Thursday, December 13, 2012

No deterrent

Back in February and may, when Ports of Auckland workers were locked out in retaliation for objecting to reductions in their job security and working conditions, the port employed local scabs to keep operating. It was a clear violation of the law, and they've just been fined $40,000 for it.

Firstly, of course, that's $40,000 the ratepayers of Auckland won't be getting as dividends, $40,000 wasted by Ports of Auckland's incompetent management against the interests of their shareholders. It shoudl be coming directly out of their pay-packets (instead, I expect they'll all get fat bonuses). But secondly, its clearly not high enough compared to the revenue gained from keeping the port open. If we really want to deter hiring scabs, then the Employment Relations Authority needs to be able to hand out fines large enough to outweigh the economic benefits of doing so. Until we do, the law will send a clear message to bad employers that they should employ scab labour, and treat the resulting fines simply as a cost of doing business.