GUEST BLOG: Darien Fenton – It’s going to ruin us

By   /   April 17, 2018  /   5 Comments

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There’s the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth from Business about the government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill.  That, along with the increase in minimum wage, according to them, is going to ruin us.

There’s the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth from Business about the government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill.  That, along with the increase in minimum wage, according to them, is going to ruin us.

The amendment is not radical.  It largely restores what was in law until the National Government changed it in 2014 and is part of the Government’s first 100 days programme.

Somehow the country survived all those years before. (many workers paid the price, but that’s another story).

But the noise from bosses is already deafening.

This submission from the Hospitality Association on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is an example.

Rather than trying to strengthen union presence in a sector predominantly made up of SMEs, who have very few staff who actually belong to a union, we believe the Government should be encouraging all employers to join their relevant Business Association to ensure they get the right assistance and advice to help them move towards best practice in all aspects in their business. In turn, this will bring about the desired outcome of improved business profitability and sustainability which would then enable businesses to pay their staff more.”

So according to them they are victims and the government shouldn’t be worried about enabling workers to freely join unions and negotiate collectively, but instead they should prop up their various business associations.

And guess what?  The old trickle down will happen.

To be honest, I was gobsmacked by this.  I shouldn’t be.  I’ve been around long enough to know better.  But it’s only the beginning.

The government has embarked on the next round of work, which includes fair pay agreements, so if you think the hysteria is loud now, just wait.

But in the meantime, submissions are on-going.  It pays to watch as it gives a good indicator of the opposition workers face.

There will be many workers who have something to say as well.

And as we do, and have always done, we keep campaigning.  Labour has a big programme.  If we think this is noise, get ready for the rest.


Darien Fenton is a former Labour Party MP and is currently the Director of Organising with the NZ Meat Workers Union

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  1. Castro says:

    Labour is unlikely to win 2020 with another few hundred thousand foreign (resident) voters to bolster the Natzi numbers for the next election 🙁

  2. countryboy says:

    The NZ meat farmer is entirely vulnerable to banker manipulation ( Enslaving farmers by using debt to work them for fuck all to provide a world class product from which vast profits are returned to all but the producer.)
    Bring farmers in from the deep blue cold, unite them with their down stream service industries then crush the traitorous neo liberals like the poor little worthless flies they know they are.

  3. SC says:

    An increase in the minimum wage, in my opinion, will stimulate demand via increased incomes and increase output (sales) (as long as Working For Families adjusts to not claw it all back).

    The much exploited hospitality worker might actually be able to go out occasionally for dinner, buy an ice-cream for the kids or a coffee and maybe go on holiday once in a while.

    Hospitality businesses aren’t going to raise prices willy nilly – it’s very competitive out there. They are going to sell more coffees, ice creams and campground sites.

    Increased wage costs will be offset by more consumers buying stuff.

    And if business has to content itself with a wee bit less of the national income share – well they’ve done very well over the last 30 years soaking up all the productivity growth in profits while labour income share has fallen overall – let’s call it a slight re-balancing…..

    Businesses are so dissonant – they want to pay their workers as little as possible, but they want their customers to be as rich as possible – wage growth is good – except for their workers.

  4. Mjolnir says:

    On RadioNZ this after on Jesse Mulligan’s show, a young woman related how she was made to pay for her work uniform at Toby’s Seafood! When workers are forced to pay for a corporate uniform, things have become rotten beyond belief.

    Bring back compulsory unionism. That would end the neo-liberal experiment once and for all.

    • Andrea says:

      “Bring back compulsory unionism.”

      Labour wouldn’t do that. Had plenty of opportunity and never did. Didn’t reverse the benefit cuts despite the so-called ‘good times’. Too busy trying to reverse the image of being incompetent financial managers.

      The big companies can probably manage.

      However and but – where are the data on the SMEs – provided by a breadth of economists from Rosenberg to the furthest right? In addition to Treasury.

      What will the Coalition actually do for the strugglers? The people not eligible for WFF – aka help out the bosses? People getting hit with ridiculous rents with few to no alternatives ‘because they fall outside the parameters’? Endless price hikes in rates, utilities, while the pay rates stay flat?

      Not ‘the economy’. No. The environment of work, research, development, change and upgrading to meet what’s coming.

      Can they? Or do we need to clean out the comfy folk in Parliament and get a better system for all our sakes?

      What exactly will be done to raisethe pitiful standard of management and development in the business pond be addressed? By when?

      When will our figureheads fix the obscene price of mediocre education and retraining. For people past their first year. And deepen the very shallow puddle of training for new staff and apprentices (leaky buildings anyone?)

      Who really does have the back of the workers – any workers below the boss stratum? It hasn’t been Labour since Kirk’s time.

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