The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Question

I see that David Farrar has decided that there is one union strike he can support, namely the one called by those brave union members in Fiji who have decided to strike over the unilateral pay cut the dictatorship has imposed.

The irony of this is that NZ workers could not legally strike in an analagous situation under current employment law. Yes, that would be the same Employment Relations Act which Farrar and others on his side of the political spectrum currently attack as too pro-union.

So does Messr Farrar support a change in NZ's industrial laws to allow strikes here for political purposes and/or outside of bargaining? Or is that only ok when it's happening in a foreign place where you would like regime change?

PS - Go the Fijian Workers!


dpf said...

A very good question.

Under both the ERA and the ECA, the employer can not unilaterally cut your pay. This is illegal.

The Fijian Government is doing it only because they have guns.

In NZ the response to a unilateral pay cut would be to go to the courts and you would easily win. The Fijian unions do not have that recourse as the Dictator has sacked some of the Judges.

More generally I do believe there is a difference between striking in protest against a dictatorship imposed by might of force, and between being able to walk off your job without repercussion to join a protest about saving the west coast snails.

Span said...

So if the employer breaks the law then you think it is ok for the workers to break the law too?

I look forward to the link you'll be providing to give credence to your example of striking to protest the threat to West Coast snails too, DPF!

dpf said...

Nope if an employer breaks the law, you should use that law to sanction them.

The Government in Fiji is above the law. It can not be held to account by any legal means. In cases like that it is okay to break the law, within reason. A dictatorship is now owed the same obedience as a democratic Government.

As for the snails, well obviously there has been no strike in favour of the snails as it would e illegal under current law. It was an example of what would be possible if the law was changed.

Span said...

I think perhaps you meant to say a dictatorship is NOT owed the same obedience?

However, there are instances where the law is broken, in the NZ context, and it is nigh impossible for the workers to get fair redress through the courts because of the time and money involved - effectively they are denied that route to justice. Would you be ok with an illegal strike in those circumstances?

Your snail example is silly DPF - it would be highly highly unlikely to ever happen because workers would be incredibly unlikely to vote to strike for that reason. Mischief-making again.