Monday, November 09, 2020

Let them rot

Another farmer is complaining about leaving crops to rot because they can't get cheap foreign workers to pick them. So why can't he get kiwi workers? Just look at the conditions:

With their focus on the short work period, the RSE staff worked the two-to-three month picking season with seven-day working weeks and working days that begin at dawn and finish on dark.

Hiring local staff meant juggling domestic and lifestyle responsibilities, and often social issues stemming from areas where regular work hadn't existed for decades. The working days were shorter which meant fewer courgettes got picked.

Heap said the productivity differences between RSE workers and local workers was enormous. He needed at least two New Zealanders to do the work of one RSE worker, and the churn of local workers was huge.

Basicly, these are Victorian working conditions, the sort of shit Samuel Parnell threw people off a wharf to end. As for "domestic responsibilities", he's basicly saying that workers having lives and families is a problem for him. Clearly, what he wants is a compliant, disposable peasantry, one he can ship in when he needs work done then ship out or just abandon when he doesn't, and he's surprised we're refusing to endanger ourselves by letting him do that in a pandemic. But what surprises me is that we let him do it in the first place. It ought to be a baseline in our society that workers are well-paid, well-treated, and able to have lives outside of work. And if denying those basic rights is the price of cheap courgettes, I say "let them rot".