The Right’s crocodile tears for higher pay

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, October 20th, 2011 - 31 comments
Categories: class war, Unions, wages - Tags:

It’s disappointing to see the Dom joining with the Right’s mouthpieces in attacking Labour’s work and wages policy. The editorial says of course “something” must be done about low and inequitable wages but opposes introducing a system modeled on the one that delivers high wages in Australia. Meanwhile bosses are putting the screws on to cut workers’ pay.

The Dom’s editorial is really odd when you think about it. Because it concedes all Labour’s reasons are justified:

In support of Labour’s policy, Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly has pointed to the growing disparity between the incomes of chief executives and workers.

She has a point. It is absurd that TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis and the next two highest-paid employees at the state-owned broadcaster earned more between them last year than the $2 million the company reported in profit.

It is absurd that Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds’ 2009 earnings of more than $7 million were 165 times greater than the earnings of a Telecom lineman. And it is even more absurd that the bankers who caused the global financial crisis are again being rewarded for their reckless conduct with eight-figure salaries and bonuses…

…A case can be made, too, for increasing worker negotiating power. Wages have not kept pace with productivity increases since the Employment Contracts Act broke union muscle in 1991.

But then it dismisses the solution that works in Australia and, weirdly, says:

The only winners from Labour’s work and wages policy, unveiled on Tuesday, will be unions, which can expect a temporary increase in members and influence.

Um. The point is that industry standards apply to non-unionised workers. In fact, unionised workers are doing relatively well. Nearly all of us have had some form of pay rise in recent years. Most non-union workers have not. And union workers tend to be on higher pay to start with. It’s non-union workers who are missing out, and that starts a race to the bottom that hurts everyone’s pay.

The Dom continues:

The consequence of hiking the minimum wage from $13 to $15 an hour, as Labour is proposing to do, will be to deny more unskilled young job seekers the opportunity to get a foot on the job ladder.

– Even the Department of Labour admits it has no evidence of reasonable increases in the minimum wage causing unemployment. It just has a model that predicts 4,000 fewer jobs would be created if the minimum wage went to $15 an hour. There is no empirical proof of that model. Labour raised the minimum wage by 71% last time and youth unemployment fell.

The consequence of telling international film producers it is our way or the highway will be for them to pack their bags.

– bollocks. We got scammed by Warner Bros and Peter Jackson. The Dom itself has revealed many of the facts behind the scam after the fact.

And the consequence of requiring all employers in an industry to offer the same minimum set of terms and conditions will be to ship more jobs off overseas.

– Where to? Australia? Where they have those standards? Or Europe, where they have those standards? And doesn’t that logic apply to any and all wage rises? Is the Dom running the Tory line of always saying wage rises would be good but opposing any actual wage rises as unaffordable?

I note that the argument that we can’t have high wages because it will force jobs offshore is never applied to people on high pay like CEOs and newspaper editors. Funny that.

The Dom doesn’t offer any solutions, just saying:

If workers are to be given more negotiating power, it must be within enterprises, not across them.

Whatever that means. I didn’t see the Dom writing scathing editorials against National’s attacks on the bargaining power of workers within workplaces such as Fire at Will, the Hobbit law, and the attacks on unions’ ability to access sites.

Meanwhile, things are getting nasty at CMP Rangitikei. The company is trying to cut workers’ pay by 20%. The workers have refused to agree. So the company has locked them out. It calculates that it can afford the lost production more than they can afford the lost pay. It is planning to starve out its own workers so it can cut wages.

I wonder if the Dom will write an editorial about that.

31 comments on “The Right’s crocodile tears for higher pay”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “It just has a model that predicts 4,000 fewer jobs would be created if the minimum wage went to $15 an hour. There is no empirical proof of that model. ”

    Which means that actually there could be 40,000 fewer jobs. Own goal there, Eddie.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Except that the empirical evidence is starting to show that increases in minimum wage increase employment. As you know.

    • Blighty 1.2

      that’s a bit silly, lanthe. It’s for the people making the claim to present evidence. In the absence of evidence, the null hypothesis presides.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        I think the stronger argument is:

        The government department that is tasked with coming up with advice to the government, thinks that only 4,000 jobs would be lost. That’s hardly the economy-wrecking figure that some pundits would like to have you believe.

        Leave it up to others to point out the flaw in this argument.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Which means that actually there could be 40,000 fewer jobs. Own goal there, Eddie.

      Or 400,000 fewer jobs. Or 4,000,000 fewer jobs.

      Fact of the matter is though, even with 4,000 fewer jobs it pumps far more money into working class neighbourhoods which need it.

      And with more discretionary income to be spent into the economy instead of hoarded by capitalist owners or invested overseas or put into unproductive property, SMEs in general will prosper.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Whatever that means.

    What that means is that the editor at the Dom thinks that workers should remain ignorant of the actual market rate of the work they do and, thus, powerless to negotiate a proper wage.

    I wonder if the Dom will write an editorial about that.

    Probably but it’ll be in praise of the “patience” and “goodwill” of the management and scathing of the workers.

  3. The Press Editorial was no better, as I pointed out here.

    In fact, it was worse – not even an acknowledgment that something might need fixing. Just some stuff that unions ‘allege’, etc..

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    An insightful editorial by the Dom.

    “The consequence of telling international film producers it is our way or the highway will be for them to pack their bags.”

    – bollocks.

    Not bollocks. It’s true and very nearly happened.

    • felix 4.1

      Only in the game, framer. Only in the game.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Not bollocks. It’s true and very nearly happened.

      So dickhead, where was Jackson and the studios going to move the movie too? Fully unionised Australia? Fully unionised North America? Fully unionised UK?

      Frankly, you are defending a crowd who wants our workers to get LESS than every other successful film centre in the world, and lackeys like you SUPPORT THAT.

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        where was Jackson and the studios going to move the movie too? Fully unionised Australia? Fully unionised North America? Fully unionised UK?

        Quite possibly, yes. I am glad we actually didn’t have to find out, even though you may not be.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          being fully unionised seems like a real competitive advantage in that case.

          That’s why I support full unionisation of the NZ entertainment and film industry.

          You know what I’m not glad of? That Key and Jackson colluded to send millions of extra tax payers dollars to a Hollywood studio.

          Bet you Jackson will get a nice big bonus from that Hollywood studio for his efforts.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      It never came close to happening. The Hobbit was never going anywhere else.

      Besides, why are we subsidising international film producers who so obviously don’t need it. I’d much prefer it if we just subsidised our own film producers who do need it.

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        Jackson has asserted a very high level of control over the NZ film industry and giving his projects even more subsidies only consolidates his position as the five hundred pound gorilla setting the standards and norms for everyone else.

      • queenstfarmer 4.3.2

        Besides, why are we subsidising international film producers who so obviously don’t need it.

        Missing the point. It’s not about what they need (or don’t need). It’s about what the country needs. Sticking it to the studios, which is what the union thought it could do, was not what the country needed.

        • Colonial Viper 4.3.2.1

          bullshit. Sticking it to the studios was exactly what was needed, especially since that traitor Jackson engineered a situation to guarantee that NZ workers would be paid less and treated to inferior working conditions compared to foreign (unionised) crew and actors.

          Keep pushing for capitalist profits at the expense of workers wages mate.

          • King Kong 4.3.2.1.1

            Too right CV.

            If some NZ actors cant have higher pay and conditions then no one in the NZ film industry should get any pay. Shut the lot down.

          • queenstfarmer 4.3.2.1.2

            I love that conspiracy theory. So, was Jackson and the studio in cahoots with the union? Or was the union so stupid that it got perfectly manipulated into doing the dastardly Jackson’s bidding?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.2

          If the country needs to make films that much then giving the money to NZ firms to do the entire job with all the proceeds from the sale/viewing of those films coming to NZ would have been better than giving it to foreign film companies with the proceeds going to those companies.

          • mik e 4.3.2.2.1

            Even Jackson got ripped off by these studios to the tune of $360million in royalties no he’s telling the unions to suck eggs

    • McFlock 4.4

      Bollocks.

  5. Back in June, I randomly checked out the profits of a cross-section of New Zealand businesses and discovered that there was an average increase in profits of around 20% http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/06/median-wage-drops-while-company-profits.html

    This percentage was also reflected in the increase in wealth of our wealthiest New Zealanders. http://www.3news.co.nz/NBR-Rich-List-2011—NZs-wealthy-doing-just-fine/tabid/423/articleID/220356/Default.aspx

    To deny New Zealand workers wage increases that keep up with inflation and living costs is verging on criminal. When many low waged workers need to have their wages supplemented by benefits we are subsidising large businesses who can actually afford to to pay more.

    Some say we need to keep wages down to support small business who aren’t doing as well as the corporates and yet if wages increased there would be more spending domestically and small businesses will have increased profits. We appear to desperately follow the US economic model, but I would have thought huge warning bells would be ringing in the ears of our local decision makers given the current crisis over there.

  6. Blue 6

    You will never find a Kiwi newspaper with a positive thing to say about unions and/or anything designed to have a similar effect.

    Why? Because journalism is a highly unionised profession.

    Those who write the editorials loathe having to deal with their unionised staff.

  7. Irascible 7

    I notice the Herald has editorialised the opinion that Labour’s policy would be a return to the “bad old days”. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10760282
    With each hysterical editorial I’m reminded of the response in a Bruce the Barbarian cartoon. to an outpouring of hysterical response to a Labour Party policy… The Times hates it! The Mail reckons it is terrible.. etc.. IT MUST BE GOOD!!!!

  8. marsman 8

    EDDIE the Dom IS one of the Right’s mouthpieces, it’s proved that time and time again. They have the gall to call themselves fair and balanced!

  9. lprent 9

    The DomPost simply aren’t that good a newspaper these days. As soon as it gets down to details they get confused.

    Case in point – they don’t know their left from their right as a sharp eyed reader points out….

    With a confusion about left and right like that, I guess they may have been calling the election for Labour rather than National all year. We just didn’t pick up on how severe their confusion was.

    😈

  10. hemebond 10

    Where to? Australia? Where they have those standards? Or Europe, where they have those standards?

    I would assume China, where our manufacturing jobs tend to go.

  11. Rodel 11

    Christchurch Press- Front page -big headlines (on Wednesday I think).. National will make Kiwi saver compulsory… actually they might make it temporarily compulsory…. well if they get to a surplus….. well actually maybe in 2014 or sometime..maybe.. Front page headlines!!!

    Same paper, same day Labour announces an employment/ wages policy of huge significance… buried on page 8.
    The media’s playing field is not level.

    • RobM 11.1

      I only read the papers online and Stuff led with the Kiwi saver surplus and the Labour policy was buried down the page.

      Couldn’t even find the Labour announcement on NZ Herald. Kiwi Saver conscription at the top. Appeared a couple of hours later.

    • Puddleglum 11.2

      Yes, I noticed (and noted) that too.

      The Labour announcement was page 8, top left, small article, above a large ad and outside the automatic perceptual ‘scan’ area – you had to systematically scan the entire page to even see it.

      Given the scathing editorial that followed, today, it makes you wonder why the original announcement had such low billing.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      The MSM is Nationals propaganda channel.

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    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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