Toothless Union law highlights how genuinely power vacant new Government is

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The incredibly toothless Union laws that were always tepid and mild, have been defeated from being anything radical or even useful…

Controversial workplace relations bill softened somewhat to get support from NZ First
Labour’s flagship workplace relations bill has been delayed and union access provisions softened to keep NZ First on board.

The rights of employers to opt out of multi-employment collective agreements (MECA) has also been strengthened, with employers able to opt out of concluding them if they have “reasonable grounds”.

The changes to the bill appeared in an amendment put forward by Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway ahead of the bill’s second reading in Parliament this week.

It’s understood these changes were made after negotiations with NZ First, after the party expressed some discomfort in September when the bill emerged from select committee.

…it’s defeat and mangling into incremental nonsense shows a couple of things.

1 – The power of manufactured crisis by the Right

The business community and National went into faux fits of shock and rage that very mild labour law reform was being mooted. They painted it as full on Communism with a twist of Marxism and a side salad of Socialism all wrapped in one. The mildness of the law reforms never deserved the fanatic response it generated, yet the scare campaign worked, it’s a reminder that the Right will always go feral on any real reform, so put your grown up pants on and get ready for a fight rather than rolling over.

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2 – The strength of NZ First

It was NZ First agitating on behalf of their new provincial business mates to roll back these weak reforms,    and this win shows Labour still don’t have an effective relationship process in place to manage NZ First. After a year, you’d have thought Labour would be far more aware of how that relationship needs to be processed so it can get meaningful progressive policy through. This problem will only grow, the latest internal polling shows NZ First benefiting immensely from the National Party meltdown.

3 – Is anyone even listening to the Unions?

Is anyone listening to the CTU? How come at a time when we have a Labour Government all they can manage is a reset to where we were a decade ago? How is that serving workers interests?

Currently our work force is a horror quilt of abuse towards workers. Many, many migrant workers are exploited, many workers are barely making ends meet because of low wages, and those low wages are a legacy issue from de-unionising the work force in the 1990s.

The only mechanism to give workers real wage rises and better work conditions are  much, much stronger unions. We need laws that remove legislation against illegal strikes, that allow entire sections of the economy to be given collective bargaining and every worker in NZ should be automatically enrolled into a Union and after one months subs, they get the option to pull out.

We need Unions with muscle or the lives of the poorest amongst us won’t magically get better based on the magnanimous love of the boss.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve written over at the Standard about the influence of the Talley’s family on NZ First. Last election, the Talley’s backed NZ First and ignored National. The watering down of the labour law changes is Winston repaying the debt.

    • it is underwhelming shit to state the obvious, but where things are at really with the current level of class strength and union density, approaching 30 years after the passing of the ECA

      at times like this old sayings come to mind…
      “work with and struggle against”
      “needed reforms vs. reformism as an ideology”

  2. Concealed cashflow crime syndicate did this. “Obtaining (public office) by Deception”, Conspiracy to Defraud, RACKETEER INFLUENCED CORRUPT ORGANIZATION, and i could go on because I got a whole book worth of it called TREASON: THE NEW WORLD ORDER. Don’t vote, ISOLATE, MINIMIZE AND ELIMINATE THE SYNDICATE

  3. It’s either that people have no imagination or they’ve been successfully brain washed by generations of hypno-vision, a deathly, glittering tool of the criminals who’ve pinched our stuff and things, who’ve grifted our primary industry but never saw the interweb coming so they WILL be outed before they die, riche and spent, as was their want. ( My new favourite word is ‘hypno-‘ )
    Labour has busily painted itself into a corner with a wild-promise-brush and bullshit paint. “ Lets do this” was their mantra and it worked. Is “ Ok. Now, we’re fucked. “ Their new one? While the painting was being undertaken all was sweet-as but now? When they must come up with the goods? There aint no goods suckers.
    See? When one goes into a political shit fight with a deeply entrenched enemy one must have an endless supply of ammunition. Labour needed farmer money. Labour must woo the farmer. And I don’t mean the cowsploiter supplying to the burgeoning Chinese hoards on their way. I mean, actual, proper farmers. Farmers who were born, learned to harmoniously play the land like a fiddle, then pass that knowledge on to their future generations. It’s them. Not the clumping bogan, White Gumbooters? The Hog Snorts and Spitters? The Clem Cornshuckers? The Stacy Spermsplatters?
    Who? Amongst you have driven the 71 km between Porpoise Bay in the South Catlins and Edendale? Those farms, amongst many others are the farms the revenue from which was used to buid NZ/AO, which is now just a misty eyed memories and deserted townships. Those farms were built by love and pride. Not by banks and urban greed and envy.
    When unions are mentioned as a means of protection for working people against the psychopathic trends foisted on us by banksters, all eyes fall on Labour because there is this false hope that Labour can magically create unionism with a wave of Jacinda’s tooth brush. Labour cannot do that. Even if Labour tried. Because Labour dares not go near the NZ /AO farmer, because the farmer, and the money their produce makes once grifted belongs to someone else and that particular Gollum hides behind national, a political party infested with one time, and present day, farmers. Old fashioned terms for them would be ‘ Traitors’. ‘Scabs’. ‘Machiavellian confederates’. ‘Pimps’. ‘Crooks’.
    Trust me, it’d be easier to sit in an air conditioned down town Auckland office fiddling with what was farmer money than herd sheep in a Southland Sou’ Wester with hail and rain of an early spring morning.
    The dubious beauty of a Great Swindle is that it can be right under our noses yet invisible.
    Here’s the thing. This is the answer. To all our problems. I speak with qualification. I’m a pro union Southland farmer. My father was a pro union southland farmer and my grand father was ironically a pro union Irish Catholic farmer, my mother was a pro union farmer as was my Aunt. My father packed country halls to standing room only with his fervour for unionising farmers with their down stream service industry to squeeze out the swindlers and grifters manipulating farmers and parasitising their money and to protect farmers from being thrown to the banks.
    Unions? Essential within a capitalist politic. Check meets balance, you could argue.
    NZ/AO Urban unions MUST unite with farmers and vice versa.
    Farmers? Farmers must form a compulsory-membership union and co-join with the urban unions. All farmer focus should be on that one goal. Protect yourselves against polite, and sometimes not so polite, manipulation.
    Otherwise? Our fuckedness is only going to get fuckier then we’re gone. A paradise lost. Chloe Swarbrick? What do you think?
    fay, richwhite, gibb, wattie, chandler, hart, fletcher, wrightson, pgg, bankster, legal and accountancy firms, reserve bankster and all you other high flying Mc Mansion-ites living the high life financed by swindling off the $-blood $-sweat and $-tears of farmers? What do you think? I know what you think. You’re thinking “ Oh! Fuck! “ Hold that thought.

    Sorry @ MB. Banging on my tin drum again. Not sorry really. x

  4. It sure as shit ain’t perfect but it’s an MMP collation government, last time I looked.

    To state the bloody obvious, Labour did not get anywhere enough votes and cannot pass laws without NZ First or the Greens this time or even more to the point, the next time. End of story.

    And to be fair to NZ First, they seem a hell of a lot more politically awake than many in Labour especially early on in the tenure of this government. Just ask ILG!!

    Thing is even Key did not go full monty, ever, even when he and the Nats basically owned their so-called collation partners and rode a wave of never-ending popularity. I loathed every molecule of the man but he was one very smart political operator. For him, it was baby steps glossed over with sideshows and smoke screens so as not to scare the horses. Incremental turns of the screw to stay in power to turn the screw one more notch the next time to work towards achieving the desired end result.

    It might not be dying in a ditch to serve one’s core principals but personally, I would rather they lived to fight another day and as such I’ll take it for now.

  5. There seems to be an assumption in this article that the same lying Labour who said they wouldn’t pass the TPPA pre election and then blithely did once in office, are somehow still Socialist and care about unions. Sorry but lets face facts. This is National “lite” in terms of policy, any pretence of being a party of the left is a farce, as is any claim they could possibly give two hoots about unions.

    I’ll be staying home come 2020. There’s no real left, left, to vote for.

  6. Saw on Al-Jazeera thousands of Indian farmers waving their Maoist flags in protest against the low prices for their produce.Thought of Countryboy’s father & his inspired efforts to start a farmers union here. It’s possible.

  7. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do pragmatic and incremental tinkering”…..apologies to Edmund Burke

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