Tighter, fair deals must for dairying
A Waikato dairy farmer, Sue McKay, who runs a private facebook group for dairy farmers, has had many private messages from both employers and employees about ‘‘dodgy’’ employers and employees and concerns about firing or leaving mid-season. She is also co
Are there more workers and contractors getting dodgy deals and more bosses getting dodgy workers this season, or has the prevalence of social media just made it more obvious? We are in the greatest industry, with more knowledge sharing and information than any other, and the potential for a great income stream, yet we hear these sorry tales over and over.
Before I continue and some of you get all up in arms and become keyboard warriors about how negative I am and how you are the best boss or worker ever, I need to put a clear disclaimer. This is a generalisation and attack on the not- so- great side to our industry as far as employment goes.
I have a full inbox of sorry tales and people with problems on both sides of the fence.
What I also know is we are going to need to attract and keep more people and in significant numbers. Quite frankly we have a shoddy reputation as employers.
Let’s stop this culture and fear of leaving a shoddy boss or sending a dodgy worker on their way.
We can deal with employment issues but not unless we make changes. This fallacy of ‘I can’t leave midseason because it will look bad on my CV’; I say it’s bollocks. That worker that is smashing your gear, beating your cows, or turns up intoxicated is costing you dearly. Until we get rid of this belief that we can’t do anything until May 31 or its going to cost me a fortune, we will continue to have these issues. Sometimes writing a cheque to be rid of the problem is the cheapest and best alternative. Get legal advice before you hire and get a solid contract (not necessarily using Federated Farmers).
Now I am not condoning employers who get rid of staff mid- season and the huge numbers using the 90 day rule, for cost cutting reasons. Those employers quite frankly suck.
Sharemilking jobs are now more often than not being used as a pathway to take the risk-high labour and/or animal health costs and shoddy infrastructure. When there is a problem? ‘‘It’s not up to me to sort it. I pay them to do that’’. Really?
There is a clear lack of agricultural- experienced mediators. Costs are, high waits long and the mediator can’t make a decision if the parties can’t.
We need something solely employment and dairy focused with lawyers and mediators available, with tight and very explicit contracts. And we need to fund this ourselves via membership, not be reliant on sponsors. I would love someone to get off their butt and create it!
I want to see my inbox full of people buzzing with the excitement; they just bought their first cows, have the best bunch of people working for them, the cows are pumping and they just managed a weekend off.
There is enough money in this dairy industry for us all to have a great future. Instead of greed being the destroyer, let’s focus on being fair and reasonable and looking after each other to grow a bright future.
ANNOYED: Waikato dairy farmer Sue McKay has concerns about her industry.