Tony Alexander, in his latest newsletter, hasÂ 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 keepÂ an eye on. These included growing wealth inequality and employers exploiting staff. Perhaps this latterÂ thread is one of the motivating factors behind the new Leader of the Oppositionâ€™s announcement that he willÂ set up a two year â€śFuture of Work Commissionâ€ť. The intention is that this project will examine changes in theÂ 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 leadÂ 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 andÂ employees. But more than that whole new industries and jobs have appeared, there is more casualisationÂ and contracting, and a generation of people have come through the education system and entered theÂ workforce with minimal awareness of what unions can offer them. And that union movement suffers greatlyÂ from being associated with exactly that â€“ a politically motivated always Labour-supporting â€śmovementâ€ť ratherÂ than true representation of employee concerns.
These are early days for the re-elected National government and early days for the latest Labour PartyÂ leader, so the thrust of changes in the employee-employer relationship for the next three years is still likelyÂ to be in the direction of further empowering the former. But employers should keep an eye on the buildingÂ undercurrent of discontent among the working poor in particular, what the Aussies call the â€śbattlersâ€ť, andÂ where possible seek input into the new Commission.