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How much is enough? How much is too much? Some people’s eyes light up at the thought of money.
They see power and influence flowing from money. In pursuit of prestige, mana, standing, they make the mistake of thinking money is the only pathway to achieving that. But it is not.
Money can’t buy you happiness. And money can’t buy you love, as The Beatles told us all those decades ago.
Instead of greed, it is what you do with money that is the important thing. How you treat your workers, how you support your community, how you make a better world and tomorrow for the generations to come.
Unfortunately, selfishness grips control of those who are easily led and in whom altruism is a foreign concept. Before you know it, money is the be-all and end-all of their existence.
This week’s damning decision from the Employment Relations Authority against Dunedin bakery owner Anesly Joy Samuel is one all who take advantage of their staff, as they foolishly covet great wealth, need to learn from.
Samuel treated his employees disgracefully, as if they were enslaved in a modern-day sweatshop. The authority, and the Labour Inspectorate, found they were actually working more than 80 hours a week while only being paid wages for 40 hours.
As well as that, the investigation discovered he did not keep timesheets, and asked a staff member to provide false and misleading information on minimum wages, public holiday payments, annual holiday entitlements and work location to the inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand.
Just to top off Samuel’s reprehensible behaviour, he ‘‘repeatedly threatened the workers’’ to bully them out of pursuing their case, the investigation said.
His repugnant behaviour has come back to bite him, with the authority ordering him to pay $299,038 in arrears and penalties for not paying staff their correct wages, holiday and sick leave pay. Penalties of $139,000 are for the Crown, with $19,000 to the three employees, who will also be owed $141,038 in arrears of their due wages and holiday entitlements.
Samuel operated the Romeeco Bakery and then opened Knox Cafe and Bakery next door, opposite Knox Church.
The judgement against him is entirely appropriate, given the outcome of the investigation. We also applaud the authority for naming and shaming Samuel and this series of incidents, which must rank highly for their egregiousness in any list of other significant southern cases.
There is no point having these laws if they are not enforced, not just for the badly treated staff members but also for businesses which do play by the rules and struggle to compete.
This is a victory for fair play and the underdog, one that will hopefully provide a shot across the bows for any other greedy business owners out there looking to cut corners.
And another thing
Who needs fireworks?
Those crackling, flashing pyrotechnics have been doing their annoying thing over the past few nights, despite the sales ban by some retailers, such as The Warehouse.
Forget them. Look up at the stunning, shimmering Southern Lights instead, something truly out of this world.