The Panel with Cameron ‘WhaleOil’ Slater and Richard Barter

Cameron, Richard and Pat talk about Nick Smith, The Ports of Auckland and wearing religious iconography

Ports back down, win for unions…but are we still at an impasse?

I interviewed Garry Parsloe a couple of weeks ago and we came to the conclusion together that the situation is at am impasse. If the Ports ultimately want contracting, and the unions want a collective contract then there is no way forward.

Today we hear from Richard Pearson from the Ports of Auckland that they have put a halt to contracting out the work for four weeks, and altough he claimed the Ports had a ‘bulletproof’ case, today they are heading back to the table ‘in good faith’.

Richard Pearson has admitted publicly that the best result for the Ports (in his opinion) is to end up with contracting out the work, so how can he come back to the table ‘in good faith’. As I stated in the post linked above to Garry Parsloe….

“[The Ports] have the right to contract, if they want to stick by that right to do, there is an impasse correct?”

To which Mr. Parsloe replied

“There is an impasse”

So here is my question…how is this going to be any different in 4 weeks from what the situation was last week? If both sides are at the same place, then nothing has changed.

The only logical conclusion I can come to is that the Ports have had legal advice maybe advising them their position isn’t ‘bulletproof’ so they are having to come back to the table before court action tells them to.

I just don’t see the resolution here being any different from what it was yesterday, last week, or last month

UPDATE: We have just offered Garry Parsloe to come on to today’s show and talk about the issue, he has declined. We will still be putting a call into Richard Pearson

Ideology versus intelligent debate

It’s been fascinating to watch the small (let’s be honest…very small) ripple of the Cameron Slater/Helen Kelly post I wrote yesterday and I’ve be really interested in how people have pigeon holed me and cast aspersions on my character and decided what kind of person I am.

I think it’s a case of ideology versus intelligent debate.

If you are an ideologue, I think the chances of reasoned debate is diminished as all you can see is the conversation from your side…now that makes sense but any intelligent person will tell you that ‘your side’ is not always going to be right…logic dictates that sometimes it will be in the wrong. Therefore if you support ‘your side’ 100%, you are sometimes supporting the side who is wrong.

Let me take a step backwards.

I have written several posts about Union issues in the past couple of years, sometimes supporting them as in the NZEI case for National Standards (so much so that the NZEI put my post on their website for others to read) and sometimes not supportive of them as in the Ports dispute right now. After the NZEI post I was called a ‘Socialist’, ‘a leftie loon’ and ‘the mouth piece of Helen Clarke’, after the Ports piece I have been called a…well lets have a look at that.

On Kiwiblog in and amongst the comments here are some thoughts…apparently I am “not the brightest light on the Xmas tree” or thoughts that maybe I was “dishonest”. I also started my last post with a statement of not being anti-union, that has been compared to someone saying “I am not racist…but I hate Maori”

So far my favourite response has come from one time colleague Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury. You see I am a microscopic fish in the world of blogging so sometimes when I write a post I also send an email to some ‘colleagues’ to let them know what I have just posted about. It’s kind of like prostituting myself looking for more hits as a pay off. I did this last night after my most recent post and got these responses from Martyn via email.

actually after reading this, I defriended you from Facebook, having an opinion is one thing Pat, being cameron slaters bitch is another thing. What a load of anti-union hysterical bullshit. You are well on your way to being a rednecked talkback host. Congratulations.

Followed 60 seconds later by this one.

when you do evil Pat, people tend to notice. Giving slater time after he’s being paid by PoA is pretty dirty though isn’t it?

I email him to wish him well for the future seeing as we were no longer ‘friends’ and may have just mentioned that it was a shame that the week before when we asked him to come on and put his perspective to one of these issues he wouldn’t respond to us to which he again responded.

I would have zero interest in being on right wing christian radio Patty and my advice to the Union movement would be to bypass it as well.

Again followed 60 seconds later by this one.

Oh and btw – stop sending me this unsolicited right wing Christian crap.

When I supported Martyn over his fallout with Radio NZ he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when I wrote the piece about the NZEI he was happy to receive my ‘crap’, when he saw me on TVNZ talking politics he was happy to send me ‘crap’ congratulating me on the show and when he heard me on ZB and facebooked me congratulating me on my content one can only assume he was happy to allow my ‘crap’ to flow in his ears…but not now. Not now that my latest ‘crap’ doesn’t all of a sudden fit with his ideological narrative…now we cannot be FB friends

I don’t mean to pick on Bomber in this, I like him, always have, still do and probably always will, my wife knows him a little bit from University days and she likes him too but it’s a good example of how ideology gets in the way of intelligent debate, I am not anti-union…I am anti how this union is handling this one industrial action, period.

Today on my talkback show I stood up for the PSA…wait for it…a union. I back them in their claims that John Key has broken his promise about job losses. I agree, he is in the wrong and I support them in that. I support the Rest Home Workers Union…you guys should be getting paid ten times what you are for the work you do.

But an ideologue cannot see the wood for the trees, an ideologue cannot reason that an intelligent person can look at an issue and make an independent assessment of that issue…which may, or may not be parallel to whom they supported last time and I think this is what gets debate de-railed 90% of the time in NZ as it’s the ideologues who write the blogs, who comment on the radio, who write the speeches, who tell you what to think.

I like ’em all, I have no beef with anyone of them, it just saddens me that those of us that you could justifiably call centrist are not the ones pulling the big audiences on air, in print, or on telly as we are not controversial enough…until we disagree with an ideologue.

UPDATE: A response from WhaleOil to Bombers emails

Pat, a point of clarification. I know you didn’t say it but Bomber has done so.

I am not, nor have ever been paid by POAL or anyone associated with them in any manner, either in kind or in cash for my posts about the Ports dispute.

I have simply verified and reported facts as they came to light. I in no way hold you responsible for Martyn Bradbury’s defamation. I certainly do not wish you to take it down.

I want people to see it, together with my outright rejection of his lies.

My apologies to Cameron to not have already putting some kind of disclaimer in amongst Bombers email

Greed and some other deadly sins at the Ports of Auckland

The Ports of Auckland is currently being held to ransom by it’s workings looking for better pay and conditions. We can never know exactly what the ‘behind the scenes’ conditions are like but let me lay these details on you and you can make your own mind up.

Ports of Auckland has lost $27 million per annum of trade from this strike, that means Auckland City has lost income and the economy of Auckland will be worse off for it. The Maritime Union of New Zealand workers have been in negotiations for better pay and conditions since August 2011. What I want to know is what do they currently get, what have they been offered and what do they want?

According to a Damien Grant article in the NZ Herald on Sunday Port workers currently earn $91,000 per annum and seem to work just 26 hours a week. If this is accurate then that’s an hourly rate of $67.31 per hour…not bad. Without sounding too right wing and judgemental, these workers are typically unqualified and lowly educated. Some of them will have qualifications in areas such as operating special machinery or vehicles, but on the scale of a teacher, nurse or doctor there isn’t too many that would get turned away from this job…if there were any vacancies.

What they are being offered is as follows.

  • A 10% rise on hourly rates.
  • Performance bonuses of up to 20% on hourly rates.
  • Retention of existing entitlements and benefits.
  • And a new roster system that will provide increased operational flexibility while allowing workers to plan their rosters a month in advance.

So that’s a salary of more like $100,000, a bonus scheme which could take the total to more like $120,000, no losses of current entitlements and benefits and more flexibility to plan their work/life balance. Seems a pretty good deal to me.

What do they want? The answer is ‘More!’

I don’t have a problem with people striking, I also don’t have an issue with Unions and how they represent their members. My big issue with this from the Union side of things is that they now have a strangle hold on the Ports of Auckland, they know this strike has cost the Port $27 million so far (let alone what they are losing on a daily basis) and if they keep their foot on the throat the Ports will fold to their every demand. That doesn’t seem like negotiation to me, it seems like thuggery and bully-boy behaviour. How many Kiwi’s would like the chance to earn upwards of $120,000 per annum, in a little or no skilled job. What happens next when the Ports of Auckland lose more business and then need to lay people off due to their workload dropping…what will the Union do for those members then?

The remaining question is this. Is the Maritime Union currently doing what is best for their members? If they are then I guess they should continue this action, if they are not they are ultimately going to hurt the people who employ them to speak on their behalf.