Roll up, roll up and put your hand up for more money!

It’s a circus with so many people demanding more pay, they must think that this government is a soft touch.

We are witnesses to the largest number of people involved in strikes that this country has seen. Quote.

The waterfront dispute of 1951 was the biggest industrial confrontation in New Zealand’s history. Although it was not as violent as the Great Strike of 1913, it lasted longer – 151 days, from February to July – and involved more workers. At its peak, 22,000 waterside workers (wharfies) and other unionists were off the job, out of the country’s population of just under two million. End of quote.

It ended in the Watersiders conceding defeat.

This week more than 30,000 nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives walked off the job for 24 hours, a first for them in nearly 30 years.

Last week nearly 4,000 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Mbie) employees walked off the job, virtually shutting down the tax department.

Before that, it was Auckland bus drivers, and nationwide cinema workers and Wendy’s employees.

Next month 27,000 primary school teachers have promised a half-day strike.

There is no end in sight to the industrial disruption to a government that is such an easy target.

Winston says there is no more money to put on the table, quote:

“The Government is sympathetic to nurses but has no more money in its kitty to improve its pay offer…

“It is not an either or situation. We have to make that investment in our defence and our security, our protection of our maritime assets, our fishing assets, and a whole lot of other things to do with our future, and we have no extra money for the nurses, it’s not either or situation they’re part of a holistic picture of money that has to be spent, and we’d like more but we haven’t got it.” End of quote.

There is money available but the government doesn’t want to spend it on wages and salaries.

Historically, strike action has not yielded employees what they want, and it costs in lost production to boot.

In the eleven years between 2005 and 2016 the cost calculated in lost manpower days in wages and salaries is estimated at around $30 million  What about the cost of lost productivity in the last six months and going forward?  Could it be in the billions?


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The subject evoked in the collage is the debating of political issues with friends in a public place

Pablo Picasso
Glass and bottle of Suze (after 18 November 1912)
pasted paper, gouache and charcoal

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