Thursday, September 14, 2006



What's at stake

What's at stake in the supermarket lock-out? Tapu Misa lays it out:

The dispute between Progressive and its 500-plus distribution workers and their union, the National Distribution Union (NDU), is shaping up as a critical last stand for unions. "If we lose this," says one union organiser, "we'll go backwards."

Employers, too, see the dispute as an ideological one. Alasdair Thompson, the chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, said that "if they were to pull this off then it could well lead to other situations where other employers who operate nationally see this sort of thing tried out against them".

Where "this sort of thing" is workers using their numbers to strengthen their bargaining position and demand better wages and conditions - clearly, not the sort of thing we can have in a competitive market economy...

The last few years have been as good as it gets economically speaking. Reasonable economic performance combined with a labour shortage so severe that employers are "hoarding labour" are exactly the sorts of conditions you'd expect to produce an improvement in working conditions and a distributional shift away from shareholders and towards employees. If workers can't extract better wages and conditions now, when the hell can they?

4 comments:

"If workers can't extract better wages and conditions now, when the hell can they?"

If you're referring to the distribution workers, I think the answer is "when you have a job that involves more than moving boxes."

Yes, I know, that's not very nice - but reality often isn't.

Posted by Hugh Hakawa : 9/14/2006 07:04:00 PM

don't you just love the right wing--they want us to be just like Amerika!

one moment they're telling us the workers are greedy by asking for a living wage and fair conditions, the next minute they're saying the workers are so inferior they don't deserve to be treated like human beings.

ooooh, if only we could ALL play nasty boss--bald, fat and a big cigar, eh? sounds like sooooo much fun, boys!

-tochigi

Posted by Anonymous : 9/14/2006 07:38:00 PM

there's a lot of rubbish jobs out there, ones that I wouldn't get out of bed for. However I am pleased that there are some who do get out of bed for them and thank the lord that they do. Just because they don't take much skill doesn't mean they are valueless jobs - they have contributed to the success of Progressive over the years and deserve to take a proportion as much as the other stakeholders in the company.

Posted by PabloR : 9/14/2006 08:15:00 PM

If they are valueless however one would want both sides to get that signal so they could take action to reform the system.

I dont know if thats the case - but my extremely low level of caring when I went to the supermarket and saw some shelves empty show I don't get much benefit from them.

having said that I'm a bit sympathetic because I dont really like progressives.

Posted by Genius : 9/15/2006 07:20:00 AM