Monday, 22 October 2007

The Eight Hour Day dunking

Those who aren't self employed are allowed a public holiday today. The Sunday Star Times gave a brief history yesterday of the campaign to introduce the Eight Hour Day, pointing out that, as a central part of that campaign, recalcitrant tradesmen and workers who refused to comply with campaigners' demands to cease work at the appointed time risked "being dunked in the harbour."

Thus did the the local labour movement adopt the imposition of force against others as a weapon of policy right from the beginning of the country's industrialisation -- and that it was other workers rather than the "ruling classes" who were being threatened rather punctures the traditional story of class conflict.

UPDATE 1: Lindsay Mitchell points out an obvious truth to today's labour movement activists who still want to use force to stop people working:
New Zealanders work too hard, whines Labour MP Darien Fenton. If Darien stopped to think about it Labour gave us the expansive welfare state. Fifty years ago Labour refused to entertain warnings that some New Zealanders would take advantage of universal taxpayer-funded benefits. Fifty years ago under 5,000 working age people relied on the state, mostly invalids and widows. Today the number is around 260,000 or ten percent of the working age population.

Does it occur to Darien that some New Zealanders are going to have to work harder to support those that chose not to?
UPDATE 2: Cactus Kate reflects on who will want Nanny State to stay the fuck out of how many hours they work and who won't, and why any moves by Nanny to force the issue will only make things worse for those she claims to help. In the interests of "a wider audience," she's "dumbed down any economic theoretical references" for ya.


  1. I was pondering that aspect of self-employement this morning and also again this afternoon as I watched my neighbour make silage.

  2. I hate that arrogant blue collar bludger scum bag attitude."We have a right to work on our terms"! the scum bleat....oh really...? Ok so lets eliminate the employers who create jobs for you and see how well off you are....pathetic bludger,whining second hand filth!

    Yes I'm pissed off and aggro...can't you tell...?


  3. And the lefty spokeswoman threatens that REGULATIONS may be proposed to force compliance with the 40hr week. Isn't that just typical of this interventionist crowd, the sooner they are gone the better.

    No wonder manufacturers are moving overseas. What contributes to the higher NZ production costs are the Trade Unions demanding shorter hours / imposing Laila Harre-inspired stoppages without reason / raising the minimum wage.

  4. Reminds me of a situation not so long ago.

    A friend of mine had a business. There were three workers and an apprentice working for him. One day this guy from the union turns up and denands a stop-work meeting. He also demands that my friend not be present inside his own building when the meeting is held.

    After the meeting the union man deigns to inform my friend that there shall be a new pay scale and he is to pay the other guys extra money and give them more perks (list supplied). My friend explains to the union man that if the overheads of the business are increased to satisfy his demands the busines will be unprofitable. In that case he'd be better off geting a job working for someone else himself. The union guy said he heard it all before, comply or else.

    The workers were now "unionised". Worse was that according to union man the suppliers were "unionised" (which turned out to be true enough- the management of those businesses said they would not be assisting him in the even of union "action"). Even his transport and cartage supplier was "unionised".

    When the union man returned to see if his demands were being met my friend challenged him to walk out into the workshop and explain to the guys why they'd be losing their jobs when the business closed. The union guy said, "That's you're problem." So my friend closed his business a few days later. He explained the reasons to his employees, giving everyone a lesson in economics during his farewell speach.

    When the guys got upset and complained, he asked them where they were when union man was making threats and demands "on their behalf." They were all silent then, happy enough to see what they could get - opportunists all! Now when they didn't like how things were going, they suddenly decided to speak up. Too late!

    My friend has been buying up properties and selling them to Asian investors ever since. He makes much more money for less effort and reckons that another five million immigrants from Hong Kong can't arrive soon enough (for a lot of reasons he wants to see Kiwi culture extinguished).

    Lately he has become "non-resident". He says that has major advantages for him. What has been accoplished is that a productive business has ceased to provide and a productive man has been driven away. A recipe for long-term prosperity and success for the workers!


  5. Typical Example Of A Trade Union Ballot..

    "Let's take a vote on whether to strike...all the loyal union men over here, and all the scabs over there.."

  6. LGM, the story is a good example of when the unproductive members of the society start telling the productives that they must seek a permission in order to produce for their business, then you know that the business is fucked.

  7. James, prior to becoming an MP courtesy of the list; (short of standing in Porirua, she'd never have won a seat under FPP - too unlovely); this witch was a union delegate for years. She was born to bludge.

    Clark's response on the radio yesterday was equally irritating & political to the max; something like: "It's not something we'd entertain ... but Labour Day is a good time to raise such issues".

    She dismissed it on the one hand while giving on the other, technically non-committal without upsetting her own. But it was a cute 5 second soundbite - with, typically, no journalistic counter-comment whatsoever.



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