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 EPMU 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 Andrew Little 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 CTU 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 jobs”.

“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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