Monday, July 16, 2007

Representing his constituents

After a brief pause for mediation, the hospital lockout resumes tonight, with Spotless Services unwilling to grant its workers the same pay and conditions enjoyed elsewhere in the public health system. Meanwhile, the hospital cleaners have received strong political support from Labour MP Mark Gosche, who has called upon DHBs to use the threat of contract cancellations as leverage to "tell Spotless bluntly to pay like everybody else is or get out of the public hospital business". I agree. Spotless's failure to pay their workers properly has caused chaos in the affected hospitals, and that alone should be causing DHBs to seriously consider cancelling their contracts or seeking other penalties for nonperformance. Generally, if people don't turn up for work, they don't get paid. It would be nice if the same standard applied to corporations.

Meanwhile, ACT MP Heather Roy naturally thinks Gosche should "butt out", and that he shouldn't be involving himself in an employment dispute. But Gosche is performing the most basic function of an MP: representing his constituents. But apparently that's illegitimate if those constituents are poor rather than rich.