Biting the Hand that Feeds

Jami-lee Ross is scathing about the actions of the Maritime Union to attempt to destroy the Ports of Auckland:

This isn’t a story of a greedy corporate hammering the little guy. This isn’t a story of a David versus Goliath battle where workers are being ripped off or paid a pittance. Few could call poverty on an average annual wage for a wharfie understood to be north of $90,000, with a proposed 10 percent hourly rate increase and performance bonuses of up to 20 percent, sitting on the table. To the average person on the street, the latest Ports of Auckland offer to the Union would almost seem generous.

This is in fact a story of the Maritime Union biting the hand that feeds them. It is a story of industrial action that, if left to go on much longer, could have disastrous consequences for the Ports of Auckland.

As we now know the amount Ports workers are paid is now beyond dispute.

For commercial users, it is a simple matter of certainty and continuity Union action, and the threat of further strikes, have put a serious dent in the Ports of Auckland’s ability to provide their bread and butter services Customers are now voting with their feet. The value of Ports of Auckland and the value of the investment that every Aucklander has in the company will continue to suffer if resolution to this matter is not swift.

Aucklanders can rightly be concerned at the increasingly rogue nature of the Maritime Union. However there are 500 men and women that work at the Port with even more skin in the game and a lot more to lose. The trade union movement evolved through a desire for workers to band together to protect their common interests. This is not a dishonourable goal. But when a union loses sight of its members long term interests and cavalier negotiating tactics start to backfire, the union itself begins putting its own member’s livelihoods at risk.

This is exactly what I was saying this morning in my post about union dues:

Unions still occupy a privileged position in New Zealand’s employment law; a relic of the last Labour administration which has not seen significant overhaul for some years. Few non-government organisations can boast clauses in legislation specifically designed for their benefit. Despite only 18 percent of the nation’s workforce being unionised, trade unions can look to whole sections of the Employment Relations Act written exclusively to aid union survival through legislative advantage.

Up until recently, cool heads and rational people sitting around negotiating tables have meant that little focus has been placed on the role that unions play in society. However, with the bare-faced mockery that the Maritime Union is making of civilised negotiations New Zealanders will soon begin to question what position unions should hold in the modern Kiwi workplace.

As the fight for Auckland’s waterfront reaches the tipping point, for ratepayers and workers alike this present stand off must come to an end. The city’s $600 million port investment and worker’s jobs are now on the line. Also on the line is the country’s acceptance of the role of trade unions. It can not be tolerable or acceptable for a union to demonstrate continued disregard for the economic consequences of their actions.

I would hope that Jami-lee Ross is going to put words into action and draft up some private member’s amendments to employment law that address the issues he has raised.

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  • the point is still being slightly missed

    the main beef of the union is that workers may lose up to 35% of their hours – a 10% wage rise won’t offset that…

    • Thorn

      The willingness of the customer to pay for goods and services is the sole determinant of job security. How can any employer guarantee jobs?

    • Not quite Jazrod. I think that the main beef of the union is the fear that its members are going to have to actually work all the hours for which they receive payment.

      • eventually

        the reduced hours will be shared around the labour pool

        then that – like the obese public service – can be reduced via job performance

        then voila, no dead weight…

    • Boo-fucking-hoo, dry your eyes, times change.

      • i wasn’t crying about it

        just pointing out the details

        i’m about as union as the pope is jewish

        but you got there in the end – times do change…

      • Jassen

        A great quote I saw yesterday …….

        “You can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”

  • Adolf Fiinkensein

    He could start with legislating for secret ballots for strike action and/or appointment of union officials.

    He could also legislate for union bosses to lose their salaries for the duration of strike action.

  • Catwoman

    Agree totally with Jamie-lee.  It is time MUNZ lost its power.

  • Alastair

    So the wharfies are getting paid fairly well. I am not sure that that justifies breaking the union through hard line industrial relations.

    However leaving that issue aside altogether. How is the politics of envy ok when it is used to denigrate wharfies but not ok when used to critcise excessive corporate salaries and tax cuts for the rich?

    • Tony

      Alastair – get it right mate. Everybody got tax cuts. Those who contribute more got more back, that’s all. It wasn’t tax cuts ‘for the rich’. Those that contribute more got more OF THEIR OWN MONEY back.

      A TAX PARABLE    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
      The fifth would pay $1.
      The sixth would pay $3.
      The seventh would pay $7.
      The eighth would pay $12.
      The ninth would pay $18.
      The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
      So, that’s what they decided to do.
      The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.”Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
      The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men — the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
      The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
      The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
      The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
      The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
      The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
      The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
      Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”
      “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too.
      It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”
      “That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
      “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”
      The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
      And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
      For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
      Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.”Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men — the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings). The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings). Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!” “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!” “That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!” “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!” The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill! And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier. For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

      • Agent BallSack

        Awesome comparison! However, now I am thirsty.

      • WHOA text spam wall of mega proportions, but great comparison and now for that 4th beer :P

      • EX Navy Greg

        Excellent. I need a beer now : )

    • Agent BallSack

      I think most people disagree with corporate salaries like the ones a very small minority receive. But – if those people are the best people for the job, they should be paid a comparable salary to those in other countries. Such as Theresa Gattung.

  • Masph984

    Cameron – the first sentence of your post displays all the grammatical nous of a Baboon. Try using the following website in the future: http://www.grammarly.com/?q=grammar&gclid=CMrw4Y2cx60CFQYdpAodFRbWgQ  

    • joe bloggs

      Isaiah 5:21 – ignorant prick

      • Masph984

        I never claimed to be myself to be clever. I said that Cameron’s grammar sucks, that’s all.

    • How about fuck off and don’t let the door hit you int he arse on the way out.

      • Masph984

        ohhhh – “i am angry” what a persuasive argument Cameron. Seriously, James Sleep could do better than that.

  • Masph984

    Tony – what you failed to mention is that the 10th dude was born in to wealth and sodomised the others with a pistol every day of their lives.

    • Agent BallSack

      Trolls are boring. Fuck off Masturbator

    • Ratchet

      That would have to be the weakest attempt at trolling I have ever seen. Nothing clever, nothing inflammatory, just a vague attempt at trying to be relevant.

      -10 internets for you!

      • I don’t do gay ass things like demerits, i just block the fools, end of story.

    • Tony

      But he contributed more – much like the comparasion between my contribution to the debate and yours…………

  • Masph984

    Go slap up against Whaleoil’s backside Ballsack.

    • How Unbecoming for someone who rattles the Bible off although wrongly by the seems of it.
      Then again I expected nothing entirely from something like you.

      • Masph984

        Actually the bible is somewhat ambivalent when it comes to sodomy.

        • Spoken like a practitioner and aficionado

      • Agent BallSack

        As is Masph984

    • Running risks now…watch it.

      • Masph984

        Running risks? I thought this asylum was a free-for-all. What gives?

      • It might be a free for all but I set the rules, I enforce the rules and if you piss me off there won;t be anything like demerits or warnings you will just cease to comment, forever….the choice is yours, contribute sensibly or fuck off.

      • Anonymous

        No loss Whaleoil, he doesnt contribute with any decent debate anyway, better to flush the shit than let it stagnate and stink the whole house out.

    • Agent BallSack

      Vaguely amusing. As you may have guessed I’m not too bothered about being called names, I called myself BallSack after all. Nice try, are you GhostWhoWalksNZ’s lovechild perchance?

  • Euan Rt

    And you just prove the truth of the parable  –  “for those who do not understand, no explanation is possible”.Go back to the dole queue. You are lucky that some rich people still live here to pay for your bread.

    • Masph984

      “for those who do not understand, no explanation is possible”. I could say that about anyone who voted National. That you don’t recognise your own subjectivity reveals your stupidity.

      • Tony

        Honestly – that appears to be an empty slogan, mate

      • Anonymous

        probably an ideal time to trot off back to your stable, you’ll gain about as much traction here as a car with bald tires on a frozen lake.

        Usual leftist post-defeat policy: when all else fails, troll.

        Unfortunately you’ve show your knowledge to extend as far as 1)googling bible scriptures 2) trolling 3) sodomy 4) pointing out petty grammatical errors.

        this is not the first time you mentioned sodomy, your knowledge on the subject is frighteningly disturbing, you should really move to right, you’re picking up bad habits over the other side.

  • ABS, you wit never ceases to amaze me =)   For Masph I should give him, her, it, whatever the Bullshit Speech I gave to kosh followed up by the Penny for ones Bright thoughts oxymoron.

    Then again this bottle of beer in front of me is going to be more productive than what masph984 utters ever

  • Masph984

    Oh boo fucking hoo Ben. In case you hadn’t noticed, this place isn’t exactly bursting with literary talent. If you think your comments exemplify any sort of exception you’re sadly mistaken.

    • BD

      Your not exactly coming across as Shakespeare yourself

  • Back to the topic at hand, Jami-Lee’s post reminds me of the negotiations between the union I belong to and the company I work for. I recall a vote was called for to accept the new agreement with a above the rate of inflation pay rise (so a “real” pay rise) and working parties to sort the “shit” out, or go on strike and try to get more with the RWC coming up.

    Needless to say cool heads prevailed and the majority (by a fair amount) agreed to the new agreement rather than “biting the hand that feeds it.”

    Maybe my MUNZ “brothers and sisters” should follow? 

    • Agent BallSack

      The main point is anyone who wears their Union Badge like its a VC is a seriously vacuous one dimensional fool who toes the 1934 party line. As Cameron points out and I agree with – Ballots should be secret and without fear of thuggish fuckwit intimidation.

      • Agreed ABS, agreed.
        I was just pointing out there is some sanity out there in the lot do who belong to unions.
        BTW I do not wear the “union badge” on my sleeve, its on a card in my wallet and only used when I go voting. 

      • Ben I had one of those cards when I worked for a Bank and union membership was compulsory. They were bloody useful for clearing ice off the windscreen.

        Then i found out you could go tot eh district court and apply for an exemption to join a union on political grounds and so I did. I was issued with an exemption card valid for life. I promptly resigned the union and never looked back.

  • Big Bruv

    I still struggle to take anything Jamie Lee Ross says seriously. While I agree with his message I cannot stand that a kid who has never had a real job in his life thinks he is qualified to wade into this battle.
    Just how much better an MP could Ross have been if he had gone into the real world for a couple of years before getting his nose stuck in the trough.

    • Ratchet

      One could also apply that comment to a large number of Labour MPs….

      • Big Bruv

        Ratchet.

        Of course that applies to a lot of Labour (and Green) MP’s and we on the right must keep highlighting that anybody who has no practical experience of the real world is wholly unsuited to life as an MP.
        However, that does not mean we should be hypocritical. Ross is not qualified (in real life terms) to be an MP, all he has shown so far is that he is a serial trougher always on the look out for a better paying gig.

  • Masph984

    Meanwhile, in news that actually matters…..

     “First up, this shockingly huge $196 billion lawsuit just filed against
    17 major banks on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bank of America
    is severely exposed in this lawsuit. As the parent company of
    Countrywide and Merrill Lynch they are on the hook for $57.4 billion. JP
    Morgan is next in the line of fire with $33 billion. And many death
    spiraling European banks are facing billions in losses as well.”

    http://wakeup-world.com/2011/09/06/full-blown-civil-war-erupts-on-wall-street-financial-elite-start-turning-on-each-other/

    • Agent BallSack

      Stand to lose some serious coin on bad investments do you?

      • Anonymous

        Meanwhile, the give-a-shit meter in this blog remains at 0.

  • Super Guest

    Don’t ban Masph, that’s what they do on the Standard, we on the right always value freedom of speech, regardless of how dumb the speaker is. Unlike Red Alert and The Standard, we don’t silence dissenting views like a Soviet cop. Masph is free to be a socialist peasant, the rest of us can work for a living and do our best to provide for our families without relying on the government taking money from the most industrious to subsidise our failures.

    • Agent BallSack

      I’m a firm believer in give a fool a soap box, sooner or later he’ll hang himself from his own petard.

      • Gary

        (Hey ABS – the expression is to hoist oneself by one’s petard!) According to Shakespeare anyway :)

      • Agent BallSack

        I’m avoiding nautical terms for legal reasons.

      • He has hung himself. His blatant trolling tried my patience once too often.

        His anti-christian stance and the googling of bible verses to suit his purpose in particular just plain annoyed me

  • ConwayCaptain

    I would agree wit the comment about Jainie Lee’s experience or lack of it out in the work force.

    This is now an all too common factor in the CVs of younger MPs not just here but o’seas.

    What real experinec in the work force have Cameron Miliband had????  Jacinta Ardern the show pony of Labour and many others.

    At least in earlier times people came into Parliament with experience from other walks of life.

    • Roger

      I agree. I reckon that it should be written into law that to become an MP you have to have X years real job experience (i.e. actually working in a proper job, none if this “i worked as an activist nonsense); and that those years of experience have to be within a certain time frame (so stop this other nonsense of someone only having been a politician for the last 40 years)

  • Jam_Sammie

    Masph984 has delusions of adequacy.

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