A Chorus of Casualties
This week we’ve seen an investigation, and unusually, a joint investigation, into Chorus by IRD and employment authorities.
It follows on the back of news last week that two major media interests have not been granted permission to merge (The actual decision wasn’t available but if anyone does see it, a link would be a handy resource)
In a small country, that otherwise wouldn’t allow protected industry situations, men have a problem.
When free market rules cannot apply in an insulated operation, then we must expect to see consideration given to the means and not simply the end product of any participating company.
It is the use and treatment of immigrant labour that has triggered the investigation. My experience of this is around minimum wage manipulation by working more hours than is declared or underpaying the minimum rate, and while this is sometimes by agreement with immigrants either way it undermines the tax take.
While we shouldn’t be unconcerned about immigrant men being treated as slave labour we shouldn’t ignore what was the existing problem.
The fixed rate contracts that Chorus enforces constrain small business operators to unrealistic market conditions. The trading as Kiwi can do, cannot function under these conditions. Any good keen man, trying to meet HIS compliance requirements, while not screwing over his fellow Kiwi employees, is not likely to have a sucessful business.
If he doesn’t pull the plug soon enough, then these live-in-hope situations end in receivership and bankruptcy.
This doesn’t provide a stable environment in either business or socially for relationships and families.
For the enterprising man it is another situation in disguise. When the big building company goes belly up, you see it all at once. Here, it is a slow motion rolling stone, that is still a destructive environment for subbies but it doesn’t make the news.
The situation has gone on long enough to contribute a subsequent problem, and what will not be investigated is where this started and how it initially affected Kiwi small business operators and employees.
Where it might have affected woman, was probably the partner/mother sitting at home doing the paperwork.