance of that generalised resentment against ‘costs’, the thing that is resented, the ‘cost’, is the leave. It is hardly dishonest to say so.

          No where does Tane say that “employers resent their employees for the leave “, and I’m glad that you note that that is only your inference. But to carry on as if that is what he actually said is to misrepresent his argument. Which is ironic, given your complaint.

          What he says is that employers resent the leave, presumably because of the cost, which you acknowledge is something they resent.

  7. Indiana 7

    Whats the definitin of good faith? Is it just for bargaining? Both employers and employee representatives have been known to stretch the definition. The power of choice is that you can decide if your happy with your work conditions by leaving or staying and trying to change them through talking with your employer either represeneted or not. If you can’t change your working conditions, surely employees are looking to find another place of work where their work conditions are better…isn’t that what any free minded individual would do?

    • Mike Collins 7.1

      Ahh but you forget that we must always cater for the lowest common denominator Indiana. We abolish choice, because although good for most people, there is a small possibility that some won’t benefit from it. Welcome to Lefty101.

      • r0b 7.1.1

        The “choices” that lefties want to limit are mostly the “choices” to abuse and exploit our fellow human beings.

        Compare and contrast with right wing / conservative types. They are all about control. Controlling workers. Reducing social services that provide choices to low income earners. Locking ever more people up in ever more prisons. And especially controlling personal decisions regarding drug use and the ultimate personal choices relating to sexuality, marriage and abortion.

        Give me a leftie any day thanks.

  8. Quoth the Raven 8

    When a right wing government artificially creates high unemplyment and is ideologically opposed to a full employment economy because that would make things hard for the plutocrats – creating a buyer’s market for labour and not a seller’s market then what real choice does a worker have if they need work?
    As this free market advocate says:

    Those small words, in the free market, are most important because without them, the argument fails and is utterly false. Can it really be “voluntary’ to choose only from shitty jobs in a regulated economy where most work options have been made unavailable and a job is necessary to generate monetary income to pay taxes? I say it is not. Even if you make the choices yourself, it cannot be considered a voluntary choice to pick a least bad option from the options remaining within a suffocating framework of coercive measures.

    Of course, the choice itself is voluntary and in that sense the rationalist logic seems applicable. But the choice is still made in an environment where most choices have been coercively done away with and where the chooser is restricted from making the choices he or she should have made were it a free market. It is like saying you have free speech only you cannot speak of X, Y, Z or A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J and K. That is not free speech it is regulated speech, and what you choose to speak of necessarily depends on what you aren’t allowed to speak of.

    Free market arguments are simply not applicable to the real world as it is. They are only applicable as arguments for the superior functions and mechanisms of the free market. And the free market itself is a great standard to which the real economy can and should be assessed to make clear its inefficiencies and injustices as well as providing an outstanding alternative. You cannot, however, make your own mix of the two; using free market logic to argue for low salaries and bad working conditions in contemporary state economy is simply a mistake.

    Government privileges and the legal/regulatory framework that enforces plutocracy must first be gotten rid of if we are to free the market. Right wingers can’t understand this because they are unconciously or disengenuously blind to privielge and the imbalance in the labour market.

    Mike said We abolish choice, because although good for most people, there is a small possibility that some won’t benefit from it. Welcome to Lefty101.

    Oh yes Mr righty and is National going to end drug prohibition so people have the choice? Is National going to allow abortion on demand so people have the choice? Euthanasia? any number of things? No becasue they are conservatives and liberty is something they cannot possibly grasp.

    • Mike Collins 8.1

      “Oh yes Mr righty and is National going to end drug prohibition so people have the choice? Is National going to allow abortion on demand so people have the choice? Euthanasia? any number of things? No becasue they are conservatives and liberty is something they cannot possibly grasp.”

      Nope I would hazard a guess that National would do none of those things. That is why I could never be a member of the National Party or vote for them.

      • Quoth the Raven 8.1.1

        That is why I could never be a member of the National Party or vote for them.

        That’s good to hear Mike.

  9. gingercrush 9

    I said I wouldn’t comment in this thread but wtf is with blanket statements such as the right controls sexuality or that the right controls marriage. When California itself a very left wing state voted to oppose gay marriage. I’m not even sure why some of you are using that shit in your arguments. Or using arguments that the right controls drug use, when the left itself is hardly in a position where they want to free-up laws around drug control. The Greens excepted.

    • Quoth the Raven 9.1

      Ginger – The left is more than just a few political parties. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a republican so I don’t know how left California could possibly be, not that democrats are left by any stretch of the imagination.

      • gingercrush 9.1.1

        Then you’re basically saying you define what is left and right. There are always different shades to what a right and left voter/party is. Some are hard-left, some are hard-right, some are moderate left (I guess something you could call the democrats) while others are moderate right. But just as you point out to me QtR that left is more than a few political parties. So too is the right. And for someone to then say in this very thread that the right limits marriage and sexuality is in itself inherently unfair.

        And QTR as you well know, your own opinions around drug prohibition isn’t shared by all people that identify left or even shared by many lefts. While such an opinion is shared by some that identify right. Hence, why people shouldn’t go around making blanket statements like some are doing here.

        • Felix 9.1.1.1

          ginger,

          Please just accept that people, from time to time, will use generalities such as “those on the right prefer to dictate on matters of sexual behaviour” which while obviously not universally true are self-evidently generally so.

          If you can bring your tiny mind to allow others these occasional indiscretions of language then perhaps the thread can get back to the topic and we can all forget about your niggardly attempt at diversion.

  10. charlie 10

    I said I wouldn’t comment in this thread but wtf is with blanket statements such as the right controls sexuality or that the right controls marriage

    “Lies about surgical sterility requirements. Questions about their sex lives. Outright threats. Here’s what faces families in Georgia when their luck runs out.”

  11. Quoth the Raven 11

    Ginger – I do have somewhat of different definition of left and right to most people. In mainstream politics left and right have been watered down till they’re almost meaningless adjectives. I base my definition of left and right on history. The left is trenchantly anti-authoritarian. The right simply isn’t. I feel justified in using the terms how I do. It’s more instructive to use terms like capitalism, free market, libertarian, anarchist, laissez-faire, socialist, communist, mutualist and so on. But each term in itself is either going to describe something on the left or right. Most parties in mainstream politics have coalesced on the right. I still slip between using left and right in the contemporary mainstream way and what I see as a properly defined historical way sometimes. I find this article on the subject very interesting.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    Quoth “When a right wing government artificially creates high unemplyment and is ideologically opposed to a full employment economy because that would make things hard for the plutocrats…”

    Quoth, lets say extreme right wing ideology (not that I agree) was applied here in NZ:

    1. The minimum wage was abolished.
    2. The unemployment benefit was abolished.

    What effect would these extreme right wing policies have on unemployment? How could such policies do anything other than eliminate unemployment rather than increase it as you suggest?

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      How could they possibly eliminate unemployment?
      We’ve had such policies before and what we had was unemployment, extreme poverty and almost continual collapse of the economy. People who continue to expound such policies have failed to learn from history.

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    tsmithfield – in an environment of gross government privilege to the wealthy they would have a horrible effect on workers. This is what I argue in one of the above comments. You’ve got to understand we live under plutocracy. Welfare is a little thing the government provides to ameliorate the effects of this plutocracy. There’s a great tolstoy quote on this but I can’t remember and I don’t have time right now will get back to this later.

  14. jimbo 14

    Isn’t your example the same as “Imagine an employer offers a job for $40,000, and tells the applicant that unless he gets a blowjob from her once a week it will go to the next in line”…?

    If you’re worried about enforcement of labour laws (no matter what they are), then the same example could be used for 4th week holiday pay, minimum wage, health and safety, probation periods AND demands for blowjobs.

    The enforcement issue sinmply isn’t a killer argument against why any labour law should be relaxed or changed.

    • Matthew Pilott 14.1

      Isn’t your example the same as …

      Err, one would be legal, the other wouldn’t.

      For the love of God please don’t make me explain which is legal and why the other one isn’t…

      • jimbo 14.1.1

        Err, no Matthew, that’s not correct. As I understand the proposed law, only the employee could approach the employer and suggest the 4th week’s holiday is instead paid out. Hence employers “would be prosecuted if they did that”.

        Similarly, I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal for the employee to offer up a daily blowie. If the employer demanded it, he would be prosecuted.

        If it’s illegal in both circumstances for the employer to do the offering (or exert any form of pressure on the employee to take up the offer), then, as I said before, the issue is one of enforcement.

  15. DavidW 15

    Tane,

    I presume you are employed ….Yes?

    I assume you have 4 weeks annual leave built into your employment contract …. Yes? (please let us know if it is more than 4)

    I anticipate that if you have been with the same employer for more than a couple of years and have soem accumulated but untaken leave days ….. yes? (please let us know how many)

    I also guess that your contract provides for a limitation on the degree to which leave can be accumulated …. Yes? (you have an idiot employer if it doesn’t)

    Does this limitation imply by application of simple logic that your annual leave provision is likely to be greater than your annual leave needs ….. Yes !! (no question about it)

    Has your employer ever been required to enforce the non-accumulation provision and insist that leave gets taken even though the employee has no desire to take it? …. (it would be a strange workplace indeed if this had never happened)

    Now think about it.

    Nasty employer insists on leave being taken …. disgruntled employee would rather take the cash! Not a formula for workplace harmony.

    IT MAY HAPPEN TO YOU Tane and sooner than you think.

    Logically too if selling leave was not to go ahead the corollary should be that unused leave is not paid out on resignation.

    Hhhhhmmmmmm now that is something worth thinking about in this years negotiating round. Thanks guys for the germ of a new idea on how to screw the workforce . Exits to mad hysterical laughter!

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