Employment

Some words of caution for Andrew Little and Labour, but will they listen?

Tony Alexander, in his latest newsletter, has some words of caution for Andrew Little and the Labour party about the path they have embarked on.

Last week I noted that there are some trends which people (businesses I suppose, truth be told) should keep an eye on. These included growing wealth inequality and employers exploiting staff. Perhaps this latter thread is one of the motivating factors behind the new Leader of the Opposition’s announcement that he will set up a two year “Future of Work Commission”. The intention is that this project will examine changes in the way people work via numerous workshops and extensive contact with various groups. The risk is that it ends
up being a grumpy free for all for all and sundry so the first task of the work which Grant Robertson will lead is to tightly define what they wish specifically to focus on and go from there.

Good luck to them because one outcome of the GFC is an altered relationship between employers and employees. But more than that whole new industries and jobs have appeared, there is more casualisation and contracting, and a generation of people have come through the education system and entered the workforce with minimal awareness of what unions can offer them. And that union movement suffers greatly from being associated with exactly that – a politically motivated always Labour-supporting “movement” rather than true representation of employee concerns.

These are early days for the re-elected National government and early days for the latest Labour Party leader, so the thrust of changes in the employee-employer relationship for the next three years is still likely to be in the direction of further empowering the former. But employers should keep an eye on the building undercurrent of discontent among the working poor in particular, what the Aussies call the “battlers”, and where possible seek input into the new Commission.

Read more »

How about that manufacturing crisis?

Remember the manufacturing crisis that the Labour party and assorted other opposition parties promulgated?

You know that the sector that was in total decay and was going to fail dooming us to a life of low wage servitude and indentured labour?

Yeah…that crisis…remember?

Manufacturers are flat out and are crying out for more workers, with a survey showing employment activity at record levels.

The latest BNZ- Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index showed the sector was expanding at its fastest pace this year in October.

The seasonally adjusted PMI for October was 59.3, up 0.8 on September. An index above 50 indicates the sector is growing and below 50 it is shrinking.

The PMI employment index hit 57.5 points in October, the highest level on record since the survey began in 2002.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel said the labour market was getting stronger with annual employment growth of 3.2 per cent and the unemployment rate falling in the year to September.

“Today’s PMI results suggest more improvement is likely in the final quarter of 2014.”   Read more »

Meanwhile, back at the economy, jobs are up, unemployment down

Unemployment is down to 5.4 per cent in the September quarter, as rapidly rising job numbers more than keep up with the record migration boom.

Stoked ​by the building boom in Canterbury and Auckland, in the past year 72,000 more people have found new jobs, up 3.2 per cent.

In the September quarter jobs were up a healthy 0.8 per cent, a sign of solid economic growth.

Westpac Bank economists said the latest job figures were slightly stronger than markets expected. However, wage inflation remained low despite falling unemployment.

That added to the case for the Reserve Bank to keep official interest rates on hold till the second half of next year, Westpac said.

The building boom is responsible for almost half the big lift in jobs in the past year, with most of that concentrated in Canterbury and Auckland.

Statistics NZ figures out today also show subdued wage inflation, up just 1.6 per cent in the past year, with government workers getting even smaller increases.

More people in work eh?  That won’t improve child poverty statistics, will it?   Read more »

Bob Jones on the living wage

Yesterday Bob Jones gave his considered opinion on the living wage.

He has spent some considerable time talking to retailers about costs in their businesses, which led him to a discussion on wages and staffing:

My inquiry as to the best employees brought an unsurprising answer – new immigrants by a country mile. What particularly interested me was the salaries for what’s essentially menial work. In most cases they’re on the minimum wage. Any more and they’re out of business, he said, and I believe him.

I mention all of this in the context of the absurdly titled living wage clamour, the noise invariably coming from leftish critics not employing anyone, nor ever likely to. There are exceptions. Two leftie Wellington city councillors, respective owners of small city retail food businesses, led the charge recently for menial task council employees to be paid the so-called living wage. Inquiry however, revealed their own employees were on the minimum wage.

“We’d go broke,” they wailed when their hypocrisy was exposed. It was classic left do as I say, not as I do, double standards. Everyone benefits from a high wage economy as it increases spending power and thus the economy. But it also necessarily increases prices which no one wants to meet, thus shop assistants are the lowest paid sector in the work force, despite being one of the largest.   Read more »

Jobs, jobs, jobs

A member of the Ground Crew reports in:

Hi

I was driving back from Hawkes Bay today and saw this on the Takapau Plains. Silver Fern Farms meat processing plant seem desperate for people to work.

Central Hawkes Bay would be as cheap as chips to live in with low rents.

Buying a house might even be affordable for the dear souls in AKL. Even Petrol ($2.09.9 verses $2.23.9 in WLG) is cheaper.   Read more »

Face of the day

Laila Harre

Laila Harre

I watched 3rd Degree last night where three of Dotcom’s ex employees were interviewed.

It was a shocker.
I wonder if Laila Harre was watching and how deep in denial she actually is. Remember Laila is pro union and pro workers rights. She doesn’t believe in a class system as we are all equal. She would never call anyone SIR for example.

Read more »

Oh dear. This won’t go down well in the War Room

The Household Labour Force Survey results are out:

werwe

More people are working and unemployment has fallen to 5.6 percent according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. Read more »

Labour relaunches their Hobbit Hater policy

Labour has re-launched their Hobbit Hater policy at the behest of the unions, proving that their investment in purchasing David Cunliffe and the 20% vote for the leadership has provided a cash for policy arrangement that is giving their leaders sticky knickers.

The Labour Party wants to repeal the law changes that were ceded to Warner Bros over The Hobbit films, a move which the Government says would cripple the $3 billion screen industry.

Labour leader David Cunliffe and MP Andrew Little launched the party’s work and wages policy yesterday, which included a boost to the minimum wage, and a commission of inquiry into workplace conditions.

Here’s an idea…why don;t they just declare a wages crisis, and in short order National will fix the problem. Seems to have worked for manufacturing and housing…it’s worth a crack.

So Labour wants to kill off the film industry in NZ, Dotcom’s party just wants to steal it, and the Greens want to destroy the oil and gas industry.

They really are the wrecking ball of the NZ economy.

But wait it gets worse…Labour also wants to kill jobs.  Read more »

Fenton wrong on contract labour

Darien Fenton has gone out to the media attacking modern work practices:

Employers are increasingly using temporary or contract staff in place of permanent positions, according to a new report.

Labour says that’s bad news because the workers have no rights and no defence against arbitrary dismissal.

MP Darien Fenton is citing a report by recruitment agency Hays which says 64 per cent of employers now use temporary or contract staff.

And 18 per cent say they intend increasing their use of those staff.

“Contractors have no employment rights at all, including no minimum wage, no holidays and no rights to protection against unfair dismissal,” Ms Fenton said.

“At its worst, temporary workers are used to replace good, well-paying jobs with agencies who employ workers on minimum wage to do essentially the same work as those they work alongside.”

Ms Fenton says even more disturbing is that some employers admitted using temporary and contract work as a means to assess ongoing employment.

“The 90-day trial period was supposed to provide a way for evaluating suitability of employment, yet employers are continuing to dream up new devices to avoid the obligations of employment law and put the risk back on workers,” she said. Read more »

Survey: 59% of bosses battling to fill jobs

“I know”, says David Cunliffe, leader of the NZ Labour Party, “I have a brilliant idea to solve the Auckland housing shortage.  Let’s cut immigration from 40,000 down to 5,000″.

James Ihaka shows why this is another Labour policy that crumbles within 48 hours of having been made up on the hoof

New Zealand ranks seventh among the top 10 countries that are having problems finding highly skilled staff, thanks largely to the Christchurch rebuild and construction and infrastructure developments in Auckland, a survey shows.

The figure is up from 48 per cent in 2012 and 51 per cent last year.

The survey of more than 650 Kiwi employers found engineers are the most in-demand employees followed by those in skilled trades.

Accounting and finance staff came in third, ahead of management and executive positions as the fourth most in demand.

Matt Love-Smith, general manager of Manpower Group New Zealand, said despite the country having an unemployment rate of 6 per cent, employers were battling to find highly skilled staff.

We need capable, high skilled migrants.  We need people to help run our country, generate GDP and contribute to the tax take.    Read more »