Public Service Union stoush manages to drown out business spooking Kiwis over Universal Unionism

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Gloriously the Public Service stoush over 100k gold plated jobs has managed to drown out the screams of the business community over the Fair Pay Universal Unionism Labour announced.

This is essential because what Labour are doing with Fair Pay Universal Unionism is the most radical and dramatic reversal of neolibearlism NZ has seen in 35 years. Attempting this was always going to be politically dangerous unless Labour managed to flood the media with the CTU, PSA and Greens screaming that they hate workers, which is exactly what has happened.

The outrage generated by the Wellington elite unions and dutifully reported by their Wellington twitter journalist mates has shut down any attempt by Big Business, ACT and National to freak NZers out about the Fair Pay Universal Unionism.

Thank Christ for that.

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In terms of the screams of the Wellington elite Unions crying out about their gold plated 100k jobs – the average wage is $52000, most beneficiaries will never earn $100k and MPs are on a 3 year pay freeze as well. There simply will be no appetite outside the Wellington Union-Wellington journalist twitter bubbles for mass strikes, and Labour can just reverse the decision once the Fair Pay Universal Unionism is passed safely.

The goal here is implementing Universal Unionism without giving ACT and National political momentum, if that means manipulating the CTU and PSA into throwing a media generated tantrum, so be it.

Now some would say that is incredibly cynical of the Labour Party strategists, to which I would say, all those Union Bosses will be eyeing up their invites to Jacinda’s wedding anyway, so they won’t be too obtuse.

Meanwhile working class unions like UTU keep doing the heavy lifting for the most vulnerable workers.

If only we cared as much about people in poverty as we do about property speculators and gold plated bureaucrats.

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21 COMMENTS

    • Yep – I wondered about the timing of announcing a wedding to be held in Gisborne – somewhere like that. Aw shucks. It’s getting a bit like Hollywood Harry and the actress; nicer for children if the parents are married though – once they reach school age – the kids that is, not the parents. .

      Implementing any sort of universal unionism will still depend very much on the calibre of union participants, and the omens mightn’t be all that good; the handful of courageous and adept worker advocates in the current New Zealand work scene shine out like single figure beacons.

  1. I listened to Chris Hipkins this morning on RNZ and based on what I heard, not a lot of substance he needs to brush up on this issue and perhaps be a bit more honest. There are some public servants paid too much and some public sector areas are top heavy with middle and even top management creaming it. But we have to be careful as there is also many like Nurses, Teachers, Doctors, Clinicians and others that need to be highly paid if we want to keep them. The latter is extremely important particularly in areas were we have huge shortages and we rely too much on a foreign workforce coming here. Also many of these roles are very stressful so experience, qualifications, and years of service need to be recognized and be well enumerated otherwise we will lose them to overseas probably Aussie. In my view experience is everything in many of these roles. The lower paid and Hipkins did mention security guards, well these people are critical with Covid and we must remember they have not studied years to get qualifications or paid out vast sums to get their qualification like some of the other roles mentioned above. So what our government is acknowledging is some roles are paid too low and while this is right, cleaners, caregivers and waitresses/hospitality are mostly women dominated roles that are and have always been very lowly paid however this does not make it right. So how this issue is dealt with from here on is very important particularly if the current government wants to stay in power. The trouble is the opposition parties like National and Act are worst when it comes to Public services as they ran them down, made big cuts, sold up and brought in too many immigrants adding to our infrastructure woes and dumbing down the quality of our public services further exacerbating inequalities. Increasing inequalities is the part of these political parties ethos. So who do you turn to?

    • You may be surprised to see me agreeing with you but your comments make a lot of sense. It would seem that this curent Labour government have learnt nothing from history in dealing with the Public Service . National used the excuse of the GFC TO stop pay rises but then waited far to long before attempting to catch up and caused a log jam of demands .
      Over the last year dealing with the effect of covid has tested all staff as there is no manual to deal with our present situation.
      To reward them with a pay freeze is obscene

  2. Yes, in this immediate news period the right wing have been swamped, but it is certain that ACT, NZ Iniative, Employers and Manufacturers Association, Taxpayers Union, NZ National Party, Federated Farmers, all sorts of small business associations and horticulturalists will definitely be screaming long and loud as FPA goes through the legislative process.

    UTU is doing the dirty end of case work that many unions just do not have the resources to reach. That is why industry and occupational wage floors will be so liberating for private sector unions in particular. They will have space to tackle all the other issues unions should be on behalf of members–including empowering those members politically.

    Union members joining for “servicing” like an Insurance Co. has been one of the tragedies of the post ECA era.

  3. Are people who have $50k+ to millions of dollars to buy NZ residency, and spend thousands on airfares to fly to NZ, be considered vulnerable workers?

    Is a foreign student or worker qualifying for Kiwibuild with little income but lots of cash for deposits in the same boat as a local worker who did not have hundreds of thousands to throw at dual passport situations but working each day without any cash at all to get by, be the more vulnerable worker?

    Should someone who could raise $650,000 for a house deposit be considered a struggling first-home buyer and need a KiwiBuild house?
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/391713/kiwibuild-pre-approved-applicants-list-raises-eligibility-questions

    I think there needs to be a reset of what constitutes ‘vulnerable’… and whether policy makers need to stop allowing our visas to be misappropriated by allowing wealthy people with easily trainable work skills coming to NZ as students and workers (and their families) to get here, on mass and thus keep wages low and precariat work conditions high.

    • There needs to be a whole rethink/reset with what constitutes citizenship and PR and the rights and responsibilities that go with it.
      We’ve simply followed the policies and practices imposed on us by our former colonial masters (I’ve always been reluctant to talk about colonialism btw), and we’re now witnessing a second wave.
      Probably Mr Spoonley has a good understanding.
      You can ponder over the inequities of the system imposed on us as much as you like and always find things that are just absolute muppetry at play (such as Peter bloody Thiel).
      I agree – let’s totally reform the cistern.
      Should – for example – someone that’s been promised a pathway to residency and slogged there guts out (I mean having been lied to by a nation state) for ten or so years and in possession of needed skills be treated like shit, while a person born in ‘lil ‘ole Nuzull that punches above its weight, and who has fucked off overseas for a decade or more and contributed nothing be lionised?
      Should they now be allowed to come back with their fortune (with superior exchange rate) and displace those that chose to stay when trying to get into the property market and home ownership?
      Questions questions.
      I know one thing though, and that is that the precariat and the elite don’t respect nation-state borders and that people exploiting the vulnerable and the exploited can, and do come from anywhere INCLUDING ‘lil ‘ole NuZull that punches above its weight.

      • I don’t think the state should be paying for employees slogging away on low wages, the employer should! But like the Kiwis that used to get a free education and then suddenly didn’t and were forced to take out massive student loans at interest calculated daily, aka Gen X – there are a lot of things wrong with government (and council) policy, but we didn’t get any compensation. Should low paid workers on temporary visas who seem to be doing great with so many hand outs available to them and always knew they didn’t qualify for residency somehow bankrupt NZ with more handouts and force the state to pay for them? Especially when it’s coming from people in NZ who are getting less and less and their is a housing and health and justice and pretty much everything crisis in NZ. There are too many neoliberal lobby groups (and now unions) who are profiting from NZ visa scam’s and politicising it. Stop the NZ visa scam and the NZ visas straight away, allow people who have only one passport to rent and own NZ houses. Visas to NZ are clearly being abused and the worst people seem to be getting residency here.

  4. Blimely just looked at the working tax credits which are given to any income no matter what source if you have children. You don’t have to be a permanent resident or a NZ citizen to get them, just work in NZ for 12 months. https://www.ird.govt.nz/-/media/project/ir/home/documents/forms-and-guides/ir200—ir299/ir271/ir271-2022.pdf?modified=20210308210433

    Under $9.5k sounds like you get $588 – $424 per week in working tax credits and $60 per week (up to $3,120 per year) per child for your child’s first 3 years.

    Remember you could essentially be millionaires and living the life of luxury in NZ (as it’s not means tested) but on a low income with kids to get all the free money!

    Doesn’t really incentivise anybody to do well in NZ!

    No wonder maternity services are overloaded like the translation services here!

    • Good to know (sarcasm) as a foreign national you bring in money to NZ, buy a business in NZ like a fish and chip shop, or be self employed like an taxi driver, and make very little income from it and be unsuccessful here, but still be supported if you have kids in NZ, without being a permanent resident or NZ citizen up to $588 per week, more than the pension which you can also get in NZ as a foreign national without paying any taxes in NZ!

      Neokindness, poorer workers with skills are on wage freezes to pay for all the rich, but low and zero income (mostly) new residents that the government can’t get enough of!

  5. If [the unions] popped on down that road and said to farmers; ” Come on over ? Be with us? And if farmers went on up that road and asked “ Hey you unions? Can we join up? Where do we sign? “ Farmers? If you’re tired of never knowing what your income’s going to be and with the banksters ( foreign remember? ) breathing hotly down your necks with their erections poking you in the back as the politicians you’ve trusted are showing themselves up as merely manipulative exploiters who’ve lied to you for generations while pocketing your exports-earned money then come on over, and bring the kids.
    We got the numbers and you got the money. Lets party! ? Lets fucking strike ! ?
    Hey Boys? Have I got you thinking ? Was their a little bit of diarrhoea? A small trouser cough followed by a cocktail of last nights $80 red that went nicely with the beef and taties?
    If I was some kind of God like creature, and looking at me you’d be forgiven for thinking I was, then I’d smite you down Boys. I’d decree we’d strike until you were in chains. In prison. We’d strike until it was you fuckers, not the harmless and powerless, who were living in the gutters watching the vomit, spit and piss of the lazy riche float past.
    AO/NZ’s far, far richer than you can imagine. I mean, beyond your wildest imaginings actually and the only reason we don’t, indeed, can’t share in that wealth is because one or two good ol boys have nothing to fear from our weak and disjointed work force. Farming in particular. 52 K people derive their sole income from agrarian enterprises and our farmers are our primary industry.
    What if there were 500,000 people deriving their sole income from growing organic food? And those farmers had solid protection because they had the urban workforce to stand by them, shoulder to shoulder?
    Imagine the power you would have? Imagine the peace you could enjoy?

  6. Actually with a bit of under the table work alot of beneficiaries could earn pretty close to what someone on 100k has in the hand after tax. However neither has much chance as a single person of securing a home loan

  7. I’ll believe this was a deeply cunning plan by Labours brain trust IF they mysteriously back down on the wage freeze over 60k.

    Because otherwise a number of Labours backbenchers will be nervously reviewing the Situations Vacant owing to their bosses incendiary grenade lob into their voters.

  8. I saw a response on the pay freeze from an MSD employee who said they couldn’t afford their rent now that their pay will be static for a few years. I say to this poor soul, move to a camp ground and live in a tent to save money or go to a food bank if things get really dire. I am also here to provide free budgeting advice if you can’t manage your finances.

      • Rosielee – I worked with a solo mother from an SOE. She trained into Wgtn daily from the Kapiti Coast; two children, perhaps three. She told me that she went for budgeting advice, perhaps from a CAB. She said that the advisor, went through her finances and then asked, “ Have you ever thought of remarrying ? “. That was all that he could come up with to address her circumstances.

  9. The only thing offensive about this is that WINZ actually made me do all of these things. One unqualified and half trained case manager I was assigned used to chew gum while she interviewed me, chomping like a farm animal while she peered into my life and mindlessly tapped on her keyboard. My saviour and wise council was no more than a disinterested ugly doing me a favour. The worst case manager I had though told me, out of the blue, to seek psychological help when I told her I was cold calling local businesses looking for work. These people shouldn’t be working in the sector let alone being paid for it.

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