Food company Talleys is embroiled in an industrial dispute that has the potential to cripple its business, and there seems to be no prospect of a resolution any time soon.
But for once I agree with the unions. Talleys need to get their act together. This is no way to treat a workforce.
The unions complain that Talleys act in bad faith, bully staff, run unsafe workplaces, and go out of their way to stifle any criticism of their operations.
And now the unions are calling for a boycott of Talleys’ products.
This was entirely avoidable. The company got itself into this mess through bad management. You see, this is what happens when you go soft on your slaves.
It’s all very well to bully and intimidate, but it has to be done right. Legal threats and shutouts are symptomatic of a management that lacks spine. Where are the floggings and beatings? Why aren’t dissenters being more vigorously persecuted?
When a slave steps out of line, for example by asking to be paid, or to work in a safe environment, it can affect morale. Pretty soon others will start asking to be treated with respect, dignity and humanity. Before you know it you’ve got trouble, and all because you spared the rod, or the whip, or the cross.
The Romans understood this point, and the Romans ran a successful little empire for quite a few centuries. They were pretty good at keeping their workers in line, and apart from a few hundred years of chaos, civil war, and internecine violence that left millions dead, the Romans ran a pretty tight ship.
The thing some people don’t seem to understand is that workplaces are meant to be unsafe. If workers aren’t constantly in fear for their safety, then their employer is doing something wrong. Nothing can be more damaging to productivity than a complacent and comfortable workforce.
I actually have some sympathy for calls to boycott Talleys products. No, don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly turned into a unionist. How could I, when the unions have been to blame for some of the most terrible atrocities of the last century? Things like the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick leave, workplace safety laws, and the 40 hour working week.
But if Talleys won’t take a firm hand with their slaves, then I won’t eat their products. I refuse to eat any fish meal that hasn’t been seasoned with human tears.
Destroy the left, not each other
It distresses me to see so much dissension on the right. Why are so many good people suddenly suing each other?
While Colin Craig, Cameron Slater, Jordan Williams and others have been firing legal threats at each other, the forces of darkness have been gathering.
While these guys took their eyes off the ball, John Campbell was allowed to take a new job. A woman had an opinion that wasn’t her husband’s. Carrick Graham even had to use his own name on a blogpost he wrote. God only knows what the poor in this country might currently be scheming.
Guys, we need you back in the game. We need every bit of Colin’s money, Jordan’s cynicism, and Cam’s nastiness, if we are going to win the battle against science, the Enlightenment and progress.
Muzza was right to muzzle the lawyers
People are being way too tough on Murray McCully. We should be praising him for coming up with a novel solution to a difficult problem.
McCully was right to keep the lawyers out of his deal with the Saudi businessman. The problem with lawyers is that they’re so much into their legal thing that they sometimes fail to see the bigger picture. You know what would have happened if he’d got the lawyers in on this? They’d have trotted out all the usual things lawyers say, like “seriously, this Saudi guy hasn’t any sort of legal case, so why are we paying him?” or “no, that’s simply not lawful,” or “what you are proposing looks to me like corruption”, or even “Jesus Christ, we don’t pay bribes! What the fuck were you thinking?”
He kept the lawyers out, and he got a deal. And now we have a magnificent agrihub in the middle of the Arabian desert. That vast and arid land offers so much opportunity for growth. Think of the potential gains we could make if we could only train our sheep to eat sand instead of grass.
And the point people are missing here is that McCully got a great deal for New Zealand. There was a free trade agreement on the table, and a disgruntled Saudi businessman was getting in the way. Now that problem has disappeared and we finally have our free trade agreement.
Wait, we do actually have a free trade agreement with the Saudis now, don’t we? I’m sure we do. We must now, surely. Wasn’t that the whole point?