Andrew Dickens: We need to remember we're in this battle together

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Apr 2020, 12:48PM
Bosses need to be fair when dealing with redundancy. (Photo / 123RF)

Andrew Dickens: We need to remember we're in this battle together

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Apr 2020, 12:48PM

Day 12 and things are getting real.

People are losing their jobs and people are worried about losing their homes. For many it's a surprise as to just how close to the edge their businesses and jobs were.

Budget advisors have always warned that too many New Zealanders were only one wage packet away from insolvency and we're seeing this happen, from individuals and families through businesses and corporations. And it took just 12 days.

It took just a week to kill magazines. Magazines and periodicals are very vulnerable all the time. They have to pay their staff to write the stories. Then they have to pay the printers. Then a punter has to buy the product and only then can they bill the advertisers. Magazines and community papers were dead in the water pretty much as soon as the government decided that they weren't an essential service.

A friend of mine runs a monthly community magazine. She was just about to distribute the April issue when the lockdown hit. She's got 12,000 copies sitting in her garage. No money to pay a month's worth of costs.

It makes a mockery of the claim that Bauer offered the government their business for $1 as a going concern. Because it wasn't a going concern. Otherwise they would have made a go of it. But that's because they're German and they're not in this with us. They're in it for themselves.

Which brings me to my point. We're all in this together so let's spread the pain.

If your business is going to the wall then remember your employees are going to the wall too. So be fair. Our redundancy laws on compensation and notice are loose. They merely prescribe that employers act in good faith and reasonably. So act in good faith and be reasonable and strike a deal that, while still heartbreaking for everyone, is the fairest you can do. Because we're all in this together.

If you're asking for staff to cut their wages do it fairly. I was impressed by Mediaworks solution. CEO Michael Anderson has the company's workers to take a voluntary pay cut of 15 percent. The executive team is taking a 20 percent pay cut, he would be taking a 25 percent pay cut, and the Board will take a 50 percent pay cut.

Because the guys at the top of the tree can wear it. A 25 per cent cut to people being paid a million means they still getting 750k but a 25 per cent cut to, say, a Newshub trainee on 40 grand is a death knell. And make it temporary. To give us hope. Because we're all in this together

And finally, buy New Zealand. It amazes me that Kiwis are online buying buying clothes and stuff made in Australia during lockdown. Buy from New Zealanders. So what if they can't deliver today. The lockdown won't last forever. So you'll get your blouse or your sneakers in a month, and you'll have helped keep a New Zealand business and a New Zealand business owner and New Zealand families last a little bit longer

It's your duty. Because we're all in this together.