Comrade Kate

MBIE shows BSC they’re in charge of Government procurement now

Yesterday?s post about the?ongoing saga that is the cartel-like BSC?got me thinking about government departments.

Some government departments move at a glacial pace, hoping for a Minister they can ?manage? vs being told what to do – Comrade Kate was a classic example of a Minister captured by her Department of Labour officials.

Debate about whether Simon Bridges is captured by these officials, isn?t being helped by his frequent meetings with the SFWU.

This is all relevant because sources in Wellington tell me MBIE has grown increasingly frustrated with the ex-Department of Labour officials and their efforts to protect union rorts (i.e. the BSC).

See the Building Service Contractors New Zealand tuck companies (those that are stupid enough to be members) out of $20k a year because they have a strangle-hold over anyone getting a government contract.?Rodney Hide exposed them in the NBR.

The Department of Labour was happy with this jack-up because it was signed by their beloved Labour party patrons. They weren?t happy when Joyce merged them into MBIE.

They also didn?t like Joyce?s move to treat all suppliers equally, by way of the Principles of Government Procurement.? Read more »

Rodney Hide on rorts in Government tendering

Rodney Hide had an article published in NBR about the nice cosy rort that exists in?the?cleaning industry after a stitch up between the SWFU and the former Labour government.

The previous Labour government also bought support in other subtle and not so obvious ways.

There is an outfit called the Building Service Contractors Association of New Zealand (Inc). I had never heard of it until recently. The BSC is a trade association and illustrates how governments shore up support in ways that stay off the books.

In 2008 the government took the lead in supporting ?socially responsible and ethical practices?. I kid you not. The minister responsible was Trevor Mallard. Again, I kid you not.

The result was a deal called the ?Principles for a Sustainable Property Services Industry.? The signatories were the New Zealand government, the BSC, the Service and Food Workers Union and the Property Council of New Zealand.

Quite why the Property Council would ever sign up to such a thing, and whether its members bother to comply, is a mystery to me.

The agreement is ostensibly about ethical standards, looking after the union and caring for the environment. But the kicker is the signatories agree only to use members of the BSC.

That?s right. The government has kicked a nice little earner to the BSC because only its members can get government work. There?s no need to look after members ? the government does that for them.

So who is the BSC? Its membership is made up of only 50-odd of the more than 6000 businesses operating within the cleaning industry.

It?s not a representative trade organisation. Worse, members are precluded from voting for officers of the organisation or on the fee structure.

Now this is where things get very interesting…When the government was supposedly seeking feedback from the industry with respect to amending Part 6A.

One of the excuses that Kate Wilkinson, the former labour minister would use was that ?the “representative trade organisation” was in support of this initiative.

This was her main obstacle she would throw in the way of anyone wanting to talk with her about removal of Part 6A. Worse than that she claimed that she had extensively met with?”representative trade organisations” in relation to Part 6A.

We already know that she lied about her engagement with Crest over Part 6A. I wonder if she also lied about the extensive consultations with?”representative trade organisations“.

My on sources inside National say that she was adamant on this issue…but one wonders why Comrade Kate Wilkinson would die in a ditch for the SFWU and a cosy little rorting arrangement with dodgy Labour flunkies…I just don’t get it.

Perhaps Comrade Kate was simply captured by her officials on the issue.

More to come on this…

Pressure on Comrade Kate

Comrade Kate is facing increased pressure to do a proper resignation, from all her positions:

Praise for Kate Wilkinson’s decision to quit as labour minister over the Pike River disaster has quickly turned sour, with pressure building on her to resign from the Cabinet altogether.

Within minutes of the publication of findings by a royal commission that the Labour Department contributed to the deaths of 29 miners by not closing down unsafe operations at Pike River, the MP for Waimakariri fell on her sword.

After initial admiration from West Coast-based Opposition MPs, questions were raised yesterday about why she remained in the Cabinet on a $250,000-plus salary.

Before publishing the commission’s report, the Government spent six days trawling through paperwork before Prime Minister John Key announced that none of Ms Wilkinson’s “actions or inactions” made her “culpable”.

But yesterday Labour’s industrial relations spokeswoman, Darien Fenton, called for her to step down from her remaining portfolios which include conservation.

Asked yesterday if she was going to resign from the Cabinet, an emotional Ms Wilkinson replied: “What else have I . . . what have I done wrong?”

Well there is quite long list on that…especially in Conservation, but that is for another day.

The problem Labour has in pushing for her total resignation (hey are bitter that she stole their thunder) is twofold. First, if she had to quit all posts then there really is no real reason to stick around and so would probably throw her toys and quit?parliament?altogether forcing a by-election which National would lose, thus ending the government. Second, the focus would then also be drawn to forcing Labour’s responsible former ministers to likewise quit.

Fortunately for Kate Wilkinson she has the double insulation of those reasons protecting her from too much pressure.

Diary of Comrade Kate, Ctd

Started off a good day. Side stepped that obnoxious little prick Finlayson in the lift and left him with a silent, smelly one. Heard the next people into the lift laugh at him. Serves him right he really is so full of himself.

Got bailed up by some self important little twerp about union funding of the Labour not being in my law changes. Got sick of him, asked him who the hell he thought he was, and apparently he is the Member for Coromandel and I have met him before. Rang the Chief of Staff and told him to make these newbies wear name tags.

Then got yelled at by the boss because I told some tory paper about that awful prick from Crest who never submitted on Part 6A. The smary lowlife apparently kept a letter from two years ago and leaked it to that blogger who has been reading my diary.

Good old fashioned sausage with tomato sauce in white bread for lunch, reminds me of so many picket lines I have been on in the past.

Will buy some fireworks from the workers shop to celebrate Guy Fawkes trying to blow up parliament on behalf of the workers

Comrade Kate caught out lying

Here we have Comrade Kate caught out lying ? must be time to blame one of her staff.

Ms Wilkinson said Crest’s claims were “ludicrous” because it failed to make a submission during the consultation process in 2010.

“I don’t rate the opinions of Mr McLauchlan. He could have just knocked on my door to discuss his concerns.

“Instead he chose to have a personal attack which shows the calibre of the man.”

Really Minister? …

[Response Kate Wilkinson to Crest 21 Jan 2010, pdf 135kb]

Comrade Kate has been caught dead to rights on this, she even acknowledged his submission in a letter.

There really is no comeback for a Minister who tells lies to the media. Helen Clark sacked one, perhaps John Key should too.


Diary of Comrade Kate, Ctd

Better day. Got an angry phone call from those morons at Crest saying my changes to Section 6A don?t change anything for them. Foolish, money grabbing capitalists failed to get the message and put red underpants on their heads so I am damned if I will sort out their problems.

A bit jaded after the sing a long with Helen, Ken, Andrew, Darien and Sue. Poor Darien was so upset, she had to tell the media I was a bad minister and she was in tears when she apologised to me. We sang a rousing version of Solidarity Forever and Darien cheered up a bit. Her nails looked a bit ratty though, I think the lack of a shed fund is really hurting all our comrades.

Can’t get a decent custard square in this place. Todays made me feel a bit squeamish.

Diary of Comrade Kate, Ctd

Really, really bad day. Those nineteen bloody tories made me sell out on my comrades in the unions after four years of solid doing nothing without them realising it. The only good side is it won’t lower union membership numbers so I will still keep my record as the world?s leading Minister of Labour.

Had to call Helen to arrange a quick nail session, but it is costing me a fortune now Helen doesn?t have her shed fund. Or her Local 13 fund. Am so upset have invited a few close friends back to the ministerial apartment for a sing a long and a few wines. You find out who your friends are in times of need, so it is great that Helen, Ken, Andrew, Darien and Sue all agreed. How I wish these bloody tories weren?t so uncaring for the workers.

Sausage roll for lunch. Told SPS off for providing gourmet sauce not unionised sauce made by Watties.

A good start

Comrade Kate has?announced?changes to Part 6A have been approved by cabinet. They are what I would?describe?as a good start if somewhat timid.

The left wing will of course commence wailing and gnashing of teeth in response.

Cabinet has agreed to further improvements to the Employment Relations Act 2000, including changes to Part 6A that deals with the cleaning, catering, orderly and laundry industries, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said today.

The objective of Part 6A is to provide continuity of employment for employees in specific industries when a business is restructured or sold.

?A review of Part 6A found that there were significant operational issues around transferring employees? entitlements and information to the new employer,? Ms Wilkinson says.

?Proposed amendments will fix these issues and provide more certainty and clarity for employers while at the same time protecting key benefits for affected employees.

In addition, the review found that while larger businesses had been able to adapt better to the requirements of Part 6A, small and medium sized businesses faced greater proportional costs.

?For example, a husband and wife cleaning team who tender and win a small contract may be currently required to take on any staff doing the work under the previous contract owner.

?That?s why Cabinet has also agreed to exempt small and medium businesses ? those with fewer than 20 employees ? from the provisions of Part 6A where the SME is the incoming employer.?

Employees in small and medium enterprises account for approximately a quarter of those in affected industries.

Once could argue that if it is good enough for a quarter of businesses then it is good enough for all of them. Other changes announced are:

  • A return to the original position in the Employment Relations Act where the duty of good faith does not require the parties to conclude a collective agreement.
  • Empowering the Employment Relations Authority to declare in certain circumstances that collective bargaining has ended.
  • Allowing employers to opt out of multi-employer bargaining.
  • Allowing for partial pay reductions in cases of partial strike action.
  • Removing the 30-day rule that forces non-union members to take union terms and conditions.
  • Changes around the disclosure of personal information following Employment Court judgments involving Massey University.

About time

Cabinet is finally considering some Labour law changes. I sincerely hope that they dont listen to Kate Wilkinson’s claims that the “industry” wants the retention of Section 6A…it could get very embarrassing.

The cosy relationship between the SFWU and the BSC needs some sunlight. Kate Wilkinson claims she has consulted with industry yet records show that the BSC has only met the minister on just a few?occasions. meanwhile investigations into the BSC and their financial accounts show that they may well be operating in a manner not unlike the Maritime Union and Meatworkers Union, failing to consolidate their operations up.

Section 6a is a travesty and should be repealed. The cosy rort between Labour, the unions and the BSC will be exposed.

Cabinet will today consider controversial changes to labour laws including the future of a provision protecting vulnerable workers when their work is job is restructured.

Under proposals signalled by Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson in May, the legislation is expected to include allowing employers to walk away from collective bargaining, opt out of multi-employer negotiations, deduct the pay of partially striking workers and initiate collective bargaining.

Workers will be able to ask for flexible work arrangements without having to wait until they have been employed for six months.

Labour claims the changes will drive down wages.

It is understood the legislation being considered today will also include the Government’s response to a review of Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act.

The provision, introduced by the former Labour government, provides ”continuity of employment” for groups of low-paid employees such as cleaners when a business is restructured. It prevents workers having their pay and conditions reduced for the same job, or being replaced by cheaper contractors.

Labour’s industrial relations spokeswoman Darien Fenton said she was concerned the Government would limit the provision to large workplaces.

Diary of Comrade Kate, Ctd

That odious little prick Finlayson sledged me in the lifts today, asked me how I liked being poster girl for The Standard. I wish he had better manners, he is such an uncouth little man, I mean I have seen more class on a picket line at a wharf. I near as dammit told him I would take him to the next Maritime Workers protest so he could learn some manners.

Had a pleasant coffee with Darien which cheered me up no end. She tells me there is no one on the right who has ever been as good for unions as me, and of course she is right but it is always nice to be told. Nails with Helen were so good, she has had her shed fund taken, then her Local 13 fund taken and has had to cut back in many areas. She?s got a few split ends, I might have to take her to that nice unionised salon in Thorndon to cheer her up.