Stupidity

March 11th, 2009 at 7:00 pm by David Farrar

I know the “subsidy” by the Government (taxpayers) is not at much as some would want, but that doesn’t excuse this stupidity by Labour Party President National Secretary Andrew Little:

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said the pay out was “underwhelming”.

“Unless employers are willing to meet this subsidy with a substantial top-up of their own it’s unlikely to be accepted by workers,” national secretary said.

“As far as the EPMU is concerned, this will be a bottom line.”

This staggers me. Andrew is saying that employers should pay employees more money to work less hours as a way to stop businesses going broke and/or having to lay staff off.

If your staff hours reduce by 10% yet your staff costs only decrease 5%, the company is arguably in a worse position – they have lower productivity as they are effectively now paying a higher hourly rate.

Luckily the is being more rational:

However, the Council of Trade Unions welcomed the announcement, saying the union’s members wanted to protect employment and the package provided “a real basis for business and unions to work to save ”.

“We will always advocate that the package could have included a higher rate of pay. But the government contribution was essential to make this idea acceptable to workers,” CTU president Helen Kelly said.

The CTU does also say they would like employers to contribute:

“We expect responsible employers, who will also benefit from this scheme in terms of retained staff, and reduced costs associated with redundancy, to also make a contribution to the lost wages, since clearly there are benefits for businesses that do this.”

But the difference in tone and substance is significant. The EPMU is saying they will have nothing to do with the scheme unless employers pay staff to not turn up to work. They say it is a bottom line.

The CTU far more rationally says “Hey this is a good scheme, we would like employers to contribute, and think it benefits them to do so”.

Anyway the EPMU has made itself clear. Any site where they represent workers should be prepared for big job losses, as they won’t co-operate with helping save jobs.

This is one of those situations where people might ask what hat is Andrew wearing when he condemns the scheme, as oppossed to the CTU that welcomed it?

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40 Responses to “Stupidity”

  1. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Im sorry but they are getting a day OFF…..why should they get their wages topped up? Fuck em! The usual bleat from union scum is that they need time off the rest and relax….ok…now they have it.

    Tell these inbred doorstops its a fucking recession and theres no right to be paid for days NOT worked…if they want a job the other four days they need to HTFU and grow a pair.

    Christ the boo hoo bludger “I want my cake and eat it too” cry baby crap gives me the shits…

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  2. Captain Crab (351 comments) says:

    I am stunned at this outburst of common sense from Helen Kelly. Is John Keys pragmatism becoming infectious? Nah, she must have been drunk. But maybe…

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  3. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    And Chicken Little wants to take the reins of the opposition, with the longer term view of being an MP, and front bench, and ambitions to be Leader.

    I for one am thrilled. He actually is less reasonable than Clark.

    As an aside, he is a complete plonker. I hope loads of EMPU members see the light and withhold their dues.

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  4. Ferdinand (93 comments) says:

    I don’t think you understand the basics of contract law here David. There is a contract between the worker and the employer to pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of work. If one party (the employer) decides to reduce the contracted hours and the contracted pay then they should pay a penalty.

    I doubt you would be happy if one of your clients decided unilaterally to send back 10% of your research work and dock your invoice a similar amount. At worst you would expect to settle the account with some kind of middle-ground penalty payment. Why should the contract between worker and employer be any different?

    Or do you think labour a product that deserves less protection than any other in the market? John Key has set up a system in which employers can escape their contractual obligations and workers and taxpayers are expected to pick up the tab. What a joke.

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  5. mike12 (183 comments) says:

    Little is dream’n. But we must remember who his target audience is – they are generally less sharp than their tools and will lap this nonsense up.

    As an aspiring MP he needs to realise this rubbish he peddles may come back to bite him.

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  6. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Obviously Andrew is practicing to become a silly labour MP. As for Ferdinand et al the point is to reduce the empoyer’s wage bill so they can stay in business …. far better to work reduced hours for a bit less money than to be 100% on the dole which I guess is even less than the minimum wage. Frankly you guys are all rather stupid along with Andrew. The wonderful thing is that the idea came from the trade unions showing not all of them are damm fools like politicians of the left, and writers here.

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  7. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    Ferdinand “I don’t think you understand the basics of contract law here David….”

    Actually it is you who has missed the point. There is no unilateral decision by the employer, but an agreed arrangment to accept reduced hours to avoid redundancies, hence why the EPMU are making it a bottom line in the NEGOTIATIONS. The employees will be given the choice of reduced hours for all, or face the chance of being made redundant, which is allowed in their contract and law.

    From the article “Employers, workers and unions would negotiate voluntary agreements to reduce their work hours. For those who agreed to a nine-day fortnight the Government would pay out $12.50 an hour to a maximum of $60.”

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  8. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Key could of couse throw into the mix that workers of a site turning it down would be deemed not to qualify for the dole

    Let the pricks be made redundant – its not the first time a union has sacrificed its members long term employment for political gain, it wont be the last

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  9. Ferdinand (93 comments) says:

    Actually it is you who has missed the point. There is no unilateral decision by the employer, but an agreed arrangement to accept reduced hours to avoid redundancies, hence why the EPMU are making it a bottom line in the NEGOTIATIONS.

    Exactly. But it is John Key who has undermined those negotiations by setting the default situation as one in which the taxpayer and the worker start from a position of disadvantage comparative to the employer. If anything that’s the government interfering in a market interaction between two non-state parties.

    From an entirely market perspective it is the government that has been stupid and they have been stupid with our money. Little is merely engaging in the negotiating process in a manner that strengthens the bargaining position of his members. My gripe is with DPF’s attempt to justify Key’s tilting of the playing field toward the employer. In my opinion it shows he is more interested in partisan politics than a functioning market environment.

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  10. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    Little needs to decide what he is – a voice for the best interests of his union members or a voice for the best interests of the Labour party. The silly man probably thinks these two things are one in the same and they probably were 60 years ago.

    Wake up Mr. Little – self serving corrupt politicians and defenders of workers rights can not be one in the same.

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  11. Inventory2 (10,265 comments) says:

    So which hat is Little actually wearing tonight – the EPMU’s or the Labour Party’s? Or are they, to all intents and purposes, the same hat? Whatever, this “bottom-line” militant unionism is senseless stuff from Little – doesn’t he realise there’s a global recession happening?

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  12. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Ferdinand, you do have a point BUT you assume a penalty paid by the employer is to be paid immediately. You also assume that the penalty should be a cost to one party. Equally it can just be a benefit to the other without cost to in this case the employer. A penalty can be in any form agreed between the two parties. In this case part of that is that the employee will not be laid off during the period of the scheme so that is one form of penalty (of course that cannot be imposed if the employer goes broke except that the debt being unpaid wages could be a preferential debt). On the other side of the coin I wonder if this stops the employee going and finding another job during this period – somehow I doubt it.

    Another is that employer stays in business and therefore the employee keeps a job.

    As regards the written contracts. As John Key mentioned this will probably cover union workers in large companies (100+ employees) and these employees are more likely to be covered by a Collective Agreement. I am sure that the unions will want appropriate wording in the Agreement to cover all this. If as is most likely the rules are codified in legislation then that legislation overrides the Agreement anyway.

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  13. Twocan (25 comments) says:

    When are they going to incorporate the EPMU into the Labour party?? Whats the difference between the two? Will be interesting to hear the NDU and Harre’s view on it after she praised the current govts approach to the job summit on National radio the other day.

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  14. Inventory2 (10,265 comments) says:

    Question: What do the Labour Party and the EPMU have in common?

    Answer: In 2009, they are both irrelevant.

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  15. GPT1 (2,116 comments) says:

    Reminds me of the Ansett Australia situation. Unions barked and shouted, refused to compromise and then everyone lost their job.

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  16. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    If they think they know best, why is it that unions do not start their own businesses?

    Maybe it is because they know their demands will send them broke!

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  17. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    If Little doesn’t like it then stay with a 10 day fortnight and have a heap more of his union members become unemployed than would otherwise be the case. I slagged Helen Keller a while ago for being deaf, blind and dumb but at least she is showing some pragmatism. Little is another leech who will still get paid even if his members dont so what does he really care? I think Union organisers and leaders should all do their job for nothign except the kudos from grateful comrades and food parcels.

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  18. reid (16,213 comments) says:

    Question: What do the Labour Party and the EPMU have in common? Answer: In 2009, they are both irrelevant.

    Unfortunately not, Inventory. The EPMU has the potential to close major businesses for weeks if not months on end. The Liarbore Party has the potential to lie and bore throughout said closures.

    Together in conjunction with our vapid, truth-averse, left-biased domestic MSM, they comprise a formidable opposition to a new govt trying to put runs on the board whilst battling averse economic tides which the reef-fish don’t understand.

    Wish the EPMU were irrelevant. They of course deserve to be for, despite the fact they fill a need, Little personally, is acting like a venal liar. However the EPMU has considerable constituent traction currently and potentially even more traction available lest global conditions take a worse turn which as those of us who understand geopolitics and macro-economics know, is about 90% likely.

    So unfortunately, they’re about as irrelevant as a malignent tumour. You wouldn’t personally treat that lightly, I assume. Suggest you award these people with about the same attention. They can do massive damage to our country which is what we all knew they would try to do when Liarbore finally departed. They’re just starting to fulfill that prophecy now and what the nation needs to be told is that their actions are against national interest. I hope Key has the plan and the guts to do just that.

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  19. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    HMMMMMM…………

    Doesn’t one just have to love the new John Key Government?
    National that is?
    Oh yes!!!
    Move fast.
    Look outside the square.
    Do it.
    And fuck Labour over in the house with their dumb dumb dumb stupid questions!!!

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  20. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,832 comments) says:

    Andrew Little is putting in a determined effort to ensure that he is never Prime Minister of New Zealand. A good outcome in my humble opinion.

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  21. mavxp (496 comments) says:

    Slightly OT. As a professional engineer I find it offensive they have the gall to call themselves representatives of the engineering industry.

    definition of an engineer:
    Noun 1. a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
    Noun 2. the operator of a railway locomotive

    Clearly the latter is an outdated definition, and the former should be used as engineers are applied scientists. When the hell did engineers ever need a union? They are in demand the world over and if an employer didn’t pay them enough they can leave and get a job elsewhere – ergo they don’t need one.

    engineer ≠ unskilled labour!

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  22. Pita (373 comments) says:

    “Any site where they represent workers should be prepared for big job losses, as they won’t co-operate with helping save jobs”.

    A contented/satisfied workforce do not make for a strong Labour party constituency…better to loose jobs and have aggrieved members than no members at all!

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  23. gabba gabba hey (15 comments) says:

    Unions never have been and never will be the friend of the unemployed. Little will condemn 1000s to the dole queue.

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  24. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Andrew Little is really the best that Labour can come up with????

    SWEET!

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  25. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    government control of private business management issues.

    that’s what this “subsidy” is about, and here are a bunch of National party supporters cheering for that.

    then they attack the unions for attacking an idea that, practically, if they’re actually employers, they should be opposed to.

    I suppose it is easier to attack the insane than accept reality. I didn’t expect to see that type of thing here – on The Standard, maybe.

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  26. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    don’t these stupid f*ck union reps understand that whole businesses will fail resulting in total unemployment for all of the employees unless there is some give?

    Little & Co really are gobshites.

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  27. Razork (375 comments) says:

    I wonder how they came up with the 2500 jobs saved number?

    Is it as simple as saying this applies to 25000 workers and they will have one day in 10 off, so thats 10%?

    I’m not so sure about that. surely with a loss in productivity there could be additional job losses elsewhere…

    simplest example: Factory makes stuff and each day a 10 trucks arrive and take manaufactured stuff away. factory stops operating on the 10th day so no need for trucks on that day. Trucking company reduces their workforce by 10%

    Here’s an idea. Modern apprenticships these days take about 18-24 months in all sorts of sub trades. Why not use the money allocated for that to pay the employees to learn on the 10th day and get their trade qualification in 6 months. The money saved in the funding from that would more than cover the lost wages for every second friday for 6 months.
    Then you’re just using funding already allocated and getting a win win.

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  28. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    So much for Little,the self-appointed rising star of the Labour Party.

    Another intellectual giant to join the ranks of Hawkins, Tizard, Mallard, King, and Goff. These bunch of socialists are braindead.

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  29. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Why should the government be subsidising businesses anyway? They shouldn’t be subsidising anyone.

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  30. david (2,571 comments) says:

    RAZORK – where did you discover that the firnm has to shut for day 10 rather that 10% of the workforce take Monday1, 10% Tuesday1 ……… etc etc ….. 10% take Friday2. ???????????????????????

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  31. Sam (498 comments) says:

    How ’bout the Unions provide the top-up subsidies from their own coffers – you know, lending a helping hand to their comrades in times of need. This would be in the spirit of govt. and Unions working together for the benefit of workers, and would be far more productive than causing massive redundancies through short-sightedness and political posturing…

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  32. Sam (498 comments) says:

    “Why should the government be subsidising businesses anyway? They shouldn’t be subsidising anyone.”

    The govt isn’t subsidizing the business in the slightest – seeing as they are not paying the business a cent. They are subsidizing at risk workers. Whether they should be doing that or not is the real question…

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  33. grumpy (255 comments) says:

    When the poor suckers “represented” by EPMU get laid off, Little and his sidekick Ferdinand will be there to sign them up for the Labour Party.

    Obviously Little has taken the fact that Labour only has 2000 members in Auckland to heart. A pity for him that the Greens have now captured the beneficiary market!

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  34. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    This from the Standard

    I just heard John Key on the radio saying he “hoped” employers would top the rate up. John you don’t have to “hope” if you design the scheme so employers have to pay some kind of top up.

    Are you saying John Key is “stupid”.

    But of course the line from the Beehive is to demonise Andrew Little ahead of the hope that he becomes leader of parliamentary labour party

    [DPF: The CTU have also said they hope. As I said massive difference between saying that and refusing to have anything to do with the scheme unless employers do]

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  35. Razork (375 comments) says:

    RAZORK – where did you discover that the firnm has to shut for day 10 rather that 10% of the workforce take Monday1, 10% Tuesday1 ……… etc etc ….. 10% take Friday2. ???????????????????????

    no discovery, pure assumption on my part, but even if it is a 10% off per day scenerio, my point about production and the additional job losses are just as relevant.

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  36. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    “How ’bout the Unions provide the top-up subsidies from their own coffers – you know, lending a helping hand to their comrades in times of need.”

    This.

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  37. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    “..the line from the Beehive is to demonise Andrew Little ahead of the hope that he becomes leader of parliamentary labour party”

    The Beehive doesn’t need to demonise Andrew Little. The poor Little bugger is shooting himself in the foot every time he utters a sentence.

    He should stick to his well known double dipping and keep a low profile.

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  38. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    JVH is spreading some quality manure about to-day.

    Please go back to the Standard and take your naive sentiments with you.

    You have become an irrelevant bore.

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  39. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Andrew Little wants to see wide scale business failure and loss of employment Reason As President of the Labour Party he can then blame the Nat Government and enhance his own prospects for election in 2011 and his ultimate goal of being Prime Minister in a future Socialist led government

    He is riddled with self interest like all Socialists

    In short he is an opportunist of the very worst knid and deserves to be treated with utter contempt.

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  40. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    I’m sure the Unions and the like, academics, tell us that holidays make for more efficienct workers so I would expect greater production as a result of a nine day fourtnight out of workers …. mind you when I enjoyed in a stop-work day off I still had to get my work for the week done in the four days left to me … but that was the nature of the work :-)

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