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John Key’s track record on raising wages – 8. An End to Collective Agreements

11 November 2012 7 comments

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Continued from: John Key’s track record on raising wages – 7. Part 6A – stripped away

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8. An End to Collective Agreements

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National’s covert agenda to resurrect the Employment Contract’s Act involves the following,

  1. The Employment Relations Authority can declare in certain circumstances that collective bargaining has ended.
  2. A duty of good faith does not require the parties to conclude a collective agreement.
  3. Employers can opt out of multi-employer bargaining.
  4. Partial pay reductions in cases of partial strike action.
  5. Removing the 30-day rule that forces non-union members to take union terms and conditions.

Items 1, 2, and 3 have only one purpose; to ensure that an employer can walk away from the negotiating table; scrap any collective agreement; and re-hire workers on individual contracts.

It is solely designed to destroy unions once and for all.

Had Items 1, 2, and 3 been in force this year, POAL (Ports of Auckland Ltd) would have been able to abandon the bargaining table after a mock “negotiation”; locked out any worker on strike; and issued take-it-or-leave-it individual contracts.

The worker’s negotiating agent,  the Maritime Union, would have been dis-empowered and destroyed.

Only the current provisions of good-faith bargaining in the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Employment Relations Authority were able to stop POAL from unilaterally walking away from the negotiating table. (On 27 March this year, the Employment Court issued a judgement severely admonishing POAL for their actions, and ordering them to return to negotiations.)

The same happened when Talleys locked out workers. Talleys was demanding that workers quit their Union and sign individual contracts.

See previous blogpost: If anyone wants to see the Working Class

See previous blogpost: Help Talley’s Affco Workers!

See previous blogpost: Immovable and Irresistable forces – combined!!

See previous blogpost: The Talleys Strikes Back

All this will change – and not fot the better –  if National proceeds with implementation of their draconian law-changes.

They will serve the purposes of business – whilst leaving employees totally vulnerable and at the mercy of their employers.

This is Third World banana republic stuff.

This will drive wages down, and will send more New Zealanders packing for Australia.

Item 4 is self-evident, and is designed to dissuade employees from strike action. Using financial pressure to control workers would be the inevitable outcome of this law-change.

Again, it would leave workers totally vulnerable to employer demands.

Item 5 – What better way to prevent workers from learning about the benefits of union-membership – than by denying workers the benefits of Union-won  conditions? It means that an employer can hire staff at lower pay, or sub-standard conditions.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson’s own cabinet paper confirmed that the 30 Day Rule  would permit  employers to offer lower wages to new workers than those on the collective agreement. What other reasonwould there be for such a radical  change in our labour laws?

With unemployment now at 7.3%, more than 175,000 people are now competing for fewer and fewer jobs. If National proceeds with it’s miserable labour “reforms” it will simply result in unemployed job-seekers willing to accept lower and lower pay, and reduced conditions. It will become a dog-eat-dog labour market.

This may satisfy free market fanatics, but it does nothing to fulfill Dear Leader’s pledges to raise wages, or create new jobs.

As usual, Key promises one thing whilst his Minister work quietly in the background to achieve the polar-opposite.

In polite society, this is called duplicity.

How does this raise wages, one may rightly ask?

Next chapter: 9. Conclusion

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The Talleys Strikes Back (Part #Rua)

12 April 2012 2 comments

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Full Story

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Interesting image on that TV3 news item…

Anyone notice the incongruency of the image – and the caption beneath?

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Affco CEO Hamish Simson said the union has not declared its total income, but was wrong

Really? So which one of the four figures in the image is CEO Hamish Simpson?

 

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The Talleys Strikes Back

11 April 2012 6 comments
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(This blogpiece best viewed to “Darth Vader’s Imperial March. Click here)
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Talleys AFFCO appears to be up to a spot of mischief-making…

AFFCO chief executive, Hamish Simson, has informed the media that AFFCO has laid a complaint with the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the financial accounts of the meat workers’ union. According to Simpson, there are “irregularities” in the Union’s  financial accounts.

Simspson claims  that,

It appears from the union’s published financial statements that only a fraction of its total income has been declaredAffco union members paid $5.95 a week each to the union, which totalled more than $500,000 a year.Affco workers represent less than 10 per cent of the 23,000 members the union says it has and yet it only declares revenue of just over $700,000 per annum.More and more of our staff are starting to question where their money has gone. With the union now asking the public for donations, every workers’ dollar must be accounted for.  ” – Source

It is noteworthy that the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants has already investigated a similar complaint and found no evidence of wrong-doing.

When interviewed on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint,  Hamish Simpson appeared less than forthcoming on several important matters. He could not even state how many “AFFCO union members”  had  “started to question where their money has gone“.

Radio NZ: Listen to Checkpoint interview with Hamish Simson

Meatworker’s Union, National secretary Dave Eastlake, was not impressed, and replied

It hasn’t taken into account that the Meat Workers’ Union’s made up of four independent branches that collect the union fees off the members.They run autonomous accounts and have them audited and pay a capitation to the national office. All the complaint is about is the national office accounts.”

Radio NZ: Listen to Dave Eastlake on Checkpoint

It doesn’t take Quantum Physics to figure out what is happening here.

AFFCO are playing silly buggers. Dave Eastlake is right; this is a publity stunt.

But more than that, this  is a carefully orchestrated  attempt to wreck  the reputations of meatworkers and their Union in the publics’ mind. It is a similar ploy to the so-called  “Fact Sheet” that Ports of Auckland Ltd published which alleged that port workers were “remunerated” $91,000 p.a.

It is noteworthy that in his media statement,  Simpson referred to “the union now asking the public for donations“.

And that, I submit, is what this is all about; a battle for the hearts and minds of the public of New Zealand. It is a battle that POAL lost soon after the 5,000 strong street march on 10 March, and when the Employment Authority came down hard against the Port management and Board.

POAL have lost the struggle for public support.

POAL have all but lost the battle with the Courts.

Talleys AFFCO are witnessing a similar  campaign to build public support for locked-out meatworkers, in the media, on Blogs, and in the community.  Perhaps they understand that locking out workers, who were supporting families, is not a particularly good look. In fact, this blogger goes as far as to suggest that Talley’s management have stuffed up Big Time, and are only now beginning to comprehend their precarious  position.

The fact that a public boycott of Talley’s products can actually damage their brand name and impact on their profitability is only now beginning to dawn on them?

With this blog, and others, and social media supporting a boycott – Talleys AFFCO is in trouble.

Which explains their incredibly clumsy ploy to smear the Meatworkers Union.  Bad form, Talleys.

This blogger hopes that when the Serious Fraud Office dismisses the allegations, that the SFO will then  prosecute Talley’s management for wasting Police time.  That is a crime.

In the meantime, I refer folks to a previous blogpost on how meatworkers can be supported in many little ways.

See: Help Talley’s Affco Workers!

If you’re reading this and are pissed of at Talleys AFFCO’s dirty tricks campaign, you can make a quick $5 donation by calling: 0900 562 5688 . It’s a nice, easy way to vent your anger and support the locked out workers at the same time.

Karma’s a bitch‘ as they say, and  at $5 it’s pretty damned cheap as well.

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+++ Update +++

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Full Story

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That takes care of this piece of BS.

As this blogger predicted yesterday, the SFO found nothing untoward or “irregular” in the Meatworkers Union accounts.  Talleys AFFCO agenda was to smear and discredit the Union – nothing else. The Serious Fraud Office must be mightily annoyed at being dragged into an industrial dispute as a pawn by company bosses.

One hope the SFO invoices or prosecutes Talleys for wasting Police time.

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Media reports

Port admits leaking worker’s details – union

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