The Green Party’s industrial relations policy was released yesterday and Sue Bradford shows in commenting on it that she doesn’t understand how the economy works:
“Low paid workers and their families should not be left to unfairly carry the costs of climate change, rising fuel and food prices and the fall out from the US subprime crisis. . .
Um – who supported the legislation for the Emissions Trading Scheme that will impose more costs on everyone without reducing emissions? And where do employers get the extra money for higher wages when they too face higher costs that reduce the profits that are needed to pay the higher wages?
The Greens also wants another public holiday between Queens Birthday and Labour weekend.
There is no need for that. People are free to take a day from the generous entitlement already enshrined in law and tack it on to any weekend which suits them without adding another statutory holiday with the extra costs associated with it.
New Zealand already has 11 statutory holidays and four weeks annual leave which amounts to six working weeks off work.
Some firms shut down completely over the Christmas break so everyone is away at once, but not every business can do that so most of the holidays are taken in dribs and drabs over the course of the year.
If you employ four people you’ve got the equivalent of someone away every day for nearly half the year which puts an extra load on those still on deck; if you employ more than that you need an extra employee to cover for those on holiday.
We can’t tell our cows to stop producing milk on the eve of a long weekend and start again when the holiday’s over. So someone has to milk them, the milk has to be picked up and processed and the cost of doing all that is increased because workers are entitled to be paid time and a half if they work on a holiday.
We could organise things so we didn’t send stock to the freezing works on holidays, but if we did that the freezing workers would have nothing to kill when they resumed work the following day. And regardless of whether or not we’re sending stock away there’s other work to be done and those doing it on a holiday have to be paid extra to do it.
So we have to keep on doing what we do, seven days a week, holiday or not, but it would be better not just for us but the wider economy if we could carry on doing it without the added costs of another statutory holiday.
Some of the extra cost of the extra day’s holiday would be absorbed by the business but eventually some would get passed on to the consumers, most of whom will be workers who will then want a wage increase . . .