On Q&A yesterday, Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said regarding their planned – and thoroughly rebuffed by the community – wharf extensions:
“I don’t think we’re arrogant as a company. That’s not part of our values. I think we’ve really engaged with the public”
The first two sentences are outright falsehoods, and the third only makes sense in a world where “engaged with” means “leaked confidential information to” and “the public” means “Cameron Slater.”
And yes, Tony Gibson was the CEO of Ports of Auckland during the 2012 lockout of its workers, in a hamfisted attempt to force its workers to become contractors, degrade their pay and conditions, run out the clock on their collective agreement, and possibly even open the Port up for privatisation.
And if you want to talk about arrogance – how about the arrogance of a company which spent $33 million to lock out its workers and attempt to break the union, an unnecessary waste of money which put POAL’s books in the red?
If none of that meets Tony Gibson’s personal definition of “arrogance”, I’d hate to see what did.
A classic National Party campaign poster did the rounds on Twitter following Farrar’s latest round of “Labour is now the extreme left” scaremongering.
What’s funny is how little the right’s tactics have changed in 60 years. Even today, you get employers telling their workers that they’re very concerned that the unions they belong to are greedy leviathans run from shadowy smoke-filled rooms by men with Stalinist moustaches. The rhetoric is still about scary unions forcing innocent businesses to close their doors as the hardworking General Manager Corporate Affairs weeps into his tie.
The fairly simple logic – that it doesn’t really benefit unions if their members go out of work – is usually lost on people like Farrar. Many unions have in fact been key parts of helping businesses to lift productivity and innovate and create even more jobs.
Of course workers, and the unions who represent them, get a little stroppy when employers do things like try to take away guaranteed tea breaks and leak workers’ personal information to hate-bloggers like Cameron Slater, but that’s hardly socialism gone mad. That’s recognising basic concepts like fairness, safety, and integrity.
And those things are pretty scary, if you think the only important thing in the world is short-term profit.