Employment matters —the BAD stuff

For anyone needing help, advice or mediation on employment and work-related matters anywhere in New Zealand . . .

Contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MoBIE) – formerly the Department of Labour.
http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/solvingproblems/resolving/mediation.asp

More information on mediation and how to access the service is available at http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/services/mediators/index.asp
or contact the centre on Freephone 0800 20 90 20

You can also contact your union representative, a lawyer or your local Community Law Centre for advice.

█ Don’t hesitate to call Police on 111 if you feel threatened.

We note the following news items with some distress and revulsion.

### ODT Online Wed, 1 May 2013
Queenstown driver paid $63,000 after sexual harrassment
By Abby Gillies
A female truck driver working in Queenstown has been awarded more than $63,000 for being sexually harassed, discriminated against because of her gender and unjustifiably dismissed from her job. A decision by the Employment Relations Authority has ordered Rachael Harrington receive $25,000 in compensation and $38,200 from her former employer Cromwell-based Thunderbird One, over her treatment.
The truck driver started work with the company in Queenstown, which operates a Mainfreight franchise, in September 2008. However, “her employment was both short and fraught”, and she resigned and filed a personal grievance three months later, said the ERA finding. Her claims of being unjustifiably disadvantaged, discriminated against and sexually harassed were unchallenged by the company, it said.
Read more

### ODT Online Thu, 2 May 2013
Sexually harrassed Queenstown driver miscarried
By James Beech
The former Queenstown female truck driver awarded more than $63,000 for being sexually harassed, discriminated against because of her gender and unjustifiably dismissed from her job suspects she miscarried as a result of being told to “manhandle” an 800kg load at work. The Employment Relations Authority ordered that Rachael Lee Harrington receive $38,243 as recompense for wages lost as a result of the dismissal and $25,000 as compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings from her former employer, Cromwell-based Thunderbird One Ltd. Ms Harrington was “severely bleeding and miscarrying after lifting all the heavy pallets, so it was really super traumatic for her,” counsel Angeline Boniface, of Christchurch, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday. “The worst thing about this entire situation is that here she is bleeding profusely, her father asked for an ambulance to come on site and Mr [Justin] Marshall said, “If you get an ambulance, you’ll be up for disciplinary action,” Mrs Boniface said. “Meanwhile she’s bleeding, she wants to get into the building and other staff members have locked her out and [are] laughing at her. This is awful, just shocking.”
Read more

Justin Marshall, managing director of Thunderbird One Ltd and Picture Vehicles Ltd, is not the former All Black and broadcaster Justin Marshall.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

48 Comments

Filed under Business, People

48 responses to “Employment matters —the BAD stuff

  1. ### ODT Online Sat, 4 May 2013
    Employer to challenge discrimination finding
    By James Beech
    The man accused of sexual harassment against the former Queenstown female truck driver awarded more than $63,000 missed the opportunity to defend his case due to a ”communication breakdown” between him and his lawyer. Justin Marshall, who was managing director of Cromwell-based Thunderbird One Ltd when Rachael Lee Harrington worked for the company, had now acquired the services of lawyers Duncan Cotterill, a statement said yesterday.
    Read more

    • This situation is interesting. Employee initiates an action and somehow the employer is not aware of his rights. What a mess.

      The initial reporting drew my attention, and that of a regular contributor to What if?

      Today’s item also drew interest and a note of caution, communicated to site moderators.

      The Otago Daily Times has placed the unfolding details in public domain – and for that we are grateful.

      If in any workplace there’s no open policy or protocols in place to provide a safeguard and the means of address for both the employee and the employer to achieve a safe workplace for all – an environment free of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, bullying, and verbal abuse which is technically regarded as violence, or worse – then we’re failed individuals, failed businesses, and a failed community.

      Who knows what really happened at Cromwell’s Thunderbird One Ltd. The ERA has made a significant finding.

  2. Rachael Harrington

    Hello, this is Rachael who is mentioned in these above articles. I would like to clarify a couple of things please. My former Employer was fully aware of his rights and only chose to appear at one of the three ERA hearings. This can be confirmed by my Lawyer Angeline and the Authority Member Mr Mike Loftus.

    Thank you

    Rachael Harrington

  3. John Millington

    Interesting story Rachael, I hope Justin gets an opportunity to put this right and tell the actual story. I was there that day along with many others and can confirm that your account of proceedings is far from the truth.
    Thanks

  4. Elizabeth

    Press Release – Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
    Tuesday, 25 November 2014, 11:15 am

    MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws

    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

    The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand visited 41 employers to check their compliance with employment and immigration laws.

    Labour Inspectorate Southern Regional Manager, Steve Watson says MBIE issued 15 Improvement Notices, and 2 Enforceable Undertakings for a total of 64 minimum employment standard breaches. Formal investigations have also been launched into the employment activities of seven employers.

    “The level of non-compliance identified during this operation was disappointing, especially employees who were not receiving minimum wage for the hours they worked. There were also a high number of employees not receiving their public or annual holiday entitlements.

    It was surprising that there are still employers who do not have written employment agreements and are failing to maintain records compliant with minimum standard legislation.”

    “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment takes breaches of employment law seriously and is working proactively to crackdown on it through joint compliance operations targeting sectors and at risk workers across New Zealand.

    “We will not hesitate to take action for breaches of employment law. Breaches will be subject to compliance action and potentially penalties too of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.

    “The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.”

    [ends]

    Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO201411/S00268.htm

  5. Elizabeth

    You have to read this article – Professor Paul Roth is his typical knowledgeable self and offers great insights !!!

    ODT 15.3.15 ‘You sign it because you’re hard up’
    Unions are fighting them, employers say they do not exist.
    Carla Green reports on zero-hour contracts.
    Gabriel Griffin, a 20-year-old who lives in Port Chalmers, is one of thousands of workers throughout New Zealand employed under what are called ”zero-hour” contracts – agreements that do not guarantee the worker a set number of hours a week (or any hours at all, necessarily), but usually make it difficult or impossible for workers to seek alternative employment.
    The contracts first came into widespread use in the United Kingdom following the global financial crisis in 2008. Since then, they have become common in New Zealand, especially in the fast-food industry.
    Read more

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    A cute aspect of these – in fact all flexible hours McJobs – is that if the employer doesn’t like unions it WILL be a non-union workplace. Why? Because if you join a union you won’t be rostered on, you won’t be called to do any hours. Illegal? Try proving you were in effect denied employment because you belong to a union. You weren’t called or rostered on that week because you weren’t needed, nobody promised you’d have work every day… week… month….

  7. Peter

    I feel so sorry for people who have to work for outfits like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried, Starbucks etc. They need the work, but have to swallow their pride and serve overpriced, shit food under the auspices of exploitative management practices devised in some home-based city in the USA. These people, to get their own back, need to find fun ways to undermine the organisations they work for while at the same time appearing to be good employees and ‘into’ what they are doing for these corporates.
    I know someone who worked for Muffin Break a few years ago. The employees were allowed about three left over muffins at the end of each day and the rest had to be biffed. No policy for the remainder to be given to Foodbank or some other worthy cause for the hungry poor. Ok, muffins aren’t exactly nutritional, but when you are on the bones of your arse you eat anything.

  8. Rob Hamlin

    I bloody hate mobile phones and I will not carry one. Why? Because they make you a prisoner 24/7/365 – even though you can’t see the chains. They also make zero hours contracts possible (and, I suspect, shortly the norm).

    Archetypal bad employment practice used to be commonly illustrated by the Victorian practice of ‘calling’ dock workers each morning at the quayside. If you didn’t get called, then you didn’t work for that day. But at least you could then either go to sleep or go and look for some other way of earning a crust. That’s not so with these things. Zero hours contracts deny access to other work and to social security while not guaranteeing alternative income. Thus, you can starve to death on a zero hours contract – and people probably will, even here in New Zealand.

    If there weren’t any mobile phones, these miserable people would have to sit at home all day and all night waiting for that call on the landline. The slavery aspect of these contracts (exclusive retention without payment) would then be manifest both to them and to everybody else. However, these days you can take your iSlave out with you and carry your chains discreetly around and about – Nirvana!

    The legal remedy is simple. All contracts should carry the number of hours required per week – and the periods that those hours can fall if the contract is not full time. The latter to be in blocks of no less than five hours and notified at least one month in advance. The latter to exceed the former by no more than 20%. Chances of Woodhouse doing anything like that – Zero.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    The bullshit “advantages” of what they call flexible work hours for employees include their having time for other activities, but if these are anything more exacting than having a coffee and watching tv, no luck. Your daughter has an appointment, can you pick up the kids from school tomorrow and look after them till she gets home? Well actually no. You cannot plan what to do tomorrow. You can’t embark on anything today either, like making jam or baking fruitcake that takes a long time to cook, or hiring a concrete mixer to make the path to the clothesline. You can’t commit to volunteering, helper at hospice for instance.
    Rob, I share your hatred of cellphones. Remember when people didn’t need to tell or ask where each other were and what they were doing, all through the day?

  10. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 24 Mar 2015
    Should big businesses allow tea breaks?
    By Patrice Dougan and Sophie Ryan – NZME News Service
    Staff at fashion chain Cotton On are facing the possibility of working without tea and meal breaks after a last minute claim in collective agreement negotiations. It follows the introduction in October last year of a law that took away the legal right to a tea break. The Employment Relations Amendment Bill also weakened collective bargaining.
    Read more

  11. Elizabeth

    “The part of casual agreements that I don’t like is that unbalanced obligation where the employer says, ‘You stand by, I’ll tell you when to work.’” –Michael Woodhouse

    ### ODT Online Tue, 14 Apr 2015
    Govt to move on zero-hour contracts
    By Nicholas Jones – NZ Herald
    The most punitive aspects of zero-hour contracts will be banned, the Government says. Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said he wanted to see some of the harshest contracts outlawed. That included when people had to be available for work but were given no guaranteed hours of work in return, he told Radio New Zealand. NZME
    Read more

    ****

    ### radionz.co.nz Tue, 14 Apr 2015
    RNZ National – Good Morning with Guyon Espiner & Kim Hill
    Minister reviews ‘punitive’ aspects of zero-hours contracts
    07:35 The Government is considering changing labour laws to rule out the most punitive parts of zero hours contracts.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 ( 5′ 49″ )

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    Ross Home is into that “on call” system too. Don’t make any arrangements e.g. look after grandkids while their Mother goes to the dentist, because you have to be standing by in case you’re wanted for a laundry or cleaning job that pays mouldy peanuts.
    There’s another nifty dodge – sift through the 3-figure list of applicants, choose a few and give them the opportunity to do a day’s work, then make your final choice. A day’s work for a day’s pay? No. A day’s work for a chance of a “proper” job. Runners-up may be offered on call work, no guaranteed hours, fill in when someone rings in sick or simply doesn’t turn up.

  13. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 5 May 2015
    Parliament employs staff on zero-hour contracts
    By Nicholas Jones – New Zealand Herald
    Labour says it will take action to stop staff working in Parliament on zero-hour contracts. Speaker David Carter has confirmed that nine staff are employed in the Parliamentary Precinct on zero-hour contracts. Labour leader Andrew Little said he understood the contractor is the Australian cleaning and catering company Spotless, and that the staff worked in catering. NZME
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Oh super, export profits to Australia, enable NZers to be screwed over so the company can make maximum profits.
      Who is this government working for, again?
      I’m having trouble keeping track.

  14. Elizabeth

    The changes would be reflected in an Employment Standards Bill introduced to Parliament later this year.

    ### NZ Herald Online 11:00 AM Sunday Jul 12, 2015
    Zero hour contracts set to change
    Source: NZME
    A package of proposed measures which would see changes made to zero hour contracts has been announced. Today, Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse announced a number of measures would be put in place to prevent unfair employment practices, such as zero hour contracts. Zero hour contracts involve arrangements where an employer does not commit to a minimum number of hours, but the employee is required to be available for work. No compensation is paid for that availability.New changes announced today would prohibit these unfair practices, Mr Woodhouse said.
    […] Unfair practices which will be prohibited:
    – Employers not committing any hours of work, but expecting employees to be available when required
    – Employers cancelling a shift without providing reasonable notice or compensation to the employee
    – Employers putting unreasonable restrictions on secondary employment of employees
    – Employers making unreasonable deductions from employees’ wages.
    Read more

    ****

    ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 11:42, July 12 2015
    Government move on zero hour contracts under fire
    By Vernon Small
    The Government is planning new protections for workers but will stop short of banning zero hour contracts. The move has already drawn criticism from unions and businesses for failing to go far enough to protect vulnerable workers. Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse on Sunday said a law would be introduced later this year to prevent unfair employment practices such as zero-hour contracts. He said while the country had a balanced and flexible labour market there were some practices that were unnecessary and unacceptable. […] Labour leader Andrew Little said the plan would not outlaw zero hours contracts but do the reverse – entrench them in law. “National promised to get rid of zero hours contracts. It hasn’t. It has just made new rules for how to use them.”
    Read more

    ****

    Q+A TVNZ Added: 2:11PM Sunday July 12, 2015
    Zero-hour contract changes – Panel (7:53)
    The panel this week: Auckland Chamber of Commerce CE Michael Barnett, CTU President Helen Kelly and Social entrepreneur Sam Stubbs.

    • Elizabeth

      At ODT Online:

      Woodhouse
      Submitted by MikeStk on Fri, 25/09/2015 – 1:46am.

      Michael Woodhouse promised to do away with zero hour contracts, but the result seems to be anything but.
      His new bill not only enshrines employer mandated zero hour contracts into law, it also allows an employer who isn’t paying you some weeks to force you not to take a second part time job to make ends meet, and if you are starving and do take a second job they can fire you for cause so that you can’t even go on the dole.
      And we thought we had done away with slavery an indentured servitude … this is something out of a Dickens novel.
      Woodhouse’s plan to do away with zero hours contracts is embarrassing, he seems to have inadvertently done the exact opposite . . . could he please move somewhere else and stop pretending we support him.

      [ends]

      • Mike

        I would like to point out that despite the lack of notification that posting was heavily abridged by the ODT in particular they removed multiple uses of the adjective “incompetent” applied to Woodhouse.

        My basic thesis, lost by the abridgement, was that Woodhouse is so incompetent he promised that he would make zero hours illegal but in fact did the exact opposite. And having such an incompetent as an MP representing Dunedin is so fundamentally embarrassing that he should move elsewhere.

        The alternative is that he did that on purpose, but that would have been quite evil, one has to apply the maxim that incompetence is more likely than evil intent.

        • Elizabeth

          Mike, agree re complete incompetence but Woodhouse doesn’t represent Dunedin – he is simply a List MP, there by numbers not by locally manufactured hair shirt. He’s just someone with a Dunedin office that gets used to ‘campaign with Key and the Nat boys’.

        • Calvin Oaten

          As I say later on in this thread, Woodhouse is no more than a ‘glove puppet’ faithfully doing the bidding of his masters. He hasn’t thought this whole ‘zero hour contract’ issue through. If he had, he would realise just how immorally corrupt it is, and by extension the corruptness of today’s business ethics. This of course all stems from the neo-conservative policies of the last 30 or more years. Non more so than by our own de-regulating governments. It is progressively destroying our trust in our fellow man to the point where we are hearing the latest in CYF’s losing battles for child welfare, the breakdown of families, burgeoning prison populations, and a looming financial catastrophe. There will be no improvement before a total collapse of the system and the people wake up and there is a change of culture. That of course can’t happen without an incredible amount of angst and pain. Sad really, but the people have been sleepwalking while the ‘shonky manipulators’ have been quietly stealing the wealth.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “The alternative is that he did that on purpose, but that would have been quite evil, one has to apply the maxim that incompetence is more likely than evil intent.”
          There’s No.3, Mike. He may be “doing evil” for one sector of the population, those who only vote, while doing good for another: those who vote and donate to party funds, and offer directorships to MPs who have put in their 9 years “service” to qualify for pension & privileges for life.

  15. Elizabeth

    Mr Woodhouse responded [to criticism] by saying zero hour contracts were gone and unions were now trying to “get rid of casual agreements”. “The unions have long had a view that they don’t like casual agreements. We don’t think that’s realistic. That was never going to be the target on any of the reforms. These are not minor changes; these are not ambiguous changes.”
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/348829/more-needs-done

  16. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz July 13, 2015 – 5:57pm
    Employment law changes aim to rein in unfair business practices
    A Dunedin-based MP says his changes to employment law will rein in unfair business practices. Michael Woodhouse has announced a raft of measures to tackle things like zero hour contracts. But they’re being dismissed by some as window dressing.
    Video

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Wishy-washy & half-assed, not frightening any important horses. He said prescribing what should be in the contract was too hard because there were so many different situations but it would kinda come right in time or something, wiffle-waffle.
      He’s got access to legal expertise, how about drafting 3 or 4 sample contracts that are fair and not full of holes that can be exploited by worker or employer acting in bad faith? Because those are the people for whom the change is needed, fair employers and workers treating one another with decent respect and consideration don’t need regulating, it’s the ones who take advantage of legally permitted exploitation without a twinge of conscience who need laws to make them do right.

  17. Elizabeth

    Sensible employers know, as well, that they need to look after good employees.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 14 Jul 2015
    Editorial: Zero-hours employment contracts
    OPINION No matter what Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse came up with on the issue of ”zero-hours contracts”, the union movement and Labour would object – and they do: strongly. It is clearly in the interest of unions to champion workers’ rights as they see them as much as they can.
    Read more

  18. Elizabeth

    Garrick Tremain 20 July 2015 – footlooseW

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    You name it, he’ll dance it.

  20. Whippet

    That fellow in the bow tie and mustache looks familiar. Can anybody put a name to him ?

    • Elizabeth

      Whippet, not the guy who’s well enough paid to sink the SDHB again or buy himself a Lamborghini care of the NZ taxpayer.

  21. Gurglars

    Once a Caricature, Always a Caricature.

    A person to make fun of, a fool, a charlatan.

    Chaucer would describe him well. Shakespeare got him a beauty.

    The fool, Falstaff.

  22. Elizabeth

    According to 39 Dunedin News tonight:

    Dunedin City council employs about 900 staff.

    116 DCC staff don’t have guaranteed hours of work.

    DCC is phasing out all zero-hour contracts. Timeline unknown.

    More in tomorrow’s newspaper ?

  23. Calvin Oaten

    Tauranga is as big if not bigger than Dunedin and is growing. I believe it has around 400 staff. 900 staff for Dunedin plainly says that there is a lot of non council business going on here at the ratepayers’ expense. It has long since moved on from essential infrastructure services to being all things to all people. That is a ‘top down’ culture led by our mayor and council.

    • Elizabeth

      ….and led by the chief executive.

      • Elizabeth
        There was a substantial rise in DCC staffing levels circa 2000 – couldn’t guess why (choke). It obviously excludes entities such as Delta.
        This gives some idea of the DCC staff levels 1990-91 (FTE’s) for then and 2012.

        Community Affairs 4
        Corporate services 120
        Crem/Cem 7.5
        Development services 66
        Drainage/sewerage 42
        Economic dev 11.5
        Forward planning 9.5
        Art Gallery 9.5
        Libraries 72.2
        Recreation 23
        Refuse 2
        Roading 28
        Water 51
        Total 446.2

        Staff levels 2012: 687 153.97%
        Staff levels now – god only knows!

        Dunedin’s urban population in 2013 was 112,000, the same as in 1976.

        Total people 2013: 120,249

        • Calvin Oaten

          And Douglas, today’s tally does not include 42 drainage/sewerage (contracted out to Christchurch city works) and 28 roading (contracted out) staff members. Total, 376.2 (the .2 being Jim Harland), now exploded to 900??!!! That, of course excludes the bought in consultants. There truly is a bin full of “blue sky visionaries” inhabiting that building.

  24. Anonymous

    The conventional wisdom is that headcount was around 650, then increased to 700 in April/May. Now at 900? That’s quite the increase and the recruitment pages haven’t exactly been humming. Gigatown coordinator for example was advertised in July and appointment only made last week (?)

    • Elizabeth

      Dunedin TV didn’t attempt to qualify what it meant by the “900 staff” it claimed in the news item. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

  25. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Tue, 22 Sep 2015
    DCC working to phase out zero hour contracts
    More than a hundred Dunedin City Council staff remain on zero hour contracts, despite public controversy over such arrangements.
    Ch39 Link

    39 Dunedin Television Published on Sep 22, 2015
    DCC working to phase out zero hour contracts

  26. Gurglars

    So will we have an extra 100 persons for ratepayers to pay at $18.50 per hour if they are on the minimum wage planned? Just for starters thats $72,200 per week or an additional $3.8 million per annum or are the DCC executives going to clean the building or just what are the economic implications for the basket case?

  27. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon. 28 Sep 2015
    Strike held to pose changes
    Dunedin Bunnings workers protest during a two-hour strike in Dunedin on Saturday. About 20 workers joined staff at other stores around the country in opposing a company proposal to introduce flexible start and finish times.
    Read more

    ****

    Relocated from another thread. Relevance. -Eds

    Rob Hamlin
    Submitted on 2015/09/27 at 11:55 pm

    […] You may recall that zero hours contracts are coming in, albeit with some considerable resistance. The suits, scenting profits, pay rises and bonuses are pushing hard, but might be realising that raw zero hours contracts may not be the easy goer here that they have been in the UK.

    However, suits will be suits, and if there’s money to be made by screwing the plebs they will simply try another key in the lock. This example looks like one such.

    I was driving past a major retailer in Dunedin that is Australian based and has a name that starts with the same letter as a commercially important insect, and that rhymes with ‘low *******’ or ‘******* as a fox’. There were a mob of their staff out in the street wearing the uniform, waving placards and acting all pissed off.

    Further inquiries were made directly to them as to why they were all pissed off. I was told that the management wished to impose a contract on them with the following conditions:

    1) Staff would be rostered on on any particular day for a set number of hours, presumably as per new anti-zero hours requirements.
    2) But, if business is slacker than expected they can be sent home, and they still get paid for the hours that they would have worked for that shift.
    3) HOWEVER the hours that were NOT actually worked on that day had to then be worked on subsequent days by the staff member on an as and when required basis and WITHOUT PAY!

    In other words a sort of ‘prepaid’ (by the worker) zero hours contract – Ugh!

    A technical difference only to be sure, and not really a positive difference at that, but probably enough to allow Mr Key and his cabinet colleagues to claim that they had no powers to put a stop to it. Now I bet some perky young suit got a bonus on top of their predictably large salary for thinking up that one. So let’s hope that the boys and girls in red and dark green see them off eh?

  28. Elizabeth

    Relocated. -Eds

    Hype O’Thermia
    Submitted on 2015/09/28 at 12:22 pm

    Omigod Rob, that’s disgraceful!
    Thanks for finding out the guts of it and posting it here in such clear terms, no suit-speak.

    It’s been my favourite store – great staff from the moment they opened, friendly, neither intrusive nor in hiding when one wants assistance. I thought when they opened the company had done a brilliant job of recruiting the best and training them really well. Sure, sometimes they say “I don’t know, it’s not my department” but unlike some others, they promptly go and find out, or fetch the person who knows.
    I was delighted to change from Mitre 10 which had pissed me off hugely with their nose-thumbing attitude to everyone especially the people who live on the hills overlooking the harbour, plonking that shrieking orange monstrosity where it cannot avoid spoiling the view.

    My sympathies are entirely with the staff. They’re hard-working, obliging and a pleasure to deal with. If the suits understood what high quality personnel they have, they’d be looking at bonuses and improved wages and conditions. For the staff, not the suits. The suits aren’t looking like value for money, not from where I stand.

    • russandbev

      I echo the comments about the Bunnings staff – they are the company’s best asset. I go there for the level of service – much the same product elsewhere, but Bunnings deliver great attitude, great product knowledge and best after sales service. If Bunnings don’t know that, then they need to be told.

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    There’s no need for it to cost more.
    For generations even under full unionism, wages and salaries have been calculated by percentage. Now of course not even that nod to “fairness” has gone. Fonterra, glaring example. “Cost of living” increases, even, were percentages. Absurd, Bread goes up 10 cents – 10 cents for street sweeper and 10 cents for CEO, but when the percentage cost of living is calculated the CEO and sweeper get the same percentage of their base salary, which for one is less than $2 an hour and for the other, $2 a minute! Fonterra, anyone?

    So, the DCC could go flat-rate for its increases. No more bonuses for simply doing the job they’re hired to do. A prompt move by council to disengage from the Higher and Higher and Higher Salaries Entitlement Board, or whatever it’s called these days, that imposes (imposes!) unwarranted extra pay on “unwilling” MPs and councillors, who “have no control, they simply HAVE to accept the extra money”. Since so many of them talk unwillingness, it shouldn’t be too hard to rustle up the numbers to change that rule – and save government money another way by sending the members of that board along the same road as our Hillside workers, in other words opening up opportunities for them to explore new employment options. How about a facebook site, it worked for Red Peak and we know John Key’s unwilling to keep on accepting these pay rises himself….

  30. Elizabeth

    Market mentions —
    Mitre 10 v Bunnings

    21.9.15 Stuff: Success of big box stores lifts Mitre 10

  31. Calvin Oaten

    It’s all to do with the culture of the neo-conservative free market forces let loose over the last 35 years or so. Instituted by Margaret Thatcher, picked up by Ronald Reagan, leaped on by Roger Douglas. As a culture it is progressively destroying the middle class. The wealth is shifting to the one percenters of which our classic example would be John Key. Strangely, that wealth has been taken out of the productive sector and into the speculative non productive financial and property sector. Populist to an extreme, Key prods his ‘glove puppets’ like labour minister Michael Woodhouse with this latest hideous ‘zero hour’ contracts to exert control. Bunnings obviously have a clone within its ranks of executives who’s dreamed up this draconian insult to the workforce, first destroying loyalty then exploiting and blaming them for lack of performance. It’s a classic strategy, it destroyed the trade union movement first, now there is no defence. The workers are screwed. The most dangerous factor is that in the process they destroy the middle classes’ ability to be viable participants financially as consumers and they are hamstrung. Who then is going to keep the economy going when the market collapses through its lack of consumers? Interesting thought that after nearly four decades that possibility is looking more and more likely. Then the ‘one percenters’ will realise that it really ‘takes two to tango’.
    A hundred years ago that great ‘capitalist’ Henry Ford realised the importance of the consumer. He was castigated by his fellow industrialists when he instituted the $5 per day wage for his workers. Shock horror, you’ll destroy us all they howled. His response was, if we don’t pay reasonable wages for a fair day’s toil where are consumers going to come from to be able to absorb our great increases (by technology) in production? And he was proved right. But greed has now taken over again and the lessons will eventually have to be learnt again. But not without a lot of repeat pain and angst.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Calvin, the destruction of the middle class and the unintended consequence you outline, reminded me of the Chinese one-child policy. For sure, they had to cut down on population increase. But because of the importance of sons, the role of sons, girl babies were destroyed so second (3rd, 4th) time lucky… a baby boy could be born and kept, the One Child. Improvements in technology led to a reduction in infanticide because female foetuses could be aborted. Happy families with One Son in obedience to both law and cultural preference! Fast forward to grown-up son, and doting parents and grandparents looking forward to their precious grand / great-grandchild. All those sons, but so few daughters, so few potential Chinese daughters-in-law.
      China was at least solving a genuine problem when it imposed the one child policy to curb out-of-control population increase.
      What genuine problem is Thatcher-Reagan-Douglas and their heirs and successors solving, by more and more thoroughly splitting society into 1 percenters (the ones doing the splitting, quaintly enough) and the rest?

  32. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Sep 2015
    Workers increasingly concerned
    By Dene Mackenzie
    New Zealanders have become increasingly concerned about the state of the labour market and a weakness in earnings growth is emerging as a key worry. The September Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index, released yesterday, showed confidence in the labour market had continued to slide.
    Read more

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