Wage cuts for doing your job?

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, May 15th, 2012 - 10 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

Sometimes during union bargaining that has hit a wall, workers will vote to ‘work to rule’ – ie not do extras beyond the terms of you contract. It’s perfectly legal. In fact, it should be what we all do every day. Working beyond rule is gifting time and effort to the boss for no compensation. But National wants employers to be able to cut your pay for doing your job.

It’s part of a swathe of nasty changes that National is planning to introduce that will weaken our work rights, ultimately leading to lower wages (hey, Key did say he “would love to see wages drop”, remember):

The Government also wants employers to be able to deduct the wages of workers who undertake partial strikes

What’s a partial strike? “A partial strike is where work is not completely ceased or labour is not completely withdrawn, but where ‘go-slow’, ‘work to rule’, ‘overtime ban’ or other passive means are clearly manifested.”

Work to rule is what the name suggests. You work the terms of your contract. You don’t skip your lunch break, you don’t stay late, you don’t help in another team that’s short-staffed (unless it’s in your contract). You do the job you signed up to do.

And, for working to rule, National wants to allow bosses to cut your pay. What a fucken insult. You’re now being expected to do more than your contractual obligations, for free, and if you don’t your pay will be cut.

It’s hard to see how any such law would actually work – the unions would drag it through the courts, which would quickly apply basic contract law principles and say that when people have delivered their side of the contract (the agreed work), the other side must deliver theirs (the agreed pay).

But it’s the chilling effect. The risk for workers and expense for unions. That’s the real aim. To make it easier for bad bosses to beat down workers.

Work to rule can be a simple, moderate tool that reminds the bosses how much extra value their staff provide them out of sheer loyalty and that a little good feeling in return is warranted. National wants to kill that. It is aiding bad, militant bosses like Talley’s and PoAL.

10 comments on “Wage cuts for doing your job?”

  1. Roy 1

    Could be interesting if challenged in court.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    Please keep advocating work to rule. I love it when my competitors decide they are being worked to hard for how much they are paid. I usually end up with the pay rise they want as a bonus. It pleases me no end that i get paid because others thinks they aren’t paid enough but won’t work for it.

    Now take my experience and multiply it by a billion. You know understand how china feels.

  3. Richard Down South 3

    So TightyRighty, you’d be happy being paid $2 a day, so you can be a competitive worker then?

    • TightyRighty 3.1

      Blatantly missed the point there didn’t you. I’m a better worker at any price. So when I see my competitors saying they will only work as long as they are paid the value they feel they deserve, regardless of the economic realities of their job performence, I laugh till it hurts. Then cash my bonus.

      • felix 3.1.1

        Is the cash bonus on top of your $2 a day?

        • Colonial Viper

          Cashes his bonus at the company store, which keeps half of it.

          • TightyRighty

            More bonus than you’ll ever see. Half or three quarters? Who cares, I’m still winning as long as idiots like you and felix support work to rule. Please keep
            It up. My company store sells expensive suits and boozy lunches, they’re welcome to half.

            • Jeremy

              Unless you’re a software engineer (where occasionally working in an altered mental state has clear benefits if not done too often), drinking at lunch time is something only mediocre or useless workers do. On the other hand: my only objection to your employer wasting money on you is the degree to which it inflates your ego.

              • lprent

                You don’t need enhancements to enter a altered mental state while programming. Any extended thinking at library level on balancing CPU cores, threads, mutexes, scoped locks, semaphores, collection classes, comms protocols, and the various forms of IPC will do that.

                Hell just figuring out how to stress/validation test the resulting code is a brain tester.

                • Jeremy

                  I wasn’t implying that enhancements were necessary. I just meant that in general the more different perspectives you can see your code from the better. And the benefit of that can sometimes outweigh the cost of not being able to use your full intelligence.

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