Wellington Rail Workers Strike to Defend Their Working Conditions

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, November 16th, 2017 - 223 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Media release from the Rail & Maritime Transport Union 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Wellington Rail Workers Strike to Defend Their Working Conditions

Workers employed by Transdev Wellington and Hyundai Rotem on Wellington’s passenger rail network have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action to defend their terms and conditions of employment.

They will stop work for 24 hours starting from 2am on Thursday 16 November.

“We’ve been trying to negotiate with Transdev and Hyundai since May this year and they’ve stalled every single step of the way,” says Wayne Butson, RMTU advocate for the rail workers.

The two multinational companies are demanding the removal of long-standing terms and conditions in the collective agreement.

“They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington’s rail services. Now they’re trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers,” says Wayne Butson. “Strike action is the only avenue our members have to get the boss to sit down and be reasonable.

“We all regret the disruption this will cause for Wellington commuters, and we encourage them to ask the regional council, and their Mayors, some hard questions about why big international companies are being allowed to run down good Wellington jobs.”

This will be the first industrial action since 1994 to affect the Wellington rail system for longer than two hours.

“The people who go to work every day making our rail network run won’t give up their employment conditions so the boss can make more money,” says Wayne Butson. “And they will continue to take the action until we get Transdev and Hyundai to understand that multinationals can’t bully Kiwi workers.”

ENDS

For more information contact:
Wayne Butson, General Secretary: 0274 962 _______________________________________________________________________________________

 

223 comments on “Wellington Rail Workers Strike to Defend Their Working Conditions ”

  1. riffer 1

    Great pic from Wagstaff. Such a pity to hear the dickhead from Transdev try to frame it as a “Black Power Salute” on RNZ this morning. I didn’t get to hear Wayne Butson’s rebuttal as the traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be this morning, but heard him talking on RNZ yesterday afternoon. Suffice to say my opinion of Transdev’s side of the argument isn’t very good.

    • John Shears 1.1

      Wayne made it clear that the sticking point was about the attempt to reduce overtime rates. The negotiations were paused by mutual agreement while the managers left the room to consult, after some time the union representatives were advised that they had left the building without any further discussion.

      • Wensleydale 1.1.1

        And that there is adequate demonstration of the contempt they hold for the union. Don’t even have sufficient courtesy to walk back into the room and inform the representatives that they’re going to need further time for consultation. They walk offsite and get a minion to do it for them. Charming. I can see this ‘negotiation’ is going to go swimmingly.

      • Tracey 1.1.2

        All that left out of stuffs article… needed room for losts of Collins BS

      • Nick K 1.1.3

        On the radio this morning, the employer said that currently no workers work overtime, because it’s payable at double time – it’s unaffordable for the business. The employer would like some workers to work overtime though, so are offering time and a half. That would allow some workers to increase their income, but the union is against it because it’s not what the current rate is…….which can’t be paid to the workers.

        Go figure out that mentality.

        • KJT 1.1.3.1

          The original intent of overtime was to discourage employers requiring workers to work overtime. And employ more people.
          Some workers like to have a life.
          That was when 40 hours a week gave a decent income, though.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.3.2

          On the radio this morning, the employer said that currently no workers work overtime, because it’s payable at double time – it’s unaffordable for the business.

          Exactly the purpose of over-time. That’s why they were always called penal rates. They penalise the employers who would prefer to work their workers to death rather than hire more people as needed.

          The employer would like some workers to work overtime though, so are offering time and a half.

          But it would be better for society if the company just employed more people. Would seem it would be easier for the company as well because then they wouldn’t have all this hoohaa going on. So, why don’t they simply do that?

    • Lol a black power salute – what an idiot deliberately chucking petrol on the hatefire.

      I stand with these workers and hope this is resolved very soon.

    • Cinny 1.3

      Awesome pic, big ups to all involved.

      Around these parts we all call that a ‘fist pump’.

      Makes me wonder what kind of company the ‘dickhead’ from Transdev keeps to call it anything else, or was he getting his advice from his companies propaganda dept.

  2. CLEANGREEN 2

    Our family stand in solidarity with you all Wayne and the RMTU and none of our family members are employed by rail companies (yet).

    We believe in all our rights to collective bargaining unlike National did.

    “United we stand – divided we fall.”

  3. BM 3

    What are the terms and conditions the companies want changed?

    • Infused 3.1

      Shrug

    • John Shears 3.2

      For BM go up to my reply at 1.1

      • BM 3.2.1

        “We have told the union and the mediation service that we’re available to talk at any time, but the union’s refusal to even talk about Transdev’s claims is hardly good faith,” says Mr Gould.

        Transdev has accepted all of the RMTU claims and offered a package that will improve the overall pay and allowances of staff by almost 2%.

        http://www.transdevwellington.co.nz/index.php?mact=NewsManager,cntnt01,frontend_article_details,0&cntnt01article_id=105&cntnt01returnid=150

        Seems to be the complete opposite to what the union is claiming, according to Transdev staff will be better off.

        Who’s talking bullshit?

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          Hmm, tricky one. People fighting for their worker rights vs a multinational whose commitment is to shareholder profits. I know who I believe.

          Transdev sound like they’re spinning instead of communicating in good faith with the public.

          • BM 3.2.1.1.1

            Unions are claiming that this is all about increasing company profits and that the employees are going to miss out and at the same time Transdev stating the employees will get a 2% wage increase.

            Maybe Transdev and the unions need to put all the information out in the open so we can actually get a proper idea as to what’s really going on.

            • weka 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Are negotiations bound by confidentiality?

            • Psycho Milt 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Unions are claiming that this is all about increasing company profits and that the employees are going to miss out and at the same time Transdev stating the employees will get a 2% wage increase.

              Sigh. It’s just about routine for employers to try to trade a cost-of-living increase off against cuts to conditions. In which case, both sides would be telling the truth but Transdev and Hyundai Rotem would still be cunts. I’m picking they’re still cunts.

              • Wensleydale

                They think everyone’s stupid.

                “We’ll give you more lollies now! Look! Lollies! Mmmm… delicious! And… and, erm, you get less overall lollies in the long term… but don’t bother yourselves with that right now. Look! Lollies! Have I mentioned how delicious they are?!” *waves packet enticingly*

              • Tracey

                Those workers need to realise how lucky they are to have a job in a rockstar economy

            • Macro 3.2.1.1.1.3

              Yes a “whopping 2% pay increase! – but consider this BM – does a 2% pay increase equate or better the loss of penal rates where fewer staff are forced into working longer hours? The answer I’m sure if you were in that position would be a resounding NO! but that is effectively what is on the table from these employers.

            • Tracey 3.2.1.1.1.4

              Like in the Ports of Auckland “good faith” negotiation BM

            • Cinny 3.2.1.1.1.5

              Maybe Transdev and the unions need to put all the information out in the open so we can actually get a proper idea as to what’s really going on.

              Agree with you BM on this bit.

        • mauī 3.2.1.2

          Not much detail from Transdev which is always suspicious.

          This line is telling: “Transdev has accepted all of the RMTU claims and offered a package that will improve the overall pay and allowances of staff by almost 2%.”

          Really? So if that really is the case why the hell would employees still be on strike and going without pay.

          • Psycho Milt 3.2.1.2.1

            “Transdev has accepted all of the RMTU claims and offered a package that will improve the overall pay and allowances of staff by almost 2%.”

            Which means the strike is about RMTU not accepting Transdev’s claims, which in turn means Transdev has made claims but is not mentioning those claims to the media, which in turn means Transdev doesn’t want those claims in the media because it would immediately be clear why the workers are striking and why that strike is justified.

            • tracey 3.2.1.2.1.1

              Will this employer follow the Ports of Auckland strategy and start leaking personal info to the press?

              What annoys me is it has been HOW many years since these workers went on strike (last time was 1994)but they are accused by some of holding nz to ransom. Accuse them of being long suffering maybe.

        • DoublePlusGood 3.2.1.3

          Transdev is bullshitting.
          Transdev have accepted that RMTU have made claims. They haven’t agreed to them.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.4

          Collins definitely is

        • CLEANGREEN 3.2.1.5

          Who’s talking bullshit? BM< asked.

          So BM why are you taking transdev at their word now; "offered a package that will improve the overall pay and allowances of staff by almost 2%". – when you wasn't at the bargaining table ……or was you?

          Well then where is the full offer incriments/rates of hourly & in overtime rates?

          Something here smells fishy,

          Corporate systematic manipulation strategies seem at play.

    • mauī 3.3

      According to Wagstaff, “Trying to force the people working on our rail networks to accept lower pay on weekends, to pay for medical certificates on demand by the employer, to have reduced injury recovery support and to work public holidays without even being asked.”

      The companies are saying all they’re doing is making change, and you know any change is always good change. Sounds like your typical corporate bs.

      Good stuff from the unions though their description of things sounds much more honest.

      http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=259317&cat=984&fm=newsmain%2Cnarts

  4. patricia bremner 4

    Sadly the neo-libs will say :told you so!”

    They are deliberately creating a climate of division. No multi-national employer should be able to overide NZ law, put up poor conditions and less pay and expect to succeed.

    The new government needs to put their fair work laws in place, and have them unable to be legally changed by overseas employers.

    This continual spiral down of wages and conditions has to be stopped. These employers need to provide decent pay conditions and a maintenance programme.

    If they are not able to do this they should be bought out at market rates by the government, using Kiwi saver, excess ACC money as an investment for our infrastructure.

    We need to find a floor, and an upward line of improvement, not this distructive cycle.

    • CLEANGREEN 4.1

      yes Patricia,

      Why can a multinational company come to NZ and roll over a workforce that has been unionised for decades?

      Oh yes that is because this is the way National hae designed it tom”break unions” by givinng our rail asset to a multinational company for forcing the unionised workers to give up the union of course.

      National were setting us all for an underpaid, underhanded, divisive, environment of bad working conditions!!!!!!!!

      Thanks National; – now we know why you were voted out of office.

      The electorate finally woke up to it, so get over it.

  5. Whispering Kate 5

    Why do companies, when they want to grow and be a better progresive economic company always have to do it at their staff’s expense. Why are they so lazy and non-creative and lazy in the ideas department. How about making their companies smarter and appreciating that one cannot reduce salaries if they want to move forward – its not moving forward just going backwards.

    Go back to the drawing board you business owners and start thinking smarter. It’s like mill owners in the Victorian times, we haven’t progressed much if its always the employee having to bear the burden.

    • Why are they so lazy and non-creative and lazy in the ideas department.

      From what I can make out it’s because they’ve got the wrong people at the top. People who just see the workers as a cost while they see themselves as the creative go-getters that create wealth. People who are unwilling to accept that they are the cost and that, as such, they should be paid less than the workers.

    • Wensleydale 5.2

      Yeah, I think you answered your own question. Because they’re lazy and lack creativity, and it’s the easiest and most expedient option.

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.3

      Because CEOs aren’t Adam Smith. They don’t see keeping wages high as part of their job. They see it as increasing short-term shareholder value at the cost of every single other thing, even long-term shareholder value.

      • syclingmad 5.3.1

        Some of them see the train at the end of the tunnel – possibly for purely selfish (“pitchfork”) reasons – see Nick Hanauer’s article below …

        https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014

      • Baba Yaga 5.3.2

        I am the CEO of a kiwi owned international business, and I don’t know a single CEO who sees their job in the way you describe. My job is to increase shareholder value over the medium to long term, and a significant element of achieving that is the retention of good people. That only happens when those people are well rewarded, financially and in many other ways.

        How many CEO’s have you actually met and talked to?

        • Matthew Whitehead 5.3.2.1

          I actually have met a few, thanks for asking. All of them, even the ones who clearly did decide things this way, would deny deciding things that way because they understand how publicity works.

          And I would submit that this means you’ve never met an honest one that has a share-based incentive structure, like most big multinationals with any hand in the US do, if you genuinely believe that there is no risk of bias to short-term decision making in large corporations.

          • Baba Yaga 5.3.2.1.1

            You seem to be focused only on large corporations. In NZ, which is surely what we’re discussing, there are relatively few ‘large’ corporations. I network with many local CEO’s, and the vast majority reflect what I can only assume is their shareholders longer term outlook – that Shareholder value is best enhanced by recruiting and retaining the best people.

            • KJT 5.3.2.1.1.1

              My experience of smaller companies, like cleaning firms and contractors, and even transport firms is they all compete these days by undercutting each other with the lowest wages.
              Easier than having to manage more efficiently. Or investing better in capital plant.

              • Baba Yaga

                Wage costs are only one component of competitiveness. Sure, the more labour intensive the activity, the more critical the wage costs become to the overall competitiveness of the business. But that is balanced by other factors, such as productivity initiatives, by quality differentials (a significant factor in the commercial cleaning industry), and by a businesses overhead structure (management etc).

                • My observation of the various companies cleaning our place over the years is that each one bid lower than the previous one while promising to do a better job, which their minimum-wage staff are then expected to make good on. And my colleagues then complain about the cleaners when the impossibility of making good on their bosses’ promises becomes apparent (something that pisses me off, although not as much as the cunts running the cleaning companies piss me off).

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Talk to the people who own or manage ‘your place’. It’s their demands that are at fault. The cleaning companies are most likely just trying to keep their staff employed.

        • KJT 5.3.2.2

          Quit a few. And ones who look long term and respect their staff are a rarity. At least in New Zealand. Though they, CEO’s, do tend to be recruited from overseas.

          SOP is to gain a contract by under quoting. And then try to make it profitable, by ripping off their staff.

          • Baba Yaga 5.3.2.2.1

            “And ones who look long term and respect their staff are a rarity. At least in New Zealand. ”

            That is not my experience (as both an employee and an employer) or my observation. It is also not supported by the fact that so few NZ worker choose union representation in the workplace. Clearly most do not see the threat you do.

            • KJT 5.3.2.2.1.1

              They see the threat of losing their job, if they join a Union, or even ask for fair working conditions.

              • Baba Yaga

                Sorry, but that is complete nonsense. There are dodgy employer, just as their are dodgy workers, but the vast majority of both work well together in the interests of both. Invoking some kind of 1970’s attitude to industrial relations in 2017 just harms your own credibility.

                • Just like the landed gentry and peasants of feudal times worked well together in the interests of (ahem) both. Why, the relative absence of political activity by peasants just goes to show how satisfied they were at having no representation in government…

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Obviously we don’t live in feudal times. We live in times where workers and employers have responsibilities under the law, and in the rare cases these are not met, action is taken. I applaud the unions for what they have achieved over many years against exploitative employers and industries, and I welcome union involvement in workplaces I am involved with. But it is a simple reality that increasingly workers don’t. That says to me most workers don’t see the need for representation. Rightly or wrongly.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Simple is it? Not according to James Bolger: he says unions were deliberately dis-empowered and that needs to change.

                      Sounds anything but simple. I can see why you’d prefer to ignore that elephant though.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      Jim Bolger has not been PM for 20 years. In the intervening period we have had 9 years of a Labour government, who clearly didn’t believe workers were being unduly compromised.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      They changed the law and forced employers to deal with their employees in good faith. National removed that obligation and now we have homeless working families.

                      Would you like a spade?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “They changed the law and forced employers to deal with their employees in good faith.”

                      Actually the industrial relationships legal framework has changed very little over the past 20 years. And the changes you’re referring to had no impact on union membership, so they’re hardly relevant.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Prior to the Bolger government’s deliberate attack upon employees, union power forced employers to behave in good faith. Labour’s law change applied similar force.

                      I see you cannot understand why that’s relevant.

                      One way or another, the force has to occur. The current government has signalled that it will look at national awards. The unions will be involved.

                      By the way: union membership 2013: 16.6%

                      Union membership 2016: 20% (“around one in five”)

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “By the way: union membership 2013: 16.6%
                      Union membership 2016: 20% (“around one in five”)”

                      Which is still substantially lower than it has been in the past.

                      My point stands – significant numbers of workers have voluntarily decided they don’t require unions to represent them. In fact the vast majority have decided that (80% by your own numbers). I’m not using that as an indictment on unions, but it does indicate most workers are happy with the relationship they have with their employers.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yawn. Point already covered by McFlock and Psycho Milt. Refer to their responses to your self-serving crap.

            • Psycho Milt 5.3.2.2.1.2

              …so few NZ worker choose union representation in the workplace.

              Gosh, I wonder why these rational actors refrain from choosing something that would be in their best interest? It’s a mystery…

              • Baba Yaga

                …because clearly they don’t see it as being in their best interest.

                • Oh, you bet they don’t. People like to keep their jobs, and to be offered sufficient hours to be able to earn a living. In that sense, trying to join a union is often very much not in a worker’s best interest.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    That isn’t the experience of most workers.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      One example isn’t ‘many’. And even in that example, the employer is before the courts, facing the consequences of their actions.

                    • If you think about it really hard, you might be able to figure out why someone who’s only offered as many hours work as the employer cares to offer them might feel reluctant to do something the employer would regard as very much not in the employer’s interest. It’s not a great mystery to anyone else here.

                    • McFlock

                      One example is “too many”, even if it’s not a major employer (and Talleys group is a major employer). And it’s still more than you produced. Dare we talk about ports of auckland? Other employers? How many do you demand?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Don’t forget Savemart.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “One example is “too many”, ”

                      One example of employee theft is too many, but it doesn’t make a trend.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “you might be able to figure out why someone who’s only offered as many hours work as the employer cares to offer them might feel reluctant to do something the employer would regard as very much not in the employer’s interest.”

                      Workers have every right to join a union. However many hours they work. You’re invoking a 1970’s attitude that is actually quite sad, and certainly not reflective of most employer/employee relationships in 2017

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ‘Don’t forget Savemart’

                      Whose workers were in a Union.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/savemart-and-unions/

                    • McFlock

                      Who mentioned trends?

                      You had no evidence for your claim “That isn’t the experience of most workers.”

                      I and others have pointed out multiple examples of anti-union activity by employers against their employees.

                      That is too many. One is too many, because one case of one worker being harassed for union membership serves as a warning to anyone considering membership.

                    • Workers have every right to join a union. However many hours they work.

                      And a street prostitute has every right to refuse to pay a “tax” to gangs. But they tend to pay it. In the non-theoretical world inhabited by people who aren’t libertarians, “rights” are affected by real-world conditions.

                    • Whose workers were in a Union.

                      Er, yes – being in a union doesn’t offer some kind of magical immunity to being victimised by shit employers. Your point?

                    • McFlock

                      ‘Don’t forget Savemart’

                      Whose workers were in a Union.

                      Yes. Reading the link, it’s a perfect example of unions improving safety to basic levels, only to have union members apparently targeted by a hostile employer who refused to provide even basic safety equipment.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I and others have pointed out multiple examples of anti-union activity by employers against their employees.”

                      Two, actually. Talleys and Savemart. The fact that one of your examples employed workers in a union is something of an own goal if you’re arguing it is actively discouraged.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And a street prostitute has every right to refuse to pay a “tax” to gangs. ”

                      Are you serious? Neither unions nor employers hold guns to any ones heads. Not in 2017.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Your point?”

                      That claiming workers are somehow coerced into not joining unions, and then citing an example of an allegedly bad employer who allows union membership is something of an own goal.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Reading the link, it’s a perfect example of unions improving safety to basic levels…”
                      Indeed.

                      “only to have union members apparently targeted by a hostile employer who refused to provide even basic safety equipment.”
                      Yet the same employer permitted union membership before. The same employer who is clearly on the ‘dodgy’ register. Which rather shakes your argument.

                    • McFlock

                      SThere’s also prots of auckland, remember that?

                      But even one would be enough: an employer firing employees who join an active union that demands people dealing with needles and excrement is a pretty good way of persuading other employees that joining a union will not be to their benefit.

                      I would have thought a tory like you would understand how intimidation and menaces works, rather than fluttering your eyelashes and saying you do declare you thought all your field workers were happy, mah good suh.

                    • Are you serious? Neither unions nor employers hold guns to any ones heads. Not in 2017.

                      Neither do gangs. As it happens, you just need one example of what happens to people who don’t pay (eg, Mellory Manning) and everyone keeps in mind just how much their “right” not to pay is worth. Hence McFlock’s and OAB’s points about only needing one or two employers to set the example. You know all this, of course.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “But even one would be enough…”

                      That’s where your argument descends in 1970’s industrial relations. I don’t judge all employees by the ones who are lazy or steal. I don’t judge all unions by the ones who don’t defend the safety of their employees. And I don’t judge all employers by a few dodgy ones.

                    • McFlock

                      Nice, but we’re not talking about all employers.

                      We’re talking about why people might fear their employment would be at risk or they’d be harassed and discriminated against if they joined a union. Because it happens.

                      #notallemployers 🙄

                      Jeez, there’s quite a bit of crossover there – I’m sure there are lots of “nice” employers who still get taken advantage of by revolting staff, the poor dears. /sarc

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Nice, but we’re not talking about all employers.”

                      Exactly.

                      “I’m sure there are lots of “nice” employers who still get taken advantage of by revolting staff”

                      Well there have been.

                    • McFlock

                      Besides, a lot of employees should do more to protect themselves from exploitation. Consider how they dress, that sort of thing.

                      #notallemployers

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “…a lot of employees should do more to protect themselves from exploitation. ”

                      Like join unions…oh wait…

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, employees showing attitude by joining unions are just asking to be abused by their bosses. Why do workers insist on making bosses do such mean things to them?

                      #notallemployers.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “employees showing attitude by joining unions are just asking to be abused by their bosses. ”

                      That’s the point though, workers are not joining the unions. In fact union membership is well down on the past. Which takes us right back to the beginning. If things were so bad for workers, union membership would be booming. It isn’t. And in your own goal about Savemart, those workers WERE in a Union, so clearly there is choice.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, if harassment and abuse of workers who complained was so widespread, more workers would be complaining. Therefore there is no worker abuse problem in NZ 🙄

                      #notallemployers

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “if harassment and abuse of workers who complained was so widespread, more workers would be complaining. Therefore there is no worker abuse problem in NZ ”

                      That doesn’t follow. And it isn’t my position. But that the fact that so few workers do join a union does indicate that most don’t believe it is necessary or desirable. Otherwise they would join.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, if people are too afraid to make a complaint, there can’t be a problem.

                      #notallemployers #weinsteinlogic

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Yes, if people are too afraid to make a complaint, there can’t be a problem. ”

                      For which you’ve provided zero evidence. You quoted Talley’s and Savemart. At Savemart the employees WERE in a union. That was an own goal. Again, your IR views belong in the 1970’s, not the 21st century.

                    • McFlock

                      at savemart, the unionised employees were fired, apparently because of their membership and lobbying for basic safety conditions.

                      The non-unionised members learned that they had to sort literal shit with their bare hands, or lose their job. That is the power some employers use to keep their workers in line.

                      #notallemployers

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “at savemart, the unionised employees were fired, apparently because of their membership and lobbying for basic safety conditions.”
                      Apparently?

                      “The non-unionised members learned that they had to sort literal shit with their bare hands, or lose their job.”
                      So the unionised members were in no better position than the unionised ones? Mmmm.

                      Back to the main point. The simple fact is union membership is far lower than it has been in the past. Fully 80% of workers choose not to join a union. I’m not cheerleading that, it is what it is. In your own example, workers chose to join a union, and yet fared no better than those who did not at the hands of a poor employer. If employers were generally as bad as Savemart (allegedly), then we’d have a far higher rate of union membership.

                      Your view is that workers are somehow intimidated away from joining unions by demon bosses. That is a very old fashioned view that has no substance in 2017 reality.

                    • McFlock

                      If employers were generally as bad as Savemart (allegedly), then we’d have a far higher rate of union membership.

                      And if hollywood were all that bad, we’d have had more sexual assault complaints before 2017. 🙄

                      #notallemployers

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “And if hollywood were all that bad, we’d have had more sexual assault complaints before 2017.”

                      And if the union at Savemart was all that effective, every employee would have been a member. You see you can twist reality anyway you like, but your views still belong last century.

                    • McFlock

                      That’s another problem – every union employee got reinstated, but every employee got the health and safety improvements. Between the fear of repercussions for joining a union and the ability to freeload off union-gained advances, it seems you might have accidentally waded out of your intellectual and ideological paddling pool.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Between the fear of repercussions for joining a union and the ability to freeload off union-gained advances”

                      You didn’t understand the sarcasm. I was responding to your own attempt at humour, McFlock. As yet to you don’t seem to have any viewpoint other than your feudal view of employer employee relations. Thankfully, those views are not reflective of the real world.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The “real” world, where 0.5%>20% 😆

                    • McFlock

                      Well, it reflects quite a few employment court findings, but never mind oh privileged one. I’m sure you’ve had it easy, ne’er an abusive or hostile boss in your work history.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I’m sure you’ve had it easy, ne’er an abusive or hostile boss in your work history.”

                      I’ve had both, as a matter of fact. It’s human nature, to some degree. But it doesn’t reflect most workplaces.

                    • McFlock

                      lol – claims most employers aren’t bad bosses, but also claims the street cred of experiencing multiple employer abuse (otherwise you’d just be a little silver-spooned innocent who’s never had the struggles of the rest of us). So you want to have your cake and shit on it, too.

                      Maybe not “most”, but “enough”. Enough to scare other workers. Which is all you guys need to keep the plebs poor, scared, and subservient.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “claims most employers aren’t bad bosses, but also claims the street cred of experiencing multiple employer abuse (otherwise you’d just be a little silver-spooned innocent who’s never had the struggles of the rest of us). ”

                      ‘Multiple employer abuse’? No, never claimed that. But I have been working since the late 1970’s, so I’ve worked through nearly 4 decades of industrial relations. And today’s workplace is pretty darned good, on the whole. Which (again) is why the vast majority of workers don’t join unions.

                    • tracey

                      ” But that the fact that so few workers do join a union does indicate that most don’t believe it is necessary or desirable. Otherwise they would join. ”

                      So people who do not report their bullying boss werent really bullied and women who do not repirt their rapist werent raped?

                    • McFlock

                      “multiple”: more than one.
                      “both”: two

                      You’ve now reduced your language comprehension abilities to absurd levels.

                      I suppose it’s pretty darned good if you’re not expected to work 12 hour days, or sort through shit with no gloves, or work to the point of fatigue in forests, or have to nag to get basic safety equipment, or don’t have shift supervisors who arbitrarily de-roster you, or don’t have a bullying or sexually harassing boss, etc etc etc.

                      But then, if you lasted 40 years in the workforce with only a single boss you thought was abusive and hostile, you’re lucky. Actually very fucking privileged, but they mean pretty much the same thing. And you have no freaking idea what many (maybe even “most”) workers deal with.

                    • tracey

                      Babayaba

                      What was the last position you held and in which industry?

                      I ask because real wages have not kept pace with things like accomodation costs. If you look at median wage growth over the past 4 decades for example. Time and a half and double time have all but gone. Many workers work Saturday or Sunday. Workplace deaths outnumber murders and serioys injuries in the workplace are appalling in a darn good workplace…

                      That you think there has not been a systemic attack to deplete unions through legislation and in the 90s offering more money to employees to not join a union creating a habit of not joining makes yoyr other arguments laughable. And that an extra 1k a year is enough for a worker to act against their best interests shows how poorly paid they were

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So people who do not report their bullying boss werent really bullied and women who do not repirt their rapist werent raped?”

                      People do report such things. That’s how we know about the very few cases where this actually happens. Just as employers report employee theft and other misconduct.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “multiple”: more than one.
                      “both”: two

                      The ‘both’, McFlock, referred to examples as an employee and an employer. I’m sure somewhere back in the 70’s or 80’s it happened. Today most workplace relationships are fine. Which is, again, why people don’t join unions as they used to.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      it happened

                      Once is enough. This point has been made repeatedly and will continue to be true, no matter how many 0.5% beliefs you can parrot.

                    • McFlock

                      The ‘both’, McFlock, referred to examples as an employee and an employer.

                      Examples. Plural. So “multiple”. As in claims “experiencing multiple employer abuse”. Although you were the employer in one case? Why am I not surprised…

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “What was the last position you held and in which industry?”
                      I have already said I run a kiwi owned international business. That makes me a ‘worker’. I am not a shareholder, I am an employee.

                      “That you think there has not been a systemic attack to deplete unions through legislation and in the 90s offering more money to employees to not join a union creating a habit of not joining makes yoyr other arguments laughable.”
                      My view is no such ‘attack’ has taken place, and no evidence has been presented of any such ‘attack’. If such an attack were real, there would be no-one in unions at all. What has happened is that workers now have a choice about union affiliation, and there is a level playing field across the industrial relations landscape. Some workers choose to remain in unions (and that’s their choice), most have not. And I will repeat a comment I posted previously…since the 90’s we have had 9 years of a Labour government. Who changed almost nothing.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So “multiple”. ”

                      Multiple. Employer + Employee. Multiple. I’ve worked for bad bosses. I’ve worked for grumpy, impatient, even dishonest bosses. Today they simply would not survive. The market is too competitive, and there are just too few good employees available.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      they simply would not survive

                      Exhibit a: Mr. Peter Talley.

                    • tracey

                      Ah. I see you are cherry picking and moving goalposts.

                      You may be an employee but there is nothing you have posted in this thread that provides any evidence that you speak on behalf of many workers.

                      Bullying and rape are highly ubder reported. That you choose to play games around these notions speaks volumes of you as someone who “runs an international business”.

                      That the last Labour government was no friend of unions in their policies is not evidence of your view

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Mr. Peter Talley.”

                      …is a director and shareholder. That’s quite a distinction from the point I’m making. And as far as I’m aware, Mr Talley is in some trouble over his companies indiscretions, is he not?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “You may be an employee but there is nothing you have posted in this thread that provides any evidence that you speak on behalf of many workers.”

                      What a strange comment. When did I ever claim to ‘speak on behalf of many workers’? My comments originate from this post https://thestandard.org.nz/wellington-rail-workers-strike-to-defend-their-working-conditions/#comment-1415033, and have all flowed from it.

                      What most respondents here are exhibiting is an old-fashioned view of industrial relations that is entirely foreign to most workplaces in NZ.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Trouble, and a knighthood. All rise for the flag salute.

                    • McFlock

                      And the “trouble” isn’t anywhere close to putting him (or at least his abusive-employer companies) out of business.

                      Which can’t happen, in your universe. And yet Talley’s is on a shelf in every supermarket, plain as day, mocking your naivety.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Which can’t happen, in your universe.”

                      Actually, it can. If sufficient consumers took his actions seriously enough and boycotted his products, that’s exactly what would happen. That would be the most effective punishment of all.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Got that everyone? The most effective punishment is the public not liking you very much. Not jail. That would be wrong because money and privilege.

                      The 0.5% must be right.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The most effective punishment is the public not liking you very much. Not jail. That would be wrong because money and privilege.”

                      Jail? Shall I ask the question and risk another ban?

                    • McFlock

                      “Which can’t happen, in your universe.”

                      Actually, it can. If sufficient consumers took his actions seriously enough and boycotted his products, that’s exactly what would happen. That would be the most effective punishment of all.

                      Ok, let’s go with that, stupid as it is.

                      Under your model, what stops abusive employers from operating is enough consumers having perfect information of the employer’s abusive behaviour (not sullied by pr firms or tory blinkers), perfect knowledge of all the brands that employer markets under, and enough sympathy for the employees to make the effort.

                      Given that we know consumers are happy to deal with blood in their cocoa and buy sweatshop clothes (because bad conditions make affordable products for other workers in bad conditions – a capitalist Soylent Green). your proposal that workers hope to be rescued by the benevolence of the consumer is a cruel mockery. And given that joining a union might put their employment in jeopardy, hope there is a thin one.

                      And whats-his-fuck talley is still in business, laughing at your contrived innocence.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      ‘Given that we know consumers are happy to deal with blood in their cocoa and buy sweatshop clothes ”

                      Mmmm, some are. Some aren’t. If Talley has broken the law, he will be prosecuted. (I believe there are already fines a round $100k). If enough people feel strongly enough about the issues you raise, his business will suffer. Again I suggest you worldview is clouded by an outdated view of life in the workplace.

                    • McFlock

                      given that I’m a worker and you claim to be a CEO, I suggest that you’re the one who has no freaking idea what goes on.

                      Talleys have repeatedly been on the arse end of court judgements, and been fined. But it hasn’t put them out of business. Some consumers don’t know, don’t care or can’t afford to care about workers’ conditions, so Talleys are still in business. Your idea that bad employers can’t stay in business is demonstrably and utterly incorrect.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Talleys have repeatedly been on the arse end of court judgements, and been fined.”
                      So you admit it has cost them.

                      “But it hasn’t put them out of business. ”
                      Perhaps not. But then Talley’s seems to be only one of two businesses you have cited as problematic. Most NZ businesses are SME’s. And by far the majority look after their staff well. That has been my point all along.

                    • McFlock

                      Unless every single employer who lost a case subsequently went out of business, a rational employee would fear for their employment future if they joined a union or otherwise made waves by asking for basic rights, like safety.

                      Regerdless of whether most employers are rational, enough are bad employers, and stay in business. Bad employers just have a slightly higher cost of doing business, and only if they’re caught.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Unless every single employer who lost a case subsequently went out of business, a rational employee would fear for their employment future if they joined a union or otherwise made waves by asking for basic rights, like safety.”

                      Rubbish. A ‘rational’ employee would simply find another job. At under 5% unemployment, and record levels of employment, it is not that difficult.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Ad nauseam argument. Logical fallacy.

                    • McFlock

                      But when you’re competing with the 11% who are unemployed or underutilised, and also competing against however many others arealso looking to escape abusive employers, quitting a job and finding another is not a trivial exercise.

                      Once again the “CEO” is out of touch with the real world.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “But when you’re competing with the 11% who are unemployed…”

                      What rubbish. https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployment-rate

                      ‘New Zealand’s unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2017 from 4.8 percent in the previous period, below market expectations of 4.7 percent. It was the third straight decline and the lowest jobless rate since the last quarter of 2008.

                      The unemployment rate for men fell to 4.1 percent (down 0.6 percentage points) but rose to 5.3 percent (up 0.4 percentage points) for women. There were 126 thousand unemployed persons, down by 1.2 percent from the previous quarter. 

                      Employment went up 2.2 percent to 2.593 million, brininging the employment rate up by 1.2 percentage points to 67.8 percent, the highest rate since the series began in 1986 employment. 

                      The labor force participation rate increased to 71.1 percent in the third quarter after decreasing to a one-year low of 70.0 percent in the previous three months.”

                      If you actually knew anything of the real world, you would know just how hard it is to get staff.

                    • Rubbish. A ‘rational’ employee would simply find another job.

                      With one of those many, many employers who are happy for their staff to join a union, I suppose? You’re operating a highly unusual definition of “rational” there…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Mcflock: …unemployed or underemployed

                      ManintheYaga: strawman waste of bandwidth.

                      Mcflock has it slightly wrong*: in June 2016 the underutilisation rate was 12.8%

                      *or perhaps is relying on a different data set.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “With one of those many, many employers who are happy for their staff to join a union, I suppose?”

                      Given the propensity of workers to NOT join a union, that is unlikely to be their choice. But sure, if they want. Freedom of association.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “unemployed or underemployed…”

                      So you concede my numbers on the unemployed? Great.

                      Now underemployed.

                      “The definition of underemployment does not require a person to be actively looking for more hours.”
                      (http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/introducing-new-measures-underemployment.aspx).

                      Not much of a measurement.

                    • McFlock

                      The bit you ommitted:

                      The ILO defines the underemployed as those employed individuals who in the reference week:

                      worked less than a specified threshold of hours (usually part-time), and
                      would like to work more hours, and
                      were available to do so.

                      Employees trying to flee an abusive employer are not just competing against the unemployed. As a CEO, you should know that – how many job applicants have you interviewed? What proportion of them were unemployed, bot working a single hour in a week?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “concede”

                      I should think you should, quoting data from 2015!

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Employees trying to flee an abusive employer ”

                      Are few and far between, and have record numbers of jobs available to choose from.

                      “Employment went up 2.2 percent to 2.593 million, brininging the employment rate up by 1.2 percentage points to 67.8 percent, the highest rate since the series began in 1986 employment. ”
                      https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployment-rate

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      🙄

                    • McFlock

                      “Employees trying to flee an abusive employer ”

                      Are few and far between,

                      You have absolutely no basis on which to say that, and the employment court list of judgments contradicts you

                      and have record numbers of jobs available to choose from.

                      You do realise that “employment rate” is not “jobs available”? No? I would have thought that a CEO would understand different economic measures…

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “You have absolutely no basis on which to say that”
                      Yes, I do. The Employment Court.

                      “You do realise that “employment rate” is not “jobs available”?”
                      Yes, but you do realise it is an indication of the number of jobs being created.

                    • McFlock

                      lol so we’re back to your belief that the only people who have ever been abused were the ones who complained and took it to the employment court and won.

                      Not the employment tribunal? That’s the first step after mediation, isn’t it? Wouldn’t a CEO know that?

                      And no, the employment rate in not an indicator of job creation, as such.

                      But let’s go back to the CEO of a NZ internationally-competitive business who is apparently unaware that the employment court is actually well down the line of personal grievance resolution…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Now McFlock, don’t be mean. The OECD (and Sir Bob Jones) routinely observe the low standards rife in NZ’s business community.

                      Surely there’s room for an alleged CEO in there.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “so we’re back to your belief that the only people who have ever been abused were the ones who complained and took it to the employment court and won.”
                      No, never claimed that. But there are dots even you can connect.

                      “Not the employment tribunal?”
                      I was responding to you at https://thestandard.org.nz/wellington-rail-workers-strike-to-defend-their-working-conditions/#comment-1417307 where you posted a link about the Court. Own goal eh McFlock.

                      “And no, the employment rate in not an indicator of job creation, as such.”
                      Yes, it is. The employment rate has been rising even with a growing population. That means more jobs are being created. It’s not rocket science.

                      Edit – let’s just make something clear. Your comment about the Tribunal was blatant dishonesty. It was your post that referred to the Court. Yet you criticise me for answering to your own reference.

                    • McFlock

                      The employment court is the first level that has public information that documents employment abuses, AFAIK. As such it demostrates the existence of abuses.

                      The employment court is, however, about the third government level of employment dispute resolution. It is only used if people have not acknowledged their errors in mediation or the disputes tribunal. It is therefore inadequate to determine the extent of employer abuse of employees in NZ, because most employers would have the sense to settle when it’s cheapest.

                      In effect, you decided that NZ has a low crime rate because only a relative few criminal cases sit before the Court of Appeal.

                      A competent CEO would know that already.

                    • BabaYaga

                      “The employment court”

                      …is what you referenced to. Which is why you twisting around your obvious ‘forgetfulness’ is so dishonest.

                    • McFlock

                      I used the employment court to demonstrate the existence of a problem (which it does). You tried to use it to demonstrate the maximum extent of the problem (which it absolutely cannot do).

                      Obviously you are merely parroting concepts you don’t understand, like the basics of employment dispute resolution, “CEO”.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “I used the employment court to demonstrate the existence of a problem (which it does). You tried to use it to demonstrate the maximum extent of the problem (which it absolutely cannot do). ”

                      I used the Employment Court to respond to your use of the Employment Court. I’ll continue to point out your dishonesty though.

                    • McFlock

                      Current argument paraphrased below:

                      Me: ‘A includes all B. Therefore if any B exists then at least one A exists.’
                      yaga: ‘If not B then C’
                      Me: ‘that doesn’t follow’
                      yaga: ‘but you used B, why can’t I?’
                      Me: “because you’re a CEO of an international company, not some idiot parrot who doesn’t understand basic logic”

                      Key:
                      A=’employer abuses of employees’
                      B=’employer abuses judged by the employment court’
                      C=’an employment relationship that does not include employer abuse of the employee’

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Current argument paraphrased below:”

                      You referenced the Employment Court Data here:
                      https://thestandard.org.nz/wellington-rail-workers-strike-to-defend-their-working-conditions/#comment-1417307

                      I then threw it back in your face here:
                      https://thestandard.org.nz/wellington-rail-workers-strike-to-defend-their-working-conditions/#comment-1417412

                      You have been caught in a web of your own making.

                    • McFlock

                      Evidence that some employers lose employment court cases is not the same as evidence that employer abuse of employees is “few and far between”.

                      I’m running out of ways to explain this simple concept to you.

                    • BabaYaga

                      “Evidence that some employers lose employment court cases is not the same as evidence that employer abuse of employees is “few and far between”.”
                      Evidence that you referenced the Court and I did the same to be consistent is as per my previous post.

                      “I’m running out of ways to explain this simple concept to you”
                      Yet it only took one attempt to show you dishonestly misrepresented my post.

                    • McFlock

                      You usng the same source as me isn’t what makes me think you’re a idiot.

                      You using that source to argue a different point that the source cannot possibly support is what makes me think you’re a fucking idiot, with bells on.

                      A single case report in BMJ of leprosy in London would show that leprosy occurs in London. It does not show how many people in London have leprosy.

                      Multiple court cases that found people guilty of rape show that rape happens in that jurisdiction. The court record does not show how many people in that society were actually raped.

                      Multiple employers being found by the NZ employment court to have abused their employees shows that NZ employees have been abused by their employers. The court record does not show how many employees were abused, made a complaint, went through mediation, and appealed to the tribunal.
                      It doesn’t show how many employees were abused by their employer, but mediation provided a satisfactory resolution. It does not show how many employees made a complaint and the complaint was satisfactorily solved internally by the employer. It does not show employees who were abused but never made a complaint because it was easier to lump it or quit. It does not show the employees who were abused and didn’t even know there was anything they could do about it.

                      Because the employment court records do not show any of those employees who were abused by their employer but the abuse never made it to the level of the employment court, you using the employment court to support your contention that employers abusing employees were “few and far between” is a categorical, grade A, 24 carat piece of absolute fucking stupidity from the CEO of an internationally competitive NZ company. You are a fucking moron.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “You using that source to argue a different point that the source cannot possibly support is what makes me think you’re a fucking idiot, with bells on.”

                      You are totally dishonest. I used the Court example YOU began with to make a point about employment problems. I threw it back in your face. And my point was entirely consistent with your comment here https://thestandard.org.nz/wellington-rail-workers-strike-to-defend-their-working-conditions/#comment-1416898.

                      But keep digging. You’re looking increasingly idiotic.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, here’s another way of putting it: I used the employment court findings to show the minimum level of employer abuse of employees in the country, you thought it could be used to express the maximum extent of employer abuse in the country.

                      If the employment court makes X findings for employees against employers, then at least that many employees in NZ have been abused by their employers.

                      You tried to argue that at most that many employees had been abused by their employers. The employment court data does not support that conclusion.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Oh, here’s another way of putting it: I used the employment court findings to show the minimum level of employer abuse of employees in the country, you thought it could be used to express the maximum extent of employer abuse in the country.”

                      Rubbish. You were dishonest, and now you’re trying to cover it up.

                    • McFlock

                      When I mentioned the employment court, what point do you think I was trying to make?

                      When you mentioned the employment court, what point did you think you were trying to make?

                      In your own words, and being as precise as possible with your language, please.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “When I mentioned the employment court, what point do you think I was trying to make?”

                      I’m not playing your game. You used the fact that I engaged with you on your own example to suggest I had less than adequate knowledge of the employment dispute process. I don’t care what you think of me, but what you did was dishonest.

                    • McFlock

                      You used the fact that I engaged with you on your own example to suggest I had less than adequate knowledge of the employment dispute process. I don’t care what you think of me, but what you did was dishonest.

                      So why did you use my example to argue a point that it could not logically support? You were claiming to be a CEO and thought that every employment dispute went to the employment court (in which case you’re not fit to manage a company), or you didn’t understand that the argument you were making was so different to my argument that parroting the same example that I used was surreal (in which case you’re not fit to manage a dinner party).

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So why did you use my example to argue a point that it could not logically support?”

                      I didn’t. But you continue to build on your dishonesty.

                    • McFlock

                      Yawn.

                      At well over a hundred cases every year, that’s not “few and far between”. That’s two a week. A nice, regular reminder to keep the peasants in line.

                    • Babayaga

                      “At well over a hundred cases every year…”

                      …which is an extraordinary small number, given the workforce in nz.

                    • McFlock

                      Written like someone who can afford to take the risk. 🙄

        • Priss 5.3.2.3

          “I am the CEO of a kiwi owned international business, and I don’t know a single CEO who sees their job in the way you describe. My job is to increase shareholder value over the medium to long term, and a significant element of achieving that is the retention of good people”

          Then why has shareholders’ returns INCREASED while wages have stagnated?

          ” Unemployment in New Zealand is sitting at 4.9 per cent – which economists regard as near to full employment, from a practical point of view.

          Our employment rate – the proportion of working-age people in a job – is sitting above 76 per cent, higher than all our major trading partners.

          But despite that, wages remain nearly static, rising by just 1.6 per cent in the year to March 2016 and the same again in the year to March 2017.” – NZ Herald, “Big Read: Hey! Where did my pay rise go?” – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11876165

          • Baba Yaga 5.3.2.3.1

            “Then why has shareholders’ returns INCREASED while wages have stagnated?”

            “But despite that, wages remain nearly static, rising by just 1.6 per cent in the year to March 2016 and the same again in the year to March 2017”

            You’re trying to open up another thread entirely, which I’m not buying in to. My comment referred to the link between shareholder value and the retention of good people. Your line of thought reveals a naive (and outdated) idea that retention is a function of wages only.

            • Samwise 5.3.2.3.1.1

              Well, that was an evasion if we ever saw one.

              What’s the matter Baba, was that an inconveniernt question?

    • tracey 5.4

      Cuts never start with Board fees and CEO salaries

      • KJT 5.4.1

        Yep. The companies I have worked for that claim they cannot afford wage rises.

        But are absolutely top heavy with overpaid management.

        One we ran with 4 in the office, when I was one of them. Now has over twenty to do the same job, with less employees and plant.
        Each additional manager seems to require at least another two staff to hold their hand. Makes me wonder why they do not just employ one secretary (a woman) for each function. They do all the work anyway.

  6. Philg 6

    I believe similar issues are brewing in Auckland’s commuter rail with the corporation slashing staffing on the trains. Watch this space.

    • indiana 6.1

      You do realise that driverless trains will nearly be there. We don’t need conductors on trains now, so why do we need drivers? The only staff a transport operation will need are maintenance and cleaners, may be a few customer service roles – no need for ticket booths as people can buy their tickets online or at a kiosk.

      • BM 6.1.1

        This, the tougher unions make it for business the quicker jobs will be automated.

        Unions need to be thinking further down the track and be a lot more flexible otherwise there won’t be any unions because there won’t be enough people left in employment to make a union viable.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          neoliberal translation – it’s the union’s fault that workers are having their rights eroded, and unions should stop working for their members and instead act for their own survival.

          Also, automation will happen sooner or later, so why bother with all that human rights stuff.

          • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1.1.1

            Not at all, adaptation is key

          • BM 6.1.1.1.2

            Just stating that people are going to have to demonstrate that they’re better value and less hassle then automation.

            • tracey 6.1.1.1.2.1

              You know automation is REALLY expensive ey? Having a govt that conspires to keep wages low and indulges in corporate welfare means they hold off automation as being too costly. WFF is an employer wage subsidy. But so many employers bemoan welfare and govt intervention… oh wait.

              In order for automation to not bite employers in the bum they need to consider with lots of out of work people who will by their goods and services?

              Threatening automation is a bullying tactic for those too lazy to form a real justification for paying and working people poorly.

              • James

                The NZIER last year applied the Osborne and Frey formula to New Zealand to estimate that 46% of jobs in the New Zealand economy will be automated in the next 15-20 years.

                So expensive but it’s happening and sooner than you think.

                • Nic the NZer

                  How much did the NZIER pay (get ripped off) for that then? Can they get their money back if it turns out for be nonsense?

                  • James

                    Great Ben that they are the numbers Grant Robertson is using can we fire him if they turn out to be wrong ?

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Yes. You are more than welcome to try to get Grant Robertson out of government at the next election. Especially so if he is relying on economic nonsense.

              • Baba Yaga

                “You know automation is REALLY expensive ey?”

                Not always.

                “WFF is an employer wage subsidy.”

                That’s an interesting interpretation. And an inaccurate one.

                Wage subsidies have traditionally been linked to a particular job and/or employee or group of employees. WFF is paid based on a number of factors, some of which have nothing to do with the job or even the employer.

                WFF does not impact directly on wage rates. An employer determines a rate of pay based on the market, not on whether an applicant gets WFF.

                WFF is, in fact, an income redistribution mechanism. And an inefficient one at that. A far better solution would be to implement a tax free threshold, with a modest first rate on a progressive scale. WFF could then be scaled back substantially, and we could reduce state dependency.

                • KJT

                  A State payment that allows employees to survive on lower wages “is not a subsidy to employers”? Pull the other one.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Correct, it is not a subsidy. The employer pays based on the market. They don’t receive any money, the employee does. WFF subsidises the employee, not the employer, and a far more efficient delivery would be lower tax rates.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Tax cuts won’t increase wages. The market needs some more forces to be applied. Better still, the government is onto the problem and will not be needing your advice.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Tax cuts won’t increase wages. ”

                      Tax cuts increase take home pay, which is what really matters to workers. WFF just recycles money. Better cut taxes for low income people and make less dependent on the state for their income.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The 0.5% support party is eager to hear your ability to parrot their policies because no-one else is paying attention to them.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The 0.5% support party is eager to hear your ability to parrot their policies because no-one else is paying attention to them.”

                      I’m really not interested. Political parties are corrupt, or at least the politicians are. But making more people dependent on the state for their income is just destructive. Lower the tax paid by low income earners, and lower state support for those same earners. In other words, give them their own money back. That must be a foreign concept to you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Polly wanna cracker?

                    • KJT

                      How about employers having to pay decent wages. Then! we may be able to afford, tax cuts.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “How about employers having to pay decent wages. Then! we may be able to afford, tax cuts.”

                      Define what you mean by ‘decent wages’. Given that wages have risen by considerably more than the CPI in recent years.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      wages have risen

                      Yawn. We covered the difference between median and mean a while ago. Are you really so relentlessly incompetent that you think no-one remembers your previously recited rote-learned drivel?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “We covered the difference between median and mean a while ago.”

                      When? And how is that relevant?

                • Priss

                  “Perhaps not. But then Talley’s seems to be only one of two businesses you have cited as problematic. Most NZ businesses are SME’s. And by far the majority look after their staff well. ”

                  And precisely HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? Are you in every single workplace, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Are you in every office, factory, restaurant, retail outlet, farm, etc, etc, etc??

                  What is your evidence that “by far the majority look after their staff well”? The answer is that you have none.

                  If workers are joining a union, by far the majority are fearful of repercussions from their employer. Disprove that statement.

                  You can’t.

                  Just as you can’t prove your stupid assertion that “”by far the majority look after their staff well”.

                  By the way, for a so-called “CEO”, you seem to waste an awful lot of your company time posting on this blog.

                  Do your workers have the same privilege and opportunity to post their thoughts here during worktime?

                  • Baba Yaga

                    “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?”

                    Back to the beginning. Because fully 80% of the working population don’t join a union. You can argue all you like that is because of some imaginary fear but it just doesn’t wash. You’ve also got the problem that of the 80% who do join, most are in the civil service, teachers etc, where there is pressure to join the union. Hardly a vote of confidence.

                    NZ has relatively low industrial disruption, and a framework for prosecuting errant employers. Those of us who are responsible welcome scrutiny on employers, because it makes dodgy competitors life more difficult. But inventing some world in which the industrial relations scene is some throwback to the satanic mills is to deny reality.

            • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.1.2.2

              You’re just stating that people are going to have to compete against automation for which can be cheapest. That’s not only recommending people take on a painful war of attrition that they’ll inevitably lose, it displays contempt for them while you’re at it.

            • One Two 6.1.1.1.2.3

              No, they won’t have to demonstrate that at all

              You’re very transparent..and reading through your history…again…quite a pained individual…

              Assuming you’re a human being at all…

            • Nic the NZer 6.1.1.1.2.4

              I posted this yesterday, but here it is again. This idea of automation taking all the jobs has been around for more than 50 years already.

              http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=37361

              You know what would be a surprise BM? It would be to see you actually supporting some of the hard working contributors to the NZ economy getting a fair go on some issue. I’m yet to see it, which makes it look like your not objective or fact based about anything you write on here.

              • the pigman

                The automation/AI revolution is wellllllll behind schedule. From what I see in my work, a lot of over-hyped investment made on the basis of how life-changing it was going to be has got cold feet and gone elsewhere. Sad!

              • RedLogix

                As an automation engineer myself I’m inclined to agree Nic. Automation is really good at running routine, highly predictable tasks and really bad at handling all the unexpected things that happen in the real world.

                For many years I used the Wairarapa line and scarcely a week would go by without some surprise that the rail staff had to deal with. What does automation do for instance when a stray stag gets onto the line, goes right under the train and rips out the brake lines?

                Or consider the automation that flies modern jets. 99.99% of the time it works fine; and but the real world has endless scenario’s of weather, equipment and collision failures that can never be predicted. Hence we still have pilots (fallible as they are) sitting up front as the fall back device.

                Personally I think AI that exceeds human ability across the whole spectrum of creativity, intuition and ability to solve problems with limited information, will always remain a failed dream.

            • KJT 6.1.1.1.2.5

              In other words, cheap wages mean that NZ employer do not have to invest in innovation. One of the major reasons why our productivity is low.

            • Priss 6.1.1.1.2.6

              “Just stating that people are going to have to demonstrate that they’re better value and less hassle then automation”

              You put more value on automation than on human beings? That’s quite an admission from you, BM. Have you ever been diagnosed for psychopathic tendencies? Because I can’t see any other way to read that comment.

        • Pat 6.1.1.2

          LMAO….robots dont consume…your robotic economy will be fucked

        • Cinny 6.1.1.3

          Don’t worry BM… government is already on to the ‘future of work’, something the prior government neglected.

          Our new government has already prepared ideas and solutions to assist the country re automation.

          But I understand your concern, I would be concerned as well if not for the Labour lead government.

  7. CLEANGREEN 7

    This showed that privatisation of “essential services” like poer water transport ect’ or a bad idea as in the final alalysis according to BM’s logic “unions now have to be more flexible” we all need to take less otherwise we dont have a job in BM’s privatised world.

    Thank god we do have unions else we will by now be back in the 1800’s with no rights, no job, no income, no life.

  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    So the companies are balking at a 2% pay rise, while at the same time making billions, being owned by billionaires and paying their executive staff millions. I think they could afford to pay their workers much better and a whole lot more:

    Hyundai Motor Group profit 2015: USD 12.5 billion
    Hyundai Chairman’s personal net worth 2014: USD 6.8 billion

    Transdev Auckland doubled their profit in 2013

    Transdev 70% owner profit in 2015: Euro 1.37 billion

    Transdev 30% owner profit in 2015: Euro 610 million

    Transdev 30% owner CEO pay in 2015: Euro 2.3 million

    • Cinny 8.1

      Crikey! Yes they can

    • Pat 8.2

      Not a 2% pay increase..you can be sure the overall wage bill will decrease in real terms…as has been noted for sometime now the only way to retain a competitive tender is to reduce costs….and the only cost left available to reduce is wages….(but never executive salary packages)…its time to remove these guaranteed income streams away from the private profiteers and back into public ownership for public service.

  9. David Mac 9

    I think the problem is in the manner in which contracts are granted to the lobbying and tendering private corporations.

    Whether it’s Serco and prisons or Transdev and Wellington rail. Their only assets of note are their contract/subsidies with the govt and the contracts with their staff. We own the trainset and prisons.

    The managerial and maint contract tenders that are the kindest to the decision-makers’ budgets will be very attractive. The tenders that get the nod won’t have the meat on the bone for worker pay levels to extend far beyond subsistence.

    A 2% rise? A slab? The issue won’t be fixed with an extra carton of beer. But that’ll be the only kind of wages room Transdev will have to move if they’re going to meet their targets. These drivers need house deposits, not a box of Lion.

    • Macro 9.1

      So right D M – It’s time we took back our train set – lock stock and employees. At least that way we could pay them better.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        Same goes for every single area where the SOE charade has occurred.

        • David Mac 9.1.1.1

          Yes, I’m not sure whether it matters if we’re talking about a SOE, public company or government department. They are all compelled to screw remuneration for anyone doing less than a highly skilled task down to the lowest common denominator.

          Cutting overheads is good but not when those involved with the enterprise are unable to become engaged in our society. Nobody working hard should be struggling to pay a power bill. People will go the extra mile just to tread water for only so long. ‘Why bother?’ sets in.

          Govt depts. or private business, keeping a lid on the wages bill has become aspirational. It’s the reverse of what we should be doing. As automation becomes more prevalent and demands for labour softens, we need to be looking for ways to pay people more, not less.

  10. CLEANGREEN 10

    100% David mac,

    Well summed up, we need to take our country back and rid these multinational private contracts to operate our public assets.

    As these Multi-national companies always cause pain and suffering as they operate without any ‘social contracts”.

  11. David Mac 11

    There was a time landing a role at a top-flight city school was reason for a teacher to celebrate. Now it’s reason to put their champagne money aside for move-in costs if they’re lucky enough to be the 1 in 40 that applied for the exorbitant dark flat. Money to pay off the mortgage of a man they’ll never meet who lives in a country they’ll never visit.

    We’ve skidded backwards a fair way.

  12. Craig H 12

    If the jobs can be automated and replaced with better jobs, they should be.

    • David Mac 12.1

      Yes, 100’s of years of progress has provided us with that outcome. A chainsaw thrashes an axe.

      Part of the Transdev workers’ gripe relates to people losing jobs due to automation. It’s inevitable but the conditions of redundancy, placement elsewhere or re-skilling require talk.

      The uptake of automation is linked to wages in such a way that it does little to improve the lot of those workers that stay on. As soon as I can pay off a robotic yard sweeper for $14 an hour, my $15 an hour yardman is out of a job. Stan the yardman departing, the replacement automation, it does little to improve the lot of the men on the floor. Stan’s wages now go to the Auto Broom Co.

      • Craig H 12.1.1

        Fully agree, how it is handled is critical, and needs to be approached humanely. Discarding the jobs and people in them without any regard to them is not on.

  13. David Mac 13

    The Transdev managerial team want to be in the press because their workers have recognised them as being the best employers in NZ. They don’t aspire to be assholes.

    A good way to set off on that path would be finding ways that they can pay their people more. Best way to do that is get more $ in the door. There are only 3 ways to do that. Cut overheads: (Don’t come Monday and did you leave that light on?) Get more customers: (‘A radio DJ announcing there are 100 $100 dollar notes under the seats of Wellington trains this morning’) Or get existing customers to pay more: (‘If it’s the first time you’ve ever bought a month’s pass, it’s half price’)

    It is the business operators responsibility to ensure that they are looking after their people. ‘Don’t come Monday’ or ‘Here’s $20’ is a cop out. Grow the business ya dummies.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 13.1

      “A good way to set off on that path would be finding ways that they can pay their people more. Best way to do that is get more $ in the door. ”

      They can very easily pay their people more by reducing multi-million dollar-per-annum executive pay and reducing returns to already obscenely-rich shareholders.

      See my comment at 8

  14. mosa 14

    Looks like British Telecom is about to start a major industrial dispute with its employees.

    https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2017/11/15/theresa-mays-winter-discontent-hots-trade-union-warns-major-strike-action/

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