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

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

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.

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