Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Florence Coen tells the story of how she was unfairly dismissed under John Key's new 90 day law


Auckland Fairness at Work Rallies 21 & 22 August

Auckland * Wellington * Christchurch * Dunedin

Auckland 1pm, Saturday 21st August QE2 Square (bottom of Queen St, opposite Britomart)

Wellington 1pm, Saturday 21st August Civic Square

Christchurch 1pm, Saturday 21st August Cathedral Square

Dunedin 11am, Sunday 22nd August Assemble at Dental School, Great King Street March to rally at the Octagon

Proposed changes to employment legislation will affect your rights and conditions at work. Help prevent these changes!


Blogger AngonaMM said...

when the 90 day law came in the govt hadn't been in for long. I thought it would be a good idea if it applied to them too. We might have got rid of them before a few months were out.

8:28 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Excellent point Bill!

8:47 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

In my life (I'm 62 - so a lot of jobs, mostly labouring etc or in factories (but I have also had a few of my own businesses) so I know how these guys and the unions work or don't work - about as many as my years!!) I have been sacked from a lot of jobs sometimes quite rightly. But in other cases quite wrongly and in the wrong way.

I had a job in 1970 at Beacon Radio, then in Ponsonby, who made electronic parts. Now my ex also got a job there and friend and some others. We all got the sack. O.k. my ex used to shit stir, but there was definite policy of simply sacking people to keep other employees on their toes.

I've been sacked from other jobs and usually it is in the same way or manner that the young woman said - although in some cases I was glad to go!

More recently, in living memory! - I took a job with a cabling company setting up a computer system. I was a bit unfamiliar with their cables and some equipment etc used and so on. Now I was told when I started by one employee that I could well get the sack as this company quite frequently and arbiatrily sacked people. He actually had hepled start the company. He said they were "Gunning for him." He was sacked while I was there.

The strange thing was there was little communication with me - I had a small business myself at the time and perhaps they saw me as a rival - but there was a kind of eerie silence. (As described in the video here). No feedback about the job. Then after two weeks - same as thsi young woman - I was told I had the sack - no real reason - some spurious reasons.

I phoned the Union at the time -but I have to say my experience of union is that in the main they are useless.

In many cases they are in league with the bosses as they get perks. Many see Union work as a way to get advancement (via the back steps so to speak) - or they join the Labour Party or whatever.

In this case the Union - instead of backing me simply said - "They [the employers] said you were useless."

A that time in my life - this was 1988 - I was not in a good "space" as they say - and I was devastated.

Certainly my business wasn't doing well and the effect of it added to my general bad feeling and I went into a dive shall we say...and a lot of bad things came from it. (Some were not related to this incident-and it must be added I let this affect me too much).

So I understand how she felt. She is clearly very intelligent. Nothing wrong with her.

In my view the procedure should be 1) to give verbal warning or comment on performance etc 2) if things are still not good - give a letter explaining reasons for the problems (and work on them as soon as possible) 3) then another letter etc

But it is far beter for an employer to work with an employee than play these kinds of games. For many people it is a power game -they love the sheer power of being able to do this. They are like Nazis. They play with people -psychologically wound or even try to annihilate them. There are some really sick people out there running businesses - and running the Government.

No human being is "useless" - and yet my employer and the union asid evry strongly that that was that I was.

Not all unions are this bad and nor are all employers. Some are very enlightened and humane.

This way of operating is really wrong and can be very destructive and hurtful. (One can see some people committing suicide or homicide as result - quite understandable.)

But it also is not good for the company or business concerned. It is really bad business practice and it is also inhuman.

9:41 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

There is another, simpler reason, BTW.

Some Employers simply are unable to communicate to their employees. They simply have no training in dealing with personnel.

It is THEY who in fact have the "something wrong with them" ...

It can be as basic as that.

Added to this or indicated by it in many cases they are simply quite incompetent.

The 90 day rule is quite meaningless it seems to me arbitrary. There needs to be for some kind of procedure dealing with employers and employee training schemes are not in place.

In no way does any thing like this benefit business.
In cases of real incompetency or silly or really bad attitudes or unreliability etc there are already ways of dealing with that.

Good things you are doing Skyler!

9:51 pm  
Blogger Dr Jack Ross said...

This is a heartbreaking story - almost as cruel and devastating as the other one you posted a few days ago, Skyler. What this new extension of the 90-day law is doing is validating communication failure as an acceptable - almost an inevitable - way of running a business. How can it be possible that no explanation whatsoever needs to be tendered for a dismissal under these rules? Doesn't that violate every principle of fairness and human rights we all fondly imagined had been written into our laws? Hasn't blatant racism, sexism and ageism now been given carte blanche by this legislation? I spit on the pitiful toadies who argue that a few casualties such as these are acceptable "collateral damage" (some prime examples in the comments file over at Chris Trotter's site ...)

10:46 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

You are absolutely right Jack - this Bill gives employers all the power. If the new 90-day Fire at Will law goes through employees could be sacked for no reason and with no explanation - this is not a fair process.

Workers will also feel afraid to
raise issues with their employer about working conditions, or poor safety, or even ask for a decent pay rise - they'll think twice because they don’t want to put themselves in the firing line.

Making people easier to fire undermines ALL ones rights at work.

Let's help spread the word about the March on Saturday and hope that lots of people speak out against these changes so the government will have to listen.

Yes, Chris Trotter has lots of good posts over at his blog: http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2010/07/defeat-is-not-option.html

12:15 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

See Chris Professor "square the circle" big History Man Trotter - a quick reply to Professor Dr Jack but no reply to this silly old man...

I don't count I am old and no one listens to the old.

These Liberal Academics have agendas and
theories but no real work experience...

The fact that I have actually worked at the coal face is irrelevant - actually done work amongst real workers!!

10:50 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

Hi Richard, it's sad you had a bad experience with your union and your employer. I do think that unions made some mistakes in the past especially in the 90's when they were under so much threat. I do feel in general now that unions are doing the best for workers - well, in my opinion I see unions as me and my colleagues working together and supporting each other, with the help of the paid organisers, to make our working conditions better. I like being in a union because I don't feel alone and if I have a problem I know I will have support. I'm sorry you didn't get that from your union Richard - I think that is not the norm now though.

It's important that all employers communicate with their employees in good faith and that they give employees a fair go. They must communicate with their workers and let them know if there are any problems with their performance etc and give them a chance to fix any issues. They must give their employees support too and the tools to do the job well. It sounds to me as if you didn't get the support you needed Richard and there wasn't any communication between you and your employer.

That's why it is important to oppose the 90 day law which will allow employers to fire people at will with no explanation and no process to follow that would give an employee a chance to correct anything.

I see that the 90 day bill passed its first reading in parliament yesterday :-( Hope to see you at the rally tomorrow!

9:50 am  
Blogger Richard said...

"It sounds to me as if you didn't get the support you needed Richard and there wasn't any communication between you and your employer."

I cant hardly ever recall communicating particularly with any employer - one simply got the sack and that was that in my time.
And there was virtually no communication with ANY Unions. They were on the side of the bosses.

Mostly they still are.

As I say it was waste of time trying to get help from the Unions. Nothing new with National's policies I have seen all of this before.

Remember I was working for many years in many occupations. I was in fact Union delegate at one stage.

I've seen all this and much worse before.

I have to say that the only "success" I ever saw was certain individuals who were able to "work the system" and use their intelligence to outwit their employers....but more of that anon.

Nowadays I would not be quite so intimidated but I was a very quiet young fellow most of my working life.

And the Unions worked with Labour to betray the working class in 1985... I eventually lost my job,..o.k. I could have reapplied fro it...but many others didn't have that choice... that was the idiot Lange and Roger Douglas other other xyzs in the Labour Party.

We were all told by the Unions to vote for Labour who then betrayed the workers.

In theory Unions are good - in practice they are useless.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The unions falsely channel the powerful creative forces of the working class away from explosive, violent, bloody, musical and multicoloured revolution. In this way they are the most powerful reactionary forces of all.

I am in favour of insane reactions by workers to take over factories and destroy and destroy and explode with energy and innovative joy - not this whimpery union econometric stuff - explosions we want.

7:38 pm  

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