Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ports of Auckland and Union Busting.


For non-New Zealand readers.
 Ports of Auckland have just engaged in an episode of managerial self indulgence to try and remove Union members from the port and replace them with casual contracted labour. FYI. The port manager is paid more than 750k. Board members are paid 100 to 200k for one days work a week.
 There has been a big push from the usual suspects to take the port out of public ownership. Most of the prospective buyers are anti Union.
Unions and workers are being attacked on all sides, and public assets given away to the private sector as fast as possible, as our current right wing Government is unlikely to get another term.
On Incompetent Management.

Once upon a time, decades ago now, ports were run by a person called the Harbourmaster.

He used to be a highly qualified and experienced Master Mariner, who had extensive knowledge of shipping and decades of experience, at sea and within the port.
All this competence and experience came at a wage  at most five times the average wage. 

Then, along came the cult of management, and the Neo-liberals. The idea that a jumped up accountant could run anything. 

"The corporations with the largest income gap between Directors/Managers  and employees have proven to be the least  functional.
The star managers paid in millions have proven to be much less effective than, lesser paid,  experienced promotions from within the organisation.
"companies that exclusively promote CEOs from within outperform companies that recruit CEOs from outside the company."


We have a board and managers who have lost the port's public owners 21 million dollars and counting, lost more customers in a few months than have been lost to Tauranga in years, cost the ports customers millions, and demoralised and lost the co-operation of their trained labour force, all to make savings that have been shown to be available anyway by talking to the Union.
(There was  a 25 to 30% increase in the box rate last year in the brief period when the Wharfies thought management were not going to continue the adversarial politicking of the past).

An honourable management and board would all be tendering their resignations after a debacle like this.

The amount of spin and outright lies about the workforce from POAL management shows they are incapable of working co-operatively with their labour force.
For example Labour utilisation rates, costs of Labour and pay rates are not out of line with similar jobs.
Still looking for the wharfie who gets 91k a year.  (A foremen doing double shifts all year maybe).

The relationship is broken. It is much easier and less costly to replace the managers with ones capable of working with people than retrain a whole ports labour.

It has become apparent that the whole exercise was an ideological attempt to break one of the last vestiges of Union power, most likely with the covert backing of the NACT Government. The  huge costs for the ports public owners and customers does not matter to an ideologically driven board put in place for that purpose by ACT hacks..

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disaster Capitalism


Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein on Disaster capitalism is an interesting book to re-read, especially in light of recent events in Europe.

One cannot help thinking that National, in New Zealand, (NZ's GOP) and their supporters have taken it to heart. They certainly seem to be keen on precipitating an economic disaster.  The only possible reasons are either they have bought into their own propaganda, 

OR they expect to gain by it.

It has been obvious for a long time that political parties that support Neo-Liberal economics cannot survive on funding from individual party members. They just do not have enough public support for this to occur. Almost all their funding comes from corporates and a very few wealthy individuals.
Only by bearing this in mind does their determination to socioeconomically wreck whole countries become understandable.