Tuesday, March 01, 2005

about time

The news that the EPMU is pushing for at least 5 percent wage increases is welcomed and timely. Economic growth should result in higher wages - not workers who are increasingly productive without the financial rewards. If business wants to run at a profit, why can't workers who actually make that profit get the rewards - or are shareholders more important than workers?

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barrett said any wage increases must be linked to increased productivity.

The problem is that increased productivity is not leading to increased wages, it's leading to increased payouts to executives, shareholders - and to the government in company tax - off the backs of employees. The economy has grown by twice the rate of increased labour costs and it is about time that workers took some of that back in a time of low employment.

Naturally, National has called for tax cuts, which means the higher your income the more you`ll get. It is to be remembered that the only cuts National has made to wage and tax structures is to the less fortunate - beneficaries in the 1991 benefit cuts.

Tax cuts also mean the tax payer pays for the increased living standards rather than the employer. Of course employers just love that, the worker gets more take home pay and the shareholders don't lose out.

But then, isn't tax-payer funded living standards what is Labour's Working for Families is about? Labour has always wanted the tax payer to pay for increased living standards for those who need these standards to be lifted. It's called Socialism. Then again, Labour is not one for increasing pay rates in the public service - even when productivity has increased - without aggressive work by the PSA. And if there were 30 000 judges in New Zealand judges wouldn’t get their hefty increases either.

Labour would rather the employers in the private sector carry the responsibility for increased wages. That’s because it is the taxpayers that are paying for increased wages in the public sector/service, and tax-payer funded social services are more important to the Government than wages in the public sector.

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