Collaborative Capital and Labour
“I’ve seen how good management and a well led workforce working together can face difficult challenges, draw on each others’ strengths and insights, and create gains for both.” — Andrew Little
When I joined the staff of Fisher & Paykel as an industrial design graduate in 1967 I came to value their values as a ‘people company’ — they were in the business of meeting people’s need for fresh food, well-cooked meals and clean clothes by getting the best from their staff at all levels. One policy was to share the annual profit through a pro-rata bonus. The company valued the trade unions as a convenient and productive means of communicating positively with the workforce. This constructive collaboration of capital and labour underpinned Fisher & Paykel’s growth from a protected industry to an effective exporter and now a design-driven global brand that has survived against the odds by adapting quickly to new economic conditions.
The fact the Fisher & Paykel’s new Chinese owners have invested in expanding the R&D and design resources in New Zealand is recognition that this people-focused pioneering spirit is an excellent business model. As a self-employed professional design consultant I have come to see the New Zealand Labour Party as the party that best understands how to harness and position our skills to generate economic, social and cultural benefits — and then share them equitably so that we can continue to grow from strength to strength.