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How’s that SEEK boycott working out for ya?

By April 23, 2021No Comments

My Dad was a Trade Unionist. As a lifelong “working man”, some of my earliest memories were of him on a cold winters morning, wrapping up warm and heading to “work” with vats of my mum’s homemade chilli con carne. Except he wasn’t actually working on these days. He was standing for the entire day on a cold slab of concrete outside of his work on a picket line. On at least one of these occasions my old man was on “strike without pay” for several weeks. Perhaps it was this that sowed the seeds of my socialist leanings in later life. Back in Thatcher’s Britain, we were most certainly a “lefty” household; although more the old school “power to the people” type than the more modern “my 4 year old son can choose her gender” persuasion we see nowadays. We were about seizing the means of production, not turning the dog vegan.

To this day, I am still largely sympathetic to strikers. I still believe we have a very real class struggle, with the underclass (not working class) trapped in a cycle of poverty. I think that, overall,  the workers are seen as commodities and sometimes exploited by their paymasters for the benefits of shareholders- of which the workers will never be. I also believe that the “little guy” can benefit from a collective voice when taking on “the man”. Being a recruiter and business owner may seem incongruous with this, but what can I say? I’m a complex kinda guy.

Given the above, you may assume that I’m a paid up member of the closest thing we have to collective representation in our industry; the RCSA.

You would of course be wrong.

A Trade Union should represent the oppressed. The “have nots”, no matter how hard they work. The folks who can’t work elsewhere, be it because of their location, education, or trade. Trade Unions aren’t required, and have never been required, in the professional services space. Recruiters have options, high income, and show absolutely no desire to show solidarity with their competitors. Had the RCSA stuck to representing the interests of trades and labour recruitment firms, then absolutely. Go for gold. The RCSA has a place here, it’s just a small one. As we all slowly become gig workers, the RCSA should work hard to align themselves with recruitment firms in the labour hire space. As firms like AWF staff entire fish gutting factories, these staffing agencies could do with a collective voice. But when they try and creep into the perm or professional services recruitment space, what they offer for the cost of their membership is as miserable as their parties.

To most recruiters, the RCSA in New Zealand is like a high-end tape deck in your new BMW. Only of use to a minority, in the way of everyone else, and charging you for the pleasure of doing fuck all. I would strongly suggest that if you’re a recruitment firm outside of labour hire, you take your subscription and donate it to charity. Maybe to re-home Greyhounds, as they need it right now. Because, when not funding conferences in Fiji, what the RCSA are doing with your money is this…

With about as many teeth as the Fort Street tramps, the RCSA have recently been trying to drum up support to essentially write a strongly worded letter to SEEK to bitch about their new pricing model.

Over recent months RCSA has received a significant number of communications from members expressing their concern with SEEK’s market behaviour. Those concerns have primarily related to the decision of SEEK to impose a new pricing and contract structure upon recruitment and staffing agencies.

We write to you today, to inform you that RCSA has written to the Managing Director of SEEK Australia, Kendra Banks, further expressing the frustration and concerns of members.

The RCSA have a meeting booked with SEEK to raise these concerns, and I’m sure that SEEK are quite frankly, quaking in their diamond-studded boots. Whether the RCSAs Charles Cameron will get a meeting with SEEKs CEO Andrew Bassat, or their work experience boy is yet to be seen. However, news flash RCSA: SEEK isn’t a government department to lobby, nor are they employing us and changing our workers rights. They’re just a supplier to our industry like any other, and none of us are forced to use them, you absolute muppets. The RCSA taking on SEEK is like trying to defeat the Kraken armed only with your 14 year old nephew’s wank sock. If you’re an agency owner happy to have the RCSA waste their time and your money on this endevour, then that’s up to you. Personally, I feel you could do more and spend less if you just STOPPED BUYING SEEK ADS.

So how has this anti-SEEK rhetoric, so keenly fostered and promoted by the RCSA manifested itself in the real world? Wait…don’t tell me. SEEK have, like the European Super League, backtracked in 48 hours and apologised to the industry? No? Ermmm….they’ve filed for bankruptcy as agencies have taken their business elsewhere? Warmer???

Nah, SEEK sold more job ads in New Zealand last month than they have ever sold before.

So much for the boycott huh?