Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Ideology for Evidence

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  • Danielle,

    1. I give props to Giovanni for the Blams reference. (He's originally from Italy, you know. I don't think that's been mentioned before.)

    2.

    this is actually a good thing for employees, since if you're in a situation where your employer wants to get rid of you, then summary sacking might be just the incentive you need to get on and find something more suitable

    Someone I know actually said this to me once, during a conversation about him being forced to fire people. You'll say anything to live with yourself after having to do that, I suppose.

    3.

    managers are pretty average and are not stepping up to the responsibilities of improving performance

    Dear lord, deliver us from gung-ho management types.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3669 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Healy,

    It's not the good burghers of Public Address who need protection from unscrupulous employers, given that the average PASer appears to be intelligent, skilled, eloquent, and generally able to approach an employment relationship from a position of power.

    I'm reminded of a question I asked Wayne Mapp in 2005, when he came to Waikato University to campaign for National.

    In reply to a question about National's proposed 90 Day probationary period, he stated that he had worked in the UK where they had such a law and that he had encountered no abuses at all.

    Of course, I was curious to know if he had been working at the time in a cafe, restaurant, hotel, retail store, building site, service station...

    He replied that he had been a faculty member at a university, which drew a hearty round of boos and derision.

    Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Of course a small business can have a disaster, lose a lot of work, and may want to use the three month period employment law to get rid of staff but they should definitely have to justify the dismissal.

    You know, there's an employment law situation that's designed for precisely that circumstance. It's called redundancy. It's pretty non-controversial when an employer, through no fault of their own, finds themselves unable to justify the continued employment of some of their staff. And the best bit? You can use it at any point in the employment relationship, not just the first 90 days. Such a radical concept.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Yes, you could equally say that Labour was re-elected twice after having abolished it.

    I could.

    That too would support my argument that it wasn't a particularly big deal.

    And Graeme, labour laws need to be crafted to protect those who have the least power to bargain. That would be who, exactly? Ah, that's right, those "semi- or un-skilled workers" who are the ones in the worst position to try and bargain away a trial period, the ones with the least job security to start with, and the ones most likely to be employed by exploitative employers.

    A wonderful argument. But given that my argument was the Russell was wrong to state that this would affect every one of the 400,000 NZers who start a new job each year, I'm not sure where it gets you.

    Indeed, you help make my point with this argument: there are plenty of good arguments that can be arrayed against 90-day probation periods, and against the extension of 90-day probation periods, without needing to oversell its effect.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Dear lord, deliver us from gung-ho management types.

    I'm putting this on my wall. If only I could embroider :)
    National's thinking around productivity gains and higher wages appears to be that the wages will follow gains in productivity. I suspect it's round the other way. Higher wages force employers and managers to manage workers' time efficiently. And higher wages make it more attractive- or imperative- to invest in ways of improving worker productivity. The weakness of NZ unions and the general thrust of 'employment contracts' and a pool of low-wage labour works directly against increased productivity. The cart can't pull the horse.
    I'm sure there are great managers and business owners out there. But NZ doesn't seem over-endowed with them. Considering we consistently rate as one of the best places on the planet to do business, business itself looks like the weak link in our low-wage/low-productivity economy. (Farming generally, and importantly, excepted.)
    Maybe it's time for the business community to be "restructured" :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1599 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Rather, it's the low-intelligence, monosyllabic, strictly-unskilled workers who will likely never be in a position to bargain from strength, that need to be at the forefront of any designer of labour laws.

    It is part and parcel of right-wing philosophy that people are not destined to be forever excluded from a position of bargaining strength.

    Sadly, it appears that National had exactly these people in mind when designing this law: as the ones who should be afforded the absolute least protection possible.

    The right suggests that any regulation affording protection to willfully "low-intelligence, monosyllabic, strictly-unskilled" workplace practice is counterproductive.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    You may be wondering where employees – the other group affected by the law change – featured in these surveys...

    ...although employees manifestly outnumber employers in the economy, employers outnumbered staff in the consultation exercise by 100 to one.
    The report says the imbalance was "due to resource constraints".

    Personally I don't see anything wrong with that.
    As long as we apply the same "constraints" to the Election. You know, only allow Labour voters to vote.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A wonderful argument. But given that my argument was the Russell was wrong to state that this would affect every one of the 400,000 NZers who start a new job each year, I'm not sure where it gets you.

    I didn't think it would affect 400,000 people in the same way, but it'll be an issue for nearly all of them, if only in it not being on the table, depending on their bargaining strength.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Could I suggest some footwork on this- such as tactical voting in Ohariu-Belmont and especially Epsom to dispose of Messrs Dunne, Hide and their satellite parties...?

    We don't need to. Any time up to 90 days after we elect them we can just sack them for no reason, right?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    A wonderful argument. But given that my argument was the Russell was wrong to state that this would affect every one of the 400,000 NZers who start a new job each year, I'm not sure where it gets you.

    Russell was referring to the estimated 400,000 employees changing jobs each year who would be affected. Whether they would be adversely affected or not is not the point, it is the fact that if all jobs were subject to this legislation then all those jobs would be affected by that legislation, or did you mean effected?.
    But then I am ANAL.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    this is actually a good thing for employees, since if you're in a situation where your employer wants to get rid of you, then summary sacking might be just the incentive you need to get on and find something more suitable

    We're letting George Clooney's character in Up in the Air write employment policy?

    I've also heard it described as the employer and the employee having a chance to check each other out. Which is crazy because employees can always resign, even within 90 days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    All jobs are subject to the Minimum Wage Act; I do not accept that a rise in the minimum wage affects all workers, or even all employers.

    But then I am ANAL.

    :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    O/T
    What's up with this site today?. Keeps logging me out and telling me pages ain't available an shit. anat an stuff.
    Wassup?

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    All jobs are subject to the Minimum Wage Act; I do not accept that a rise in the minimum wage affects all workers, or even all employers.

    IIRC, a few years back when the usual suspects whined about a minimum wage going up, the BNZ's Tony Alexander told them to 'get a life' because the minimum wage at the time only applied to 7% of the total NZ workforce.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I've also heard it described as the employer and the employee having a chance to check each other out. Which is crazy because employees can always resign, even within 90 days.

    Employees also cannot just leave with no notice within the 90 days. So it's not "a chance to check each other out" at all. If it were, the right to "opt out" at any point during the trial period would be available to both parties. That it's unbalanced proves fairly conclusively that the policy is about keeping the balance of power with the employer. Just in case those uppity workers get ideas that they might be important.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    All jobs are subject to the Minimum Wage Act; I do not accept that a rise in the minimum wage affects all workers, or even all employers.

    IIRC, a few years back when the usual suspects whined about a minimum wage going up, the BNZ's Tony Alexander told them to 'get a life' because the minimum wage at the time only applied to 7% of the total NZ workforce.

    However, a rise in the minimum wage will eventually ripple through a lot of the lower- and lower-middle income rates, as those who are paid marginally more than the minimum wage strive to remain that way, and so forth. He's quite likely correct that only 7% of the workforce are paid right on the minimum wage line, but the numbers who're paid to within a dollar of the minimum wage is probably very dramatically higher. If you're paid 50c more than minimum wage, and minimum wage rises by 50c, you're now in a minimum-wage job. And even if you don't get a pay increase to compensate, you're still going to be affected the next time the minimum wage increases.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • octopusgrrl,

    If you need to get rid of staff within the three month period because workload significantly drops off you should still have to justify yourself. Getting rid of someone (who was employed on a permanent contract) because you had a big job on that lasted two and a half months is not ok.

    I so agree with this. A dear friend of mine was recently told on her 90th day that she shouldn't bother coming in the next morning, with no explanation given. To be fair it wasn't the greatest job in the world, but it was a foot in the door to her chosen profession and she thought she got on reasonably well with the manager and the rest of the staff. She still feels like she was kicked in the teeth and not knowing exactly what she was doing wrong has filled her with self-doubt and made her job search much harder. She considered taking the business to the employment tribunal, but decided that it would be easier just to move on and leave it behind her. She lives in a fairly small community and the industry she works in is very close-knit, and she didn't want to be labelled as a trouble-maker.

    I've worked under contracts with probation periods written in, and it's a horrible feeling to think that no matter how hard you work and how much value you believe you're offering your employer, you're still at their mercy with little recourse. At least if they're forced to give a reason (even a bullshit one) you're not left wondering what the hell you did wrong.

    Dunedin • Since May 2009 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But it will not apply to everyone? Clearly and obviously not.

    An email that I got today indicated that the law only applies when changing employers, not jobs. So if you move around different jobs in an organisation, no probation period can apply, it's only when you move to a new employer that it can kick in.

    So it really does discourage people taking risks with their employment and moving into new fields, physical locations.

    It will be interesting to see whether 'no probation' becomes a point of difference for large employers.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    An email that I got today indicated that the law only applies when changing employers, not jobs

    That's correct. And it doesn't apply if you're returning to an employer, either. One clause of the trial-period section restricts its application to employees who have not previously worked for the employer.

    Graeme is correct that it's strictly opt-in, but one cannot help but wonder if National won't take the time to make it opt-out.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    What ' s up with this site today ? . Keeps logging
    me out and telling me pages ain ' t available an
    shit . anat an stuff

    After Key gets his way Russell will be able to fire his code bitches with even less explanation than above.


    And the market will force him to, just to compete with Kiwibleurgh

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4501 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Giovanni . . . originally from Italy, you know. I don't think that's been mentioned before

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yes. I be ribbin'.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3669 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    PASers be ribbin'.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Good times.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • John Morrison,

    I'm sure there are great managers and business owners out there. But NZ doesn't seem over-endowed with them. Considering we consistently rate as one of the best places on the planet to do business, business itself looks like the weak link in our low-wage/low-productivity economy. (Farming generally, and importantly, excepted.)

    I couldn't agree more! But I include the meat & wool sectors amongst the retards.
    Successive governments have done all they can to increase productivity but it still won't budge. Why? I just don't think our private sector managers are up to it. My recent dealings with a couple of large corporates leaves me in despair.

    Cromwell • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

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