Theo Spierings: salary of $160,000 per week; $32,000 per ‘working’ day

by Don Franks

Not everyone admires the bloke but I believe Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings is due some appreciation.

If we have eyes to see it, Theo’s done us a favour.

This kiwi dairy worker has jumped into the headlines, not for what he’s done or not done at the office but on account of the size of his pay packet. A total of $8.32 million in 2017, a 78.5 per cent increase  from last year.

Theo Spierings’ earnings are made up of a $2.46m base salary, superannuation benefits of $170,036, a short-term incentive payment of $1.832m and a long-term incentive payment of $3.855m, the co-operative’s latest annual report shows.

Twenty-three other Fonterra executives received up to $1m for their efforts, five of those have recently left the firm, possibly feeling a bit deprived at their loss of relativity.

So what favour has Theo Spierings done us New Zealanders who can’t afford as much cream and butter as we’d like to put on the table?

The Fonterra boss stands as a reminder of several important truths. A reminder that  Read the rest of this entry »

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Bosses, not robots, lay off workers

The article below is taken from the French revolutionary workers’ journal Lutte de Classe (Class Struggle).  It was translated by members of the US revolutionary group The Spark.

French Socialist Party presidential candidate Benoît Hamon justified his proposal for a universal guaranteed income by citing the “inevitable disappearance of work.” Referencing the growing role of digital technology and robots, which he believes are going to cause the destruction “of hundreds of thousands of jobs in Western economies,” he also proposed to create a tax on robots. The deputies of the European Parliament, for their part, debated last January about the need to require businesses to “publish the extent and the share of the contributions of robotics… to their financial outcomes, for the purposes of taxation and determining the amount of their social security contributions” (Les Échos, January 13, 2017).

The idea that human labor will be replaced by machines and robots, and that we are heading toward the inevitable end of work, has recently come into fashion. Does this reflect reality or the ranting of pseudo-experts, good news for humanity or the chronicle of a catastrophe foretold? All of the discussions around this question make no sense if the heart of the matter is not taken into consideration: all of the means of production, which are set in motion in a social and collective manner through a vast international division of labor, remain the private property of a tiny minority of capitalists.

In order to justify their propositions, Hamon and the European deputies rely on a range of studies, such as one made by the think tank France Stratégie, according to which 3.4 million jobs in France are in danger of disappearing over the next ten years. In 2013, two researchers at the University of Oxford, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, maintained that 47% of U.S. jobs are at “high risk,” meaning that they “could be automated relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two.” They base their arguments on the progress that has apparently been achieved in the fields of robotics and machine learning, which would allow machines to carry out Read the rest of this entry »

Below is an updated version of the article that initially went up straight after the election results of last night.  The updated version takes on board Craig H’s point (see comments) that the article got turnout wrong because it only looked at election night results and thus didn’t take into account special votes.  Thanks to Craig for pulling me up on this error – PD. 

by Phil Duncan

The frontstabbers have won yet again (National) and the backstabbers have lost yet again (Labour).  (For votes and seats see end of article.)

Labour so little inspires the working class, that the majority of workers opt for other alternatives. The combined number of workers who don’t vote and who vote National is, once again, significantly bigger than the number who vote Labour, despite the increasingly bizarre efforts of some lefists to maintain the fiction that Labour is some kind of workers’ party, deserving of being voted for.

This is the second time National has won four terms (the last time being the second National government, which held power from 1960-1972).

Interestingly, the most recent polls proved pretty accurate.

What has proved inaccurate, however, is so many of the pundits.

Leading up to election day, they told us that it was too close to call and/or that this yawn-fest was the most exciting election in living memory. But not only did National beat Labour hands down – it wasn’t a ‘too close to call’ result! – there appears to be little change in voter turnout as a percentage of those enrolled, although enrolments appear to be down a bit as a percentage of the voting age public

In 2014, there was an almost 78% turnout of registered voters. In 2017, the election night count gives a turnout of Read the rest of this entry »

Image  —  Posted: September 22, 2017 by Admin in Uncategorized

Incinerating Hiroshima

by Don Franks

US President Donald Trump now threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea’s country of 26 million people.

This from the leader of the only power that ever used nuclear weapons.

Trump isn’t a one-off nutcase. He follows in the tradition of President Truman.

When the Japanese refused a US ultimatum to surrender unconditionally, Truman ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  On August 6, announcing the dropping of the bomb, he again demanded Japan’s surrender, warning it to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

Three days later, on August 9 1945, a second atomic bomb was dropped, this time on Nagasaki.

Within the first two to four months following the bombings, the acute effects had killed Read the rest of this entry »

Masoud Barzani

by Yassamine Mather

The Kurdish regional government (KRG) in Iraq will be holding a referendum on the issue of independence on September 25. There have been appeals for it to be delayed and the date has changed a number of times, but at the moment it looks like the vote will go ahead.

In 2014, at the time when Islamic State was gaining ground in northern Kurdistan, Kurds accused the Iraqi army of abandoning the territory lost to the jihadists. Ironically it is the ‘liberation’ of Erbil, Mosul and other northern cities that has precipitated the referendum. Last week in an interview with BBC Persian, Masoud Barzani, the president of the KRG, indicated that it will draw up the borders of a future Kurdish state if Baghdad does not accept a vote in favour of independence. However, what was significant in the BBC interview was Barzani’s insistence that Read the rest of this entry »

Ardern and English: two faces of what is really one party

by Phil Duncan

Two events yesterday provided a micrcosm of the problem with the NatLabs, and yet more evidence of why workers and progressive people generally shouldn’t support either wing of this party.

One of the most obnoxious events in politics, and in elections in particular, is when capitalist politicians – people dedicated to managing the system that exploits workers- show up at workplaces.  They put on hi-viz jackets or hard hats or hair nets or whatever and walk around making absurd chit-chat with workers and posing for photo opportunities.  The more obsequious workers agree to be part of the photo opp and the most obsequious even take selfies and stick them on their facebook pages.

But, thanks to the courage of Robin Lane and several other workers, Bill English found one of these workplace walkabouts highly embarrasing.  Shortly after inspecting a tray of lemons at Kaiaponi Farms (near Gisborne), English looked like he was sucking on a Read the rest of this entry »