Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ripping off young workers now an art form.

Tali Williams wrote a moving blog about the forever struggles faced by younger members of our workforce. As pointed out clearly and precisely by John Campbell the plight of cleaning staff at parliament and many other government departments.

Tali Williams points out serious bullying in other work places where even a mention of a union brings a massively negative response down upon the heads of those brave enough to face their management at whatever level.

When your wages are cut without discussion by lowering the actual hourly rate or reducing the hours available or even making your job casual and reverting to an on-call basis, naturally you’d be upset.
This could lead to a really difficult situation where if the employee remains they simply can’t meet commitments already agreed which could lead to serious losses. In fact it would not be hard to picture circumstances where criminal behaviour becomes the only alternative for some.

Many huge cleaning companies such as ‘Spotless’ and fast food companies like Restaurant Brand simply ignore even the most basic human and employment rights [work breaks like morning tea etc] and any regular inspections by what used to be the Labour department have become nothing more than employer enforcers and will be especially true if the present government passes new and restrictive laws being introduced by Simon Bridges who is now considered the worst Minister of Labour since Bill Birch and that’s really bad for workers.

Unions under the era of Roger Douglas when they agreed to a so-call ‘Partnership’ policy have gone backwards ever since that period, but of late they seem to be developing a spine. Some Unions stand up and design new strategies to actually assist their members.

Unite union for example has a proven record at mobilising their membership to collectively argue for better wages and conditions. Where as a Union like the Public Service Association has still yet to get beyond their discredited Partnership mode and still see’s itself as an Association rather that a industrial union.

Young people see unions like the PSA as part of the problem rather than a helpful source of help and advice. 

Tali Williams and the workers she writes about deserve not only our empathy but our help in the difficult times ahead as they attempt to protect their working conditions and wages. After all they are our future, and things have got so bad for young workers that even highly qualified graduates can’t earn enough to repay their massive student loans. 

If we don’t do something there will be consequences beyond our control, there must be equality and justice in both working conditions and wages and salaries if we are to avoid the social and industrial upheaval in the weeks, months and years ahead. 

Please open and read Tali's blog...

1 comment:

Gordon McShean said...

You might think that the violations of workers' rights listed here covered almost every possible exploitation - but I noted little recognition of the absence of worker safety concerns. Recently I learned of a young man who was depressed and considering suicide. I discovered that (in addition to the difficulty of living on the basic wage and being expected to work unconscionable hours) he was being required to perform in dangerous conditions (on roofs, without safety equipment). He would not consider making a complaint because of the overbearing nature of his employer and a concern that he might lose the job (being totally dependent on that income). My concern led me to consult the local Labour Dept. They confirmed that the problems I reported were violations of standards they were responsible for, but said that without a personal complaint by the employee they could not consider the matter. I had no success when I attempted to find some other agency that might assist. Check out The Yellow Pages: you will find little available in assisting workers in such situations, whether for legal counselling or social support (in fact, one might suspect there is a cabal which makes the employment systems seem to be supportive of employees by ensuring that such situations remain "private"). I'm relieved to be able to report that the young man is now in another less exploitative position (his new employer is overbearing and requires him to work an exceptional schedule, but at least he is no longer physically endangered. I felt the need to report this in support of your statements; I am seriously concerned that our system is growing more and more supportive of employers who are dedicated to "wringing the best" out of our young citizens in the name of good business.