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Mike's Minute: The wage gravy train can't last forever

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Nov 2022, 9:28AM

Mike's Minute: The wage gravy train can't last forever

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Nov 2022, 9:28AM

One of life's lessons is that the more things swing one way, the greater the eventual correction.

McLeod Transport in the Bay of Plenty are looking at becoming landlords because they can't get workers.

The broadest of questions once again has to be asked of the Government.

Just how badly do they want to cripple business and constrain the economy with their mad immigration policy? How many examples of extreme madness do they need before they work out they’ve got it horribly wrong?

But back to the here and now. McLeod is arguing housing and labour are the biggest business killers. They can't get people, and if they can, they can't afford a house. So, the employer is now looking at being a landlord.

Sleepyhead in Waikato is sort of doing the same sort of thing with their mass development, some groups like Police and Defence have done it for years, you will find it a bit in rural New Zealand on far-flung properties and businesses.

But the overall picture here is that these past few years have seen an astonishing swing towards the employee and their so-called rights, and more worryingly, their expectations.

We have four-day weeks, endless nods to the new age, office "activations,” work from home, more money, more leave, more inducements, sign on bonuses, and now apparently housing.

Heads up, it won't last.

When I started work, too many employers were bastards. The power was in the other camp, and you were lucky to have work. Restructure was ongoing, jobs and layoffs were regular events, and there was an air of fear and trepidation.

They always told you there was no pay rise and to be grateful you had a pay cheque.

Quite rightly, we resented that.

In theory, the trick is to strike a balance. A quid pro-quo. Good people are looked after and rewarded, .and good people work hard for their bosses.

And in more recent times, we have roughly headed in that direction. Things have been, in my experience anyway, vastly more cordial and professional.

But Covid has tipped it and workers are taking the mickey. They are milking it. And it won't, and can't, last.

The shame of it is, when it stops, how many of those that have enjoyed the largesse of the past few years will get a shock? How many have become entitled by default and will not know what's hit them? How many milked it and in doing so ruined it, ultimately, for everyone else?

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