y da pinoy & da new zealand boss r good 4 each other


Six of the seven Filipinos who work on Greg and Kelly Kirkwood's North Otago dairy farm are (from left) Neil Molina, Reis Pe, Eric George, Saldy Barroga, Roel Gonzales and Jeorge Barroga.Photo by Gerard O'Brien, thanks and acknowledgment to the Otago Daily Times!

Six of the seven Filipinos who work on Greg and Kelly Kirkwood’s North Otago dairy farm are (from left) Neil Molina, Reis Pe, Eric George, Saldy Barroga, Roel Gonzales and Jeorge Barroga. Photo by Gerard O’Brien, thanks and acknowledgment to the Otago Daily Times!

[ Note : this is based solely on my workingman’s experience in New Zealand, so I may be more right or more wrong than you, every experience is unique.  It goes without saying that if you’re looking for straight stats and research, I’m sorry to disappoint.  Please point out any glaring errors in my observations , I will be grateful for such. Sorry for the SMS-like title, I was running out of space.  Advance happy undas to all! ]

Ipakita mo ang tunay at kung sino ka
Mayron mang masama at maganda
Wala naman perpekto
Basta magpakatotoo oohh oohh
Gabay at pagmamahal ang hanap mo
Magbibigay ng halaga sa iyo
Nais mong ipakilala kung sino ka man talaga – Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons

INASMUCH AS this Monday is Labor Day in my temporary adopted country, I’d like to say a few things about how awesome it is to be working here in New Zealand.  Originally I was gonna rant and rave about how great it is to be a Pinoy in NZ, but that would be too general, too extensive, and too long for one blog, and besides my merienda is running out, after which I’m leaving the table and watching the news. 🙂

Originally also I was going to say why NZ is good for the pinoy worker, but I realized that the Pinoy is also a decent contributor to the Kiwi workforce, for reasons I’ll state below.  It’s ultimately a mutually beneficial thing, and I’m willing to bet a week’s wages that both sides want it to remain that way :

English, pakisama factor, and manners.  First, the obvious and threshold qualities.  In survey after survey, Pinoys are the best English speakers among skilled and working migrants, beating by far Chinese, South Asian, Southeast Asian and other demographics.  Not only are we facile in the universal language, but our English is more “neutrally” accented than those of other nationalities, and we take pains to understand and make ourselves understood.  Quite a few observers have said that Pinoys make extra efforts to “get along,” make pakisama, conform to the particular ways of doing things in a workplace, and are generally agreeable, sometimes to a fault.  Chalk it up to the traditional pakisama attitude instilled in us early in life, to respect our elders and acknowledge authority.  And even if we weren’t all of these, our tendency to adhere to good manners certainly goes a long way in being popular in the workplace.

Filipino Arthur Adlaon at work for Leighs Construction at Christchurch Hospital. The company has switched from using contractors to employing its own workers. Thanks and acknowledgment to stuff.co.nz!

Filipino Arthur Adlaon at work for Leighs Construction at Christchurch Hospital. The company has switched from using contractors to employing its own workers. Thanks and acknowledgment to stuff.co.nz!

Loyalty and hierarchy.  But just being papogi won’t cut it when each member of the work team is expected to be as committed and disciplined as the most reliable worker.  The Pinoy obrero recognizes this and is loyal to his employer, coming early and staying late as often as needed.  We are notorious for eating up overtime whenever it’s offered, anytime and anyplace.  In stark contrast, New Zealanders are known to flit from one job to another, and only the recent decade of economic recession stopped this famous Kiwi habit.  Most Pinoys also respect the chain of command and won’t rock the boat except in extreme circumstances.   Now what employer wouldn’t want a worker like that?

Versatile.  It’s good to specialize and sharpen your particular skills, but it’s equally desirable to know a little of this or that, help out in different departments as the need arises, and fill in the gaps and empty rosters during difficult times.  Many of our kabayan do not hesitate when asked to upskill or do lateral training for the good of the team, whether or not there are financial rewards involved.  This is because we know that the extra skill will serve us in good stead later when a vacancy opens up or when downsizing means one person must do the work of two.  We’ve learned to make do and improvise so many times , so it’s just a matter of reliving our adventurous years back home.  What’s so bad about being a Juan of all trades?

By the way, I did mention that as much as New Zealand takes the best of our uring manggagawa (working class heroes), it gives back just as much by being a labor-friendly country:

the work is hard but the rewards are great!

the work is hard but the rewards are great!

laws and compliance.  I haven’t seen the NZ counterpart of our Philippine Labor Code, but it must be a very thick book full of statutes designed to protect and promote the welfare of the worker, just like our Pinoy laws.  The big difference is that whereas our laws are honored more in the breach thanks to unscrupulous bosses and negligent labor law enforcement officials, NZ laws are strictly complied with; just the thought of litigation and harassment is enough for employers to follow the letter of the law.  Everything, from wages and compensation, to hours of work to health and safety standards are provided for in the law and written into the employment contract.  If there’s any doubt in the interpretation of the law or contract, it’s usually resolved in favor of the worker.

unions.  This is how gung ho some employers are when it comes to cooperating with unions in the workplace.  Our employer actually pays for our union dues and pays them directly, although the payment appears as an allowance in our pay envelope, for accounting purposes.  My guess is that they would prefer to deal with a cohesive bargaining unit that’s already aware of the nuances and intricacies of workplace bargaining.

loyalty.  when you think about it, loyalty between the parties in an employment deal may or may not favor the worker, after all, there are still good and bad eggs in the world of employers.  But loyalty always favors the employer, because it’s like he or she has a second owner or partner in the workplace who won’t leave him hanging.  And many NZ employers are aware of this, usually recognizing or acknowledging the loyal Pinoy worker.  Which is why utang na luob, very emotional but very effective, is a useful tool for both employer and employee here.

***               ***               ***

One of my first jobs working in NZ was for an Indian in a small grocery, also known as a dairy.  He gave me half the minimum wage, and made me work for every cent.  I didn’t know any better and was actually grateful for the work.

I didn’t realize then that I was being exploited, but after that, I never had a bad experience in any other work in New Zealand.  I’ve had good bosses, good managers, and good colleagues.  Above all, I’ve had good mates.  Thanks to all my bosses, my employers, and thanks New Zealand!

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3 thoughts on “y da pinoy & da new zealand boss r good 4 each other

  1. Pingback: pagod puyat & ginaw challenge d pinoy worker, but d appreciation is appreciated | YLBnoel's Blog

  2. Pingback: three things that drive foreigners crazy bout us pinoys | YLBnoel's Blog

  3. Pingback: honoring the custodians of our pinoy culture | YLBnoel's Blog

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