industrial relations

Since it is Labour day, let’s slay some union myths

Rodney Hide did it yesterday in the herald on Sunday, but since it is Labour day let’s look at the myth of the 8 hour working day the unions claim as their great achievement.

[Today] is Labour Day. Once again we will endure the annual claptrap that unions are great and won for us the eight-hour day. Without unions we would be working 24/7. It’s nonsense.

The Labour Day bunk dates from the start of European settlement. Carpenter Samuel Parnell arrived at what we now call Petone aboard the Duke of Roxburgh.

The Duke was just the third migrant ship to Wellington. Parnell was newly married, 30 years old and had travelled from London in search of a better life.

He found it.

On-board was shipping agent George Hunter, who asked Parnell to build him a store. Parnell agreed but on the condition that he work only eight hours a day. Hunter wasn’t happy. Eight-hour days weren’t the custom in London, but he had little choice: there were only three carpenters in Wellington.

Hence was born the eight-hour day. The practice caught on. For more than 100 years we have celebrated the eight-hour day as a victory for trade unionism. We know it as Labour Day which, on the fourth Monday of every October, is a public holiday.

We hear every year of the union movement’s long, hard struggle. It wasn’t easy winning the eight-hour day, we are repetitively told.

Without unions, greedy employers would have us working every hour, every day.

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 »

Minimum wages don’t work in alleviating poverty

Hat tip Lindsay Mitchell

A new study shows that the minimum wage as a means to alleviating poverty is a fallacy.

Minimum wages are poorly targeted to those actually in need, says Joseph Sabia, an associate professor of economics at San Diego State University.

  • Sabia’s own research has found no evidence that increasing the minimum wage reduces poverty, even among less-educated single mothers, who are specifically targeted by these policies.
  • Research by David Neumark and William Wascher found that while some poor workers that kept their jobs after the wage increase were lifted from poverty, others lost their jobs and fell into poverty. The Neumark and Wascher findings indicate that wage increases only redistribute income between poor and near-poor households.
  • Some in favor of wage increases have said that the poor record of wage increases on alleviating poverty is simply because poverty is an imperfect way of measuring the economic well-being of low-income households. As such, Sabia and Robert Nielson of the University of Georgia studied whether wages were effective in reducing alternate measures of well-being, finding no evidence that higher minimum wages helped people pay rent, pay utility bills on time, avoid financial or health insecurity, or make ends meet in other ways.? Read more »

Rare as hen?s teeth this sort of union boss

Who would have thought you’d ever hear a union boss face reality…and even speak up about it.

Rapacious unions and stupid subsidies have seen the end of Holden and Ford manufacturing in Australia, while rampant union corruption is a festering sore in many states.

One of Australia’s most senior union officials has criticised the industrial relations system for “dragging Australia down” and fired a broadside at “criminals” who betrayed the union movement and hijacked its agenda.

Australian Workers Union chief Paul Howes has called for a “grand compact” between business and unions to take the heat out of the industrial relations debate and admitted wages in some sectors had increased too quickly.

The speech was declared a “disgrace” by the Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, who said the AWU leader was “giving ammunition to Tony Abbott’s attack on Australian wages” and should resign his post.

Mr Howes warned the resources boom was now over and that Australia faced a jobs crisis, with 130,000 losses since the global financial crisis and “tens of thousands more lie just around the corner”.

Mr Howes urged his comrades in the union movement to concede there had been a pattern of unsustainable wages growth in some sectors of the economy, adding “we could be pricing ourselves out of the market”. ? Read more »

The Living Wage kills jobs

The left wing are pushing hard for what they call the Living Wage, which is really just a number decided arbitrarily by the Rev. Charles Waldegrave.

There is no evidence generally to support the contention that it works or even helps. But evidence is starting to mount that the so-called Living Wage is death to jobs?and ineffective in alleviating poverty, which is the main driver behind it.

A new report from the Fraser Institute argues that municipal laws intended to boost the wages of poorer workers threaten job prospects for the very people most likely to face poverty.

In its survey of scholarly studies, released Tuesday, the market-oriented think-tank concludes laws mandating what are called ?living wages? ? generally defined as the minimum earnings that allow full-time workers to meet the basic needs of their families and reach past low-income-tax thresholds ? do little to help the most vulnerable workers.

?Both economic theory and the evidence suggest that living wages, like minimum wages, create distortions in the labour market that have a negative impact on employment,? wrote author Charles Lammam.

Faced with having to pay higher wages, employers push back by reducing overall employment, favouring more highly skilled workers and cutting back on hours and training, the report found. It cited U.S. research that showed a 100% increase in living wages, to $20 an hour from $10 an hour, reduced employment among low-skilled workers by between 12 and 17%.

?Indeed, there is a trade-off between the workers who benefit from a higher wage and those who endure the costs due to fewer employment opportunities,? Mr. Lammam wrote.? Read more »

An open letter to David Cunliffe

Mike Clement has written an open letter to David Cunliffe on his Facebook page…I’m not expecting any sort of answer from Cunliffe, other than weasel words and platitudes. More likely is the letter will be quietly deleted and ignored along with the comments it is attracting.

It will be interesting to see if he can speak to people other than union flunkies.

Mr Cunliffe,

I listen with great skepticism when I hear yourself or any of your fellow MP’s talk about a living wage, and how you care a great deal about those workers earning minimum wage or very near it. All this while you earn in excess of $100,000 a year.

If you really do care and believe in this living wage and the workers in Parliament who clean your toilets here is an idea:? Read more »

We need less civil servants, not the same number paid more

In what has become typical of Labour in the last 15 years, they have wanted to look after the state sector unionised workers before anyone else. I guess it makes logical sense when the vast majority of your support comes from affiliated unions…and the PSA is one of your recruiting grounds.

David Cunliffe has much to owe to the unions for supporting his leadership bid and now it is pay back with him promising $10,000 pay rises for the lowest paid civil servants.

The Government’s lowest-paid workers are being promised a $10,000-a-year pay rise under a Labour government.

However, the expected cost to the taxpayer of its proposed living wage remains unclear, with Labour claiming extending it to the core public service would cost $30 million a year and National putting it at $68m.

David Cunliffe reiterated his commitment to the wage yesterday and used one of his first major speeches as Labour leader to outline his vision for his first 100 days in government, if elected next year. ? Read more »

Living Wage looks like a dead duck

The living wage proposals of Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe are not proving popular.?

Prime Minister John Key has scoffed at proposals by?Labour’s leadership contenders to introduce a living wage.

Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson promised to introduce the $18.40-an-hour salary for government workers. New Lynn David Cunliffe wants to work towards the living wage for every worker.

List MP Shane Jones also pledged to regulate supermarkets to bring down the cost of food.

All three men are vying to be Labour’s leader and put forward the proposals at a series of campaign meetings over the weekend.

Key today dismissed their ideas as unworkable and “unbelievable”.? Read more »

Show Me the Money Redux, can’t hardly wait

The Labour Leadership race seems to be a bidding war between the candidates with no costings and no idea of how to pay for their promises.

The pork barrels have been rolled out in the Labour Party leadership battle, with Grant Robertson promising to introduce a “living wage” of more than $18 an hour for all government workers.

He told 350 party members and unionists in Levin yesterday that he would set a timeframe to phase in the living wage, which is currently set at $18.40 an hour for a family to live without suffering poverty.

He also pledged to lift the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.? Read more »

Spending like drunken sailors

The 3 Labour contenders are promising massive spending, borrowing and cost increases on the nation as they out do each other for the hard left and union votes.

The pork barrels have been rolled out in the Labour Party leadership battle, with Grant Robertson promising to introduce a “living wage” of more than $18 an hour for all government workers.

He told 350 party members and unionists in Levin yesterday that he would set a timeframe to phase in the living wage, which is currently set at $18.40 an hour for a family to live without suffering poverty.

He also pledged to lift the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and repeal all of National’s industrial relations laws.? Read more »