The play opens in a private room with a well stocked bar.
Simon raising a glass: Well done Jim, your report‘s upset every employer group and business organisation in the country.
Jim: Thank you. (takes a sip of whiskey) You don’t think I’ve overdone it?
Paula: No, not at all. It’s just what we need – recommendations so ridiculously pro-union and anti-employer and worker, even the really left-wing media will have to admit it would be madness to follow them.
Just look at the media releases.
The EMA says Fair Pay Agreements make no economic sense, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce says they’re not fit for the future of work, and BusinessNZ says the compulsory nature of fair pay agreements and the risk of industrial action and productivity loss are key concerns.
Amy: You sounded really convincing, as if you believed what you were saying. And it’s so cleverly designed to handicap growth, hamstring productivity and act as a hand brake on innovation that it can’t possibly be actioned.
Simon: I was only a kid but I remember Mum and Dad talking about how the unions used to wield all the power, hold businesses to ransom, and how hard it was when workers were forced to strike ran out of money to feed themselves and their families.
Paula: We’ll have to be careful about that because a lot of people would have been too young to really remember what it was like, they might think we’re just scaremongering.
Amy: Even farmers who hadn’t been born in the 60, 70s and early 80s know the stories of how hard it was when the freezing workers kept striking so they couldn’t get stock killed, even when they were running out of feed and facing very real animal welfare issues.
Paula: Good point. And of course the threat of all those Christmas flights being cancelled gave younger people a taste of what could happen and reminded older ones what used to happen – ferries dock-bound every school holidays because the wharfies or cooks and stewards were on strike.
Simon: Those so-called failed policies you introduced have sure saved workers and businesses big and small a lot of heart ache, Jim. Our productivity over the last few decades hasn’t been anything to celebrate but think how much worse it would have been with national awards, compulsory unionism and all the trouble that went with them.
Jim: takes another sip of his whiskey, swallows, Yeah, I guess that’s why I’m worried about the report. People are going to think I’ve gone gaga recommending we go back to those bad old days.
Simon: Ah well, we all make sacrifices for the good of the party, Jim. You know how much we appreciate the ammunition you’ve given us, and of course we know there’s no risk of anything too serious going through because your friend W-
A knock on the door sounds. Paula opens the door and tales a note from a secretary.
Paula: It’s for you Jim. She hands it to him.
Jim: takes another sip of whiskey, smiles. Ah yes, speak of the devil, Winston has just phoned, he wants me to call him.