Labour, with the support of New Zealand First, has developed a bill based on Darien Fenton’s private members’ bill that will ensure tens of thousands of workers are no longer ripped off by ‘triangular employment’ situations, whereby their effective employer contracts out the actual employment of staff to a labour hire company.
It works like this: The labour hire companies cheaply and quickly provide businesses with labour that they can dispose of whenever they choose. The labour hire company makes a mint by charging out their workers for twice the rate that gets passed on to the worker. As the worker, you usually get minimum wage, the labour hire company makes $12 an hour off you, and your job can disappear at a moment’s notice. It really is the sharp end of surplus value.
The Bill will ensure that workers in triangular employment situations get the same work rights (including such basics as sick pay), the same wages, and same conditions as other workers in the same job, which many of them miss out on currently.
Business New Zealand, always a friend of the ordinary Kiwi, is complaining that these provisions to ensure workers get their basic rights will put the labour hire companies out of business. Good. The labour hire companies are scum. They take advantage of desperate workers and undermine workers’ rights by offering businesses a cheap way to get around labour law. My personal experiences and the horrific stories of other workers being exploited by labour hire companies make me think any law that sticks it to them and protects workers is good for the people of New Zealand.
Expect the Bill to pass with support from Labour, NZF, the Greens, the Maori Party. National will continue their perfect record of always voting against workers’ rights.