There’s been a lot of flak about Alasdair Thompson’s comments last week (and rightly so). He’s shown the worst side of the business codgerati. Business organisations and right-wing acolytes like Jenny Shipley have been distancing themselves big time. The organisation he heads, the Employers and Manufacturing Association (Northern) is having a Board meeting tomorrow to decide his future.
The Sunday Star Times editorial says today that “it’s reminded us silly we used to be” and how this kind of standard sexism was once standard in New Zealand politics and business…….“it’s so 1950’s.”
The SST goes on to say :
“But we should not be too complacent about this. If bosses have become more enlightened and workplaces more friendly to women and minorities, in some ways they are more worker-unfriendly than they used to be…… in some ways workers have less power to push for change than they had in the 1950’s. Some employers think this is fine; they regard unions as obstacles to commercial progress. That is about as crass a stereotype as the one about the skiving menstruators.”
That is so true and well done to the SST for nailing this. While every business organisation now spouts their policies on equal employment opportunity, flexible working hours, work life balance and their opposition to discrimination their prejudices are still there for all to see among many of them.
Every time there’s talk about giving workers more bargaining power or strengthening their rights, the codgerati are out there, saying “it’s a return to the past” or “it’s going to ruin us”.
Witness the reaction to the $15 minimum wage and ACT’s backward looking ideas that youth rates are going to solve youth unemployment.
Still a long way to go.