Did saving some jobs cost more?

The loss of 90 jobs from Dunedin’s Hillside workshop is a blow for the workers, their families and the city.

The union is blaming the government, but should they be blaming themselves?

An informed source told me that efficiency measures which included the use of improved technology were proposed by management but opposed by the union because it would have cost some jobs.

If that is true then saving some jobs has cost a lot more.

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14 Responses to Did saving some jobs cost more?

  1. Andrei says:

    No what is true is that we live in an effete society that no longer knows how the things that make it work are made and no longer interested in making them,

    Engineers are undervalued while effeminate bullshit artists are grossly over payed and and blather on about unions while giving the real work to the Chinese and Indians, which seems smart for now but wont seem so smart when there is nobody left with the skills to keep things running.

    And then we will find that you can’t eat bullshit and nor will the Chinese engineers take it in payment for keeping our infrastructure running.

    Bullshit being just about is the only growth industry apart from young male unemployment.

  2. Viv says:

    If the National government had supported Hillside building rolling stock for Kiwirail, instead of buying cheap shonkey Chinese stuff, then perhaps the workshops would have been taking on staff. Your suggestion that the union is somehow to blame, because they rejected workplace changes, is typical right wing anti union comment. We have had a recent, tragic example in this country as to what can happen when ‘efficiency’ as determined by management takes precedence over safe, appropriate and fair conditions that unions fight for. It would also have made better economic sense for NZ for Kiwirail to have paid more for quality goods and kept skilled workers in employment and kept the money here in the local economy. How low to blame the workers.

  3. PurpleSouth says:

    I don’t blame the workers, I blame the unions. With their obstructive behaviour and ridiculous demands they have priced their members off the market. The poster boy for Hillside, one Stuart Johnstone is an australian stirrer – look to your own Hillside, it was your own that cost you your jobs!

  4. Viv says:

    ‘Priced their members off the market’ yeah right! So do you think the Hillside workers should have their pay cut to compete with sweatshop rates of Chinese workers? These are skilled experienced people who actually make useful things, their union recognises this and stands up for them. The National government’s poor decision making sent the money offshore to buy shoddy goods and now also has to pay dole money. Their unofficial spokeswoman decides to draw attention away from this fact by blaming the union. Bad form.

  5. TraceyS says:

    The writing had been on the wall for a long time. I know a man who worked there for many years and even 10 or 15 years ago was expecting redundancy at any time. Every year it didn’t come the redundancy package got a bit bigger. These workers are luckier than some in that they have had a long notice period and will also recieve redundancy entitlements as negotiated by their union. They could have left earlier for greener pastures at any time. But that would have meant leaving their ‘entitlements’ behind. Many others employed in the private sector get little notice and no redundancy compensation. When I was young I worked full-time in a shop. One day we were told that the shop wasn’t doing well and might close. So I found another job and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Since then I have worked on the management side of many restructurings and have seen this positive outcome over and over again. The unions have done their job and the workers theirs and the management theirs. Maybe they could all have done better, or worse. But now it is time to move on. Making a political football of Hillside isn’t helpful to this end.

  6. Viv says:

    Hillside is a political issue and Ele kicked off for this particular discussion. No matter how many positive outcomes you claim to have seen from the management side of restructuring, if the wagons needed by Kiwirail had been made at Hillside then the workers would still have jobs. The Chinese tender was cheaper as we all know, but their product was substandard, the money left the country and there are now more people out of work. How could this not be political?! The workers haven’t even finished yet and you want to ‘move on’. You might be over it, but the Hillside layoffs will have negative effects in Dunedin for some time to come.

  7. PurpleSouth says:

    Viv – do your homework please before commenting. You have made the same uninformed comments as your union colleagues.

  8. Viv says:

    Which part do you consider to be uninformed purple south? FYI I’m not involved in the union movement, I’m an employer.

  9. TraceyS says:

    Viv, I think you should move on too. It is wrong to emphasise only the negative side of things. Balanced opinion would do far more to help the people you claim to care about. Otherwise you risk promoting simplistic and unrealistic expectations.

  10. Viv says:

    Perhaps you might explain the positives that come out of 90 people losing their jobs, so as to provide the balance you talk of. I expect you would call a procurement policy that would have kept the work in NZ ‘simplistic’, but in my opinion it would have helped. I will ‘move on’ from commenting on this blog, it’s going to be a busy week. I do appreciate your polite and quite friendly manner when commenting, it is good to know there are people out there who can argue over issues without getting nasty :-)

  11. Viv says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t see the positives of another 90 people losing their jobs. But I will ‘move on’ from commenting on this. I do appreciate the polite and quite friendly way you debate issues, have a good week :-)

  12. Viv says:

    Thought I’d lost the first comment, on my phone again, sorry about double up there.

  13. Left wing invader says:

    Interesting you should comment that the unions were obstructive. after loosing 44 workmates last year, the union at Hillside tried to embrace the change to “Lean manufacturing”. Local management failed to follow through with promised training….KiwiRail never intended to keep Hillside open…was never part of the “Turn around Plan”….

  14. TraceyS says:

    Just curious, Left wing invader, but what was the training that you say they failed to deliver? How would it have made a difference?

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