Sue Bradford on the “Fire at Will” Bill

Sue speaks in the House about the ambiguity in the new 90 day fire at will bill that may prevent fired workers from accessing the dole, despite National’s assurances that this was not their intent:

It is this sort of ambiguity that would have been picked up and corrected at a select committee. Ramming this through under urgency is just the sort of activity National cried foul about before the election. (Except in Labour’s case, select committee hearings actually took place.)

Isn’t it too bad that the National government itself isn’t subject to the 90 day fire at will provision themselves? ;-)

74 thoughts on “Sue Bradford on the “Fire at Will” Bill

  1. In my experience over many years of employing..
    The other staff are the ones most annoyed by an f-wit. I’m completely with Shawn the sheep on this one. I have many times had some pimply geek enquire about work only to turn him/her down cos I’m too scared to risk giving her/him a go. Now I’ll readily give them a punt, I’ll be delighted to see them grow into the job and, if not….
    YOUR FIRED!

  2. Also, what Sue and fellow lefties don’t realise is that most other developed countries have probationary periods in their employment legislation.

    In my country of birth, for instance, most employees are subjected to a 12-month probationary period. And they welcome this, because it gives them the opportunity to prove themselves, and let their skills/talents shine.

    A mindset of cynicism and a demeanour of resentment won’t get you very far.

    Where the pessimist sees doom and gloom, the optimist sees hope and opportunity.

    It’s such a shame, judging by the comments of those hailing from the Left, that lefties seem more inclined to view things pessimistically. Such a bleak outlook in life is what consigns you to poverty and mediocrity.

  3. This isn’t a “fire-at-will” bill; it’s a ‘HIRE-at-will’ bill.

    The bill is incredibly empowering for workers, especially the low-skilled ones, because it gives them increased opportunities to be hired/trialled.

    I personally know a number of small employers who said they’ll now consider hiring certain applicants they previously wouldn’t entertain, thanks to the passage of this bill.

    Try telling these very applicants their rights have been stripped away.

  4. >>admits losses and cuts jobs

    Of course. They are a start-up, and start-ups run on venture capital. The venture capital markets are frozen.

    But that doesn’t mean the tech isn’t happening. There are countless manufacturers set to release electric cars in the next few years. I can’t wait to buy one.

  5. >>Being right is a natural human condition – when I was your age, I put this to the test on the sports field, didn’t pretend to interrupt those with more weighty problems on their minds – but if you are old enough to vote, then why not go support a party you respect?

    I’m 40.

    >>Once old enough to laugh at one’s mistakes – one can get on with life – why I think people say that life begins at 40.

    I do laugh at my mistakes, but from what I can see, the Greens aren’t aware they make any. Amusing, because they are wrong about just about everything, IMHO. EFA, price of oil, global temperature, election result, etc etc…

    And they’re dead wrong about cars. Looking forward to seeing the two electric test cars arriving here early next year for extensive testing.

  6. Ari Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    > you don’t actually see too many Green voters or Green members defending stuff here. Mostly it’s the MPs, frog, and of the party members, it’s usually me, Toad, Katie, and Kakariki, with Toad being the most frequent commenter.

    I try to do my bit, too.

  7. Heather Roy seemed to be suggesting that the Greens wanted people to starve by making biofuels compulsory (in Parliament). If she didn’t believe that she is being disingenuous. Presenting things as different to what you know them to be is otherwise known as lying.

  8. Feel free to point a few out.

    Just off the top of my head, our emphasis on community-driven local fresh food is a highly centrist policy that relies on neither greater social welfare nor individual responsibility.

    The Greens are also built in a centrist, grass-roots fashion where we devolve to local communities and committees of interested members, and authority “builds up” from there, rather than pronouncements being delivered from on-high.

    I suggest you do your research. :)

    Well, unlike a lot of people here, I actually voted Green – yeees, and I’m interested in their welfare – I would recommend all disassociates return to their respective hideouts.

    Yeah, we get so many right-wing ideologues coming along to critique anything that you don’t actually see too many Green voters or Green members defending stuff here. Mostly it’s the MPs, frog, and of the party members, it’s usually me, Toad, Katie, and Kakariki, with Toad being the most frequent commenter. Then again, this is probably because since G.Blog started we’ve had an outlet for our writing.

  9. Sapient: posted a bit last year and will continue to do so until the next virile human passes my hutch….interuptions can be hell you know…yeah I had a Med Spec advise me against returning to NZ; but hell…it’s home ay?
    Just I got a recent lesson on how NZ can look like Gitmo if you de wrong place, wrong time, and the right gang be bored…
    There’s nothing like an inspection from a thorough Human Rights Investigator from the UN to come to NZ.
    Certainly this event was attended by major social shock, and media attention in Australia – I gotta say, the many Kiwis I met in Australia, didn’t want any part of a maori/pakeha debate; wanted just to be Kiwi’s; so strange to fill in a form which doesn’t permit me to elect that racial option: if I ain’t a Kiwi, then I’m startin’ a Club tonite….ice, anyone?

  10. Mark,
    I know you havint been posting for long so i will let you off a rark-up about how arbitary human rights are; just one of my personal pet peaves :P Im not known for my respect of such romantic ideals as morals and rights.

  11. Icy; If you didn’t have a right to speak – the wholesome green arbiters would censor you no?
    Of course you do and welcome; I’d like to see you make a choice between construction and destruction.
    Being right is a natural human condition – when I was your age, I put this to the test on the sports field, didn’t pretend to interrupt those with more weighty problems on their minds – but if you are old enough to vote, then why not go support a party you respect?
    Once old enough to laugh at one’s mistakes – one can get on with life – why I think people say that life begins at 40.
    There are a lot of wise heads that can’t be bothered with endless non-sensical arguing – there is none so blind as one who refuses to see. Thus I fear your lower the common standard here.
    Finally – nature is all against me – two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth!
    One day I had to shaddup and learn…no fear of being wrong, just a certainty I must listen to learn what is right…

  12. >>That’s because you do not listen, IceBaby.

    Feel free to point a few out.

    >>if you have not participated in true Negotiation, it would be better to remain silent

    I’ve employed people. I’ve been an employee. Am I not allowed to speak? I do not fear being wrong, Sir.

    But I sense you do….

  13. Actually I hadn’t watched the video Frog. :oops:
    Actually I was sacked from a wine waiter job years ago “you were a bit slow in the dining room and there were one or two other things (unspecified)” It could have been that I took some bottles to the kitchen for the chef (as asked) and walked past the owner but didn’t say anything.

  14. The problem with Ice is that it has an isolating, freezout factor.
    Sir (madam) you do a great disservice to all those New Zealanders who have treated employees and employers with due respect and consideration – if you have not participated in true Negotiation, it would be better to remain silent – something about opening your mouth and removing all doubt comes to mind…please tell your shrink you are driven to simultaeneous laughter and tears by an innocuous observation…

  15. frog Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    jh – you mentioned earlier that the Greens don’t see in shades of grey. What a laugh!
    ……………
    What about trade offs and moral hazard as in when good old Chris Kahui fails to use contraception and expects the state to provide etc.

  16. >>The Greens are more to the Centre than either of the two main

    Is there an emoticon “crying with laughter”….. :) I’ve yet hear anything from the Greens that wasn’t to the left of Labours position.

    >>their aims intersect basic Human Rights

    Employers aren’t humans?

  17. Well, unlike a lot of people here, I actually voted Green – yeees, and I’m interested in their welfare – I would recommend all disassociates return to their respective hideouts.
    The Greens are more to the Centre than either of the two main Parties – so go bark at your Master’s back door.
    Sapient; Yes there is a point where the word ‘Unionist’ doesn’t help – their aims intersect basic Human Rights and are increasingly asked to pick up that mantle.
    As it has been cast down – in difficult financial times there is no gain, no calling – it becomes an inability to swallow sh!zen wholesale.

  18. No – nore akin to Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, something that the right wing ideologues have conveniently forgotten was ever written.

  19. “..# big bro Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Philu

    I assume you were this upset about the “snitch/rat/dog” who secretly taped private conversations at the National party conference?..”

    you are talking apples and oranges..

    this scumbag has spent ten years fecking over (supposed) friends..

    ..as i said..

    ..he is a rat..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  20. It would be interesting to hear what goes on behind closed doors of private gatherings on the left. In the national interest, of course.

    If it’s good enough to spy of the Nats…..

    I don’t know about Labour, but the Greens are a pretty open book. I’m sure you could stop by the National Office sometime and have a chat if you liked :P

  21. jh – you mentioned earlier that the Greens don’t see in shades of grey. What a laugh! Our biggest problem is that we do see in shades of grey, not black and white like the big old parties and hence we have trouble communicating the subtleties of our message. Sue’s speech here was, in fact, discussing just the sort of grey area in the legislation that national failed to see – just like with their Kiwisaver policy. Another stupid rort of the system that will no doubt come back to bite them when it gets challenged in the courts. Sue did offer some sensible amendments to fix the grey areas, but national was in too much of a hurry. It will be on their heads!

  22. It was fairly clear that Beef Stock supported the bun enthusiasts in Te Youraweras. Many thought it all a big over reaction untill they read the polite have a davit. Curious…..!

  23. Mark,
    Well sue has managed to get into parliment based mostly on her history as a unionist and the unionist sentiments and naivity that she espouses presently, so evidently though they become discredited the naive fools who support them dismiss any such claims. :P
    While unionists have far less push now than they used to (back when i was a rabid socialist i spent alot of time in discussion of with the most militant of the old generation of unionists) they none-the-less do have significant pushing force, as does any cartel. In the past year or so i can think of several examples of unions totally shuting down operations of companies (or medical and/or education services) for prolonged periods.

  24. This is so spot on!

    tinyurl.com/6gmrk4

    “Left wing activists targeted by the police in an ongoing and controversial domestic intelligence operation have reported that they are ‘greatly relieved’ that information about their massive conspiracy to defraud the Social Welfare Department was not passed on to police by paid informer Rob Gilchrist.

    ‘We would have been totally busted,’ admitted Aro Valley resident Jules Fletcher, a 43 year old sickness beneficiary and tactical intelligence officer of the two man revolutionary cell ‘Tino-rangatiratanga People’s Global Jihad for Social and Environmental Justice Now!’.”

    I’m not even sure it’s satire….. :)

  25. …or maybe you gotta have a real thick Hide…Phil – this type of spying has been proclaimed as ‘legitimate Police work’ this week…keeping an eye on dangerous political thinkers etc etc.

  26. It would be interesting to hear what goes on behind closed doors of private gatherings on the left. In the national interest, of course.

    If it’s good enough to spy of the Nats…..

  27. Philu

    I assume you were this upset about the “snitch/rat/dog” who secretly taped private conversations at the National party conference?

  28. frog..why no comment/story on the snitch/rat/dog who has been informing on greenies/animal rights workers..

    ..for the last decade..?

    ..how ‘deep’ into the green party was he..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  29. Sapient; A few Marxist/Leninist agenda driven trouble-makers for sure…but those get well known and lose cred quick.
    Most Unionists are there because it’s a lousy job that no one else wants to do – I wasn’t aware they had any pull in modern day NZ?
    Regards Mark

  30. Well Unions are largely a memory; but i would say most people fall into the work cos its filthy and no one else is willing to do it…that’s how it was wherever I worked in NZ.
    Must be hard to feel grand when one scrubs the social septic system I would think…..some have far left agendas I guess, but they get famous real quick and the credibility goes…
    I wasn’t aware Unions had any pull any more – they can merely advise on issues of Law – and those who are good at that are getting harder to find.
    Regards Mark

  31. Mark,
    Its about accheiving ballance, but i supose ones view on ballance depends on ones point of view :P .
    I didint say Union Leaders were there for the power or money; in my opinion they are there because they are naive idealists with little understanding of anything substantial who think that what they do accually helps people. That said, im sure there are atleast afew who do have delusions of granduer :P

  32. Sapient! Just as I was goin 2 bed! Yes I see the good sense in this Legislation – as an ex-fat cat I can see a dozen ways to exploit it til Sunday. You think Union Leaders are there for power or money? Time you met some…

  33. It was my understanding that many employers who utilise well built contracts build trial periods into the contracts anyway.
    That and many companies will hire for a set period and then when that period is up only retain the good ones.
    The only businesses ive encountered that dont utilise some variant of this are small busineses as they dont have the money to have complete contracts drawin up, yet they are the ones who need it most.

    The only ones who loose out under this bill are the union leaders such as bradford (i mean seariously; the unemployed workers union?) and the typical union member whom sits on their ar*e doing nothing knowing that the union has their back!

  34. Don’t take ‘sides’ myself Wat. Consider blind alliegance a failure.
    Good luck to your own self – and we’ll have a look early March hey?

  35. Mark,

    Yes, I’d like to discuss dynamic labour markets in three month’s time.

    What I would not like is to follow the European situation when politically powerful labour cartels have led to permanently high levels of unemployment. The only people to benefit from such legislation are politicians and the union leaders themselves.

    As a worker – not a politician or a union leader – a dynamic labour market is best for me.

    So whose side are you on? The workers, or the political elite and the plush union bigwigs?

  36. Nice bill small business needs to be able to fire at will.

    If you don’t understand this you have never owned a small business.

    Of course I take it that the greens don’t actually support small business’s and would rather see us all working in state run labour camps.

  37. Wat woke you up?
    Wanna discuss the ‘dynamic labour market’ in three months time?
    And most curious to know WHO wants to Kontrol us Comrad?
    Last time I saw ‘your freedoms’ they were dissipate and occlused – and I’m loaning you wings in saying so.

  38. As a worker, I know that what’s best for me is a dynamic labour market where employers are not afraid to offer employment, and are equally able to terminate it when circumstances change.

    What is not in my interest is Sue Bradford, the rest of the political elite, and the bosses of labour cartels who fund her, removing my freedom to contract with employers on mutally compatible terms.

    You do not speak for the workers. You speak for those who wish to control us.

  39. If the “fire at will” bill applied to all employers then I would be uncomfortable with it, because there is already a power imbalance between large employers and workers. And large employers are quite likely to fire good workers. Large employers (and educational institutes) are less likely to care what happens to other peoples’ money and will fire workers *because* they are good, if they threaten established power structure.

    But as well as workers, I think we do need to support small businesses, which are getting squeezed by major multinationals, so allowing small businesses to be more flexible does seem reasonable to me (though a business with 20 employees is not exactly small). Small businesses are also less likely to fire good workers because they can’t afford to lose productivity.

    However, I still think the bill should have gone through a select committee. Then everyone could debate finer points such as the threshold size of the business, and the stand down period.

  40. Anyone who has been in the workforce for a while can see both sides of the “Fire at will” Bill. The Greens response is just a kneejerk. Does anyone think Sue Bradford could think flexibly on an issue like this? The Greens are immature just advocate, advocate, advocate . They don’t see trade offs moral hazard or shades of grey.

  41. big bro Says:
    December 15th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    One would have hoped that Sue might have seen this bill as a chance of getting the long term bludgers off the dole or DPB and back into the workforce.
    …………
    Where’s that issue of Property Investor magazine where the landlord is swinging in the hammock?

  42. petequixote – the excitement of the overthrow has caused you to lose your accent! It’s a modern-day miracle. John Key is the messiah!

  43. Well, there is a lot of opposition to the speed of this Government, but with reference to the ninety day legislation, the thing is you either accept that the Employer has the right to Employ someone that suits the specific workforce or you do not.
    There is really no half measure, either the Employee makes the power rules or the Employer.
    Honestly you can never really tell who will be good in your workforce until they come on board.
    Its only old socialist doctrine that says the Employer has to take what is given.
    It is a contradiction in basic human trading and there is no need for a prolonged whinge from Sue B, and Bomber and Trotsky and Trotter.

  44. For a work tested partner to lose their job through misconduct their actions must have seriously breached the contract of employment. Because of this breach there is a 13 weeks stand down.

    Under the fire at will bill a worker can be fired for any reason. So no breach is determined. Yet there could be situations where an employer is entitled to dismiss a worker for misconduct but where the 13-week stand-down would not be imposed. Like when an employer fires an employee at will for no good reason, perhaps. A even if that fails a simple work assessement can get a person off a standdown.

    So Sue is not entirely correct.

  45. @john-ston:

    Select committee hearings on a variant of the bill is better than nothing, but not really good enough. Has this new bill taken into consideration the results of those select committee hearings? Are there changes that cause loopholes/problems? (I’m assuming here that a possible 13 week stand-down after dismissal is not actually the intent of the bill).

    I was prepared to give the new government the benefit of the doubt (including the Maori party was a positive if unexpected sign), but passing bills complex under unnecessary urgency while at the same time creating uncertainty about the future of the ETS suggests that they are not in fact acting in our interests.

  46. Y’know I’m actually curious to see how this one works out. My opinion is that it is not a good move, but I’m not going to go all negative on it until I’ve seen what happens. Some of Key’s instincts have been spot on, and maybe he’s dead right with this one.

    What I would like though is IRD to put a page up on their web site so you can query the hire ‘n fire practices of every employer in the land. It would require little work from IRD boffins, no additional work for employers, and would instantly allow a propspective employee to determine if a job is worth the trouble of applying for, or the chances are that you’ll be looking for another job in 89 days time.

  47. “Except in Labour’s case, select committee hearings actually took place.”

    If I recall, a variant of this bill passed its first reading in the last term, only to fail in the second reading. Thus we did have select committee hearings.

  48. This bill will decrease the risk associated with new employees and as such will increase the tendancy of business to hire new people which they may potentialy not be able to afford to pay in three months time or who have little previous experiance in that area of expertise. A increase in willingness to employ will slow the decline of the economy and ensure not only that fewer jobs are lost but that the economy rebounds sooner; this is sound economic and social policy.
    It will benefit the unemployed as not only will it decrease their numbers and thus increase the number of tax payers able to support them, but it means that those whom would normally be opposed to hirning someone whos been on the dole for a prolonged time (so pretty much every business person) would be more willing to take the associated risk.
    The ideolouges need to put a sock in it; there is no such thing as workers rights when there are no workers, and there is no such things as beneficiary rights when there is no source of income to support them.

  49. >>there is no justification for passing this under urgency whatsoever,

    We’re facing a global economic crisis and a freeze of the labour market. In the next few months.

    It IS urgent.

  50. Hiring is a big risk for small businesses. They often don’t hire outside their comfort zone, and are willing to sacrifice expansion rather than face the cost associated with a bad hire.

    The bill will help reduce that risk, and lead to more people being hired. No small business is going to hire and fire on 90 day cycles just for fun – it costs too much to do so.

    The only people who need worry are “workers” who take the p***.

  51. nomo

    A long term bludger should have no choice in the matter (and soon will not have).
    No employer is going to sack a good worker after 90 days, if the bludger continues his or her lazy ways then perhaps they should not be eligible for any benefit.

    I have zero compassion for the thousands of people who make no effort to find a job, frankly I could not care less about them, if a worker is bad or does not make the effort there should be no consultative process at all, any employer who has had to put up with these people in the past will tell you they are a drain on the business and put at risk the jobs of those who do do a decent days work.

  52. also BB, why would a long term beneficiary want to go into an employment arrangement which offers no assurance of it lasting more than 90 days and will make that person inelligible to go back on the dole if it doesn’t work out. if it does contribute to getting people off the dole, it is more likely to put them in a far worse situation.

    I know you have no compassion for those who aren’t as lucky as you to have some degree of security and control of your employment status but this bill takes away all assurance of fair treatment for someone coming off the dole into paid employment. this is a difficult enough transition for anyone without having any rights to fair treatment removed by a non-consultative process of dictatorial law-making.

    there is no justification for passing this under urgency whatsoever, regardless of its merits or lack thereof…

  53. ……. dead right dbuckley, as unemployement raises the longterm unemployed will be joined by a whole lot of short term ones who will also be the first to get off the dole when things pick up or they find work.

    …………. and big bro should be well aware that any ‘work for the dole’ scheme is very expensive and would directly counter Key and Hide’s plans to cut wasteful govt spending.

    ah dear never mind …………. nice dream for you big bro ?

  54. Interesting.

    My guess is that unemployment will rise dramatically, and the bludgers will stay exactly where they are; those keen and able towork will be picked first by any propspective employer. And the 90 day thing wont change that a bit.

  55. dbuckley

    “I’m curious as to why BB thinks this bill will get “the long term bludgers off the dole”…?”

    Under the current social welfare system it will not get long term bludgers off the dole….BUT, when the law is changed to force long term bludgers out into the work force it will be a big help.

    Even the liberal left will start to ask questions about long term bludgers as the economy tightens.
    This may well be the start of a work for the dole scheme, if so it cannot come soon enough.

  56. A link to the paper in Sue’s hand would be a lot more useful than an embedded youtube clip.

    I’m curious as to why BB thinks this bill will get “the long term bludgers off the dole”…?

  57. One would have hoped that Sue might have seen this bill as a chance of getting the long term bludgers off the dole or DPB and back into the workforce.

    Seems she is not bothered about that at all.

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