We've seen a series of news articles filled with woe-is-me "employers" in the primary industries (fishing, strawberries, asparagus, etc.) of late. The story is always the same. They cannot get their harvests in because the evil government is keeping them from importing workers and they cannot get the skilled and cheap labor they need locally because kiwis are lazy and unqualified.
With their focus on the short work period, the RSE staff worked the two-to-three month picking season with seven-day working weeks and working days that begin at dawn and finish on dark.
Hiring local staff meant juggling domestic and lifestyle responsibilities, and often social issues stemming from areas where regular work hadn't existed for decades. The working days were shorter which meant fewer courgettes got picked.
Heap said the productivity differences between RSE workers and local workers was enormous. He needed at least two New Zealanders to do the work of one RSE worker, and the churn of local workers was huge.
"My labour costs are through the roof. I believe if I'm in business I have the right to do the best that I can. I'm not allowed to do that at the moment."
Turns out that you can't make as much money when you are not allowed to exploit your workers. Clearly, this is not unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. We see this in these kinds of industries all over the world. As the saying goes, just because it is common does not make it right. Having the arrogance to dog whistle about social issues is downright disgusting.
Somehow, he seems to think that we should trust a cheapskate to properly quarantine his employees. Yeah, nah.
In the article linked below, Mr. Heap claims that:
The thing that's hard to handle for me is the dishonesty from Government and the lack of effort.
In actual fact, the government was very clear with Mr. Heap back in May. Just how much effort did Mr. Heap put in to finding an alternate solution during a time of pandemic? We're all making sacrifices. Is there some reason that he's special? Maybe he is. He was one who made good use of the RSE scheme in the early days -- transforming the industry from using illegal workers to legal workers. Unfortunately, the article does not describe how he improved working conditions for those workers.
Maybe Mr. Heap (and others like him) will do us all a favour and go out of business. That would open up opportunities for other people that could perhaps employ their neighbors and help uplift the communty they live in.
See further this and this.
Oh, and this just in.
#PrimaryIndustries #Poverty #Labour #Exploitation