From bad to worse for workers

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, May 4th, 2010 - 11 comments
Categories: jobs, john key, unemployment, Unions, wages - Tags: ,

While John’s off playing soldiers, things are getting worse and worse for Kiwi workers.

The Labour Cost Index shows wages and salaries rose just 1.5% between march 2009 and March 2010, the lowest increase in a decade and below inflation.

The Quarterly Employment Survey, also out today, shows that the average wage has fallen from $25.80 an hour (inflation-adjusted) when National came to power to $25.30 an hour now – a 2% drop in the average wage in a year and a half. I doubt even John Key’s backers cold have hoped him to deliver so rapidly on his pledge to “see wages drop”.

On top of all that, we have the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have lost their jobs, and are still losing their jobs. Indeed, the data on the reasons employers give for raising wages strongly suggests that it is higher unemployment that is letting them keep wages down.

The QES shows that employment (the QES doesn’t count self-employment) fell by another 12,000 in the last quarter. That series is only a rough guide because it isn’t seasonally-adjusted. We will get the headline unemployment number when the Household Labour Force Survey comes out onn Thursday. I had been expecting to see it fall back below 7% but with poor benefit numbers, weak job ads, and the QES data, that seems a trifle optimistic.

If anyone had forgotten why we call Key the ‘do nothing’ Prime Minister, these figures are a stark reminder.

A final note. Once again, it’s clear that joining your union delivers.

75% of non-union workers received a pay cut last year (that’s a nominal decrease, no increase, or an increase less than 2%). 74% of union members got a real pay increase, a pay rise above 2%. Most of them got a rise above 3%.

Join your union. It just makes sense.

11 comments on “From bad to worse for workers”

  1. Hamish 2

    >>>What a surprise from John “We’d love to see wages drop”Key

    What?! Key’s managed to control what private businesses pay their staff?!! Stone the bloody crow’s, then! Such a comment is the height of stupidity and desperation.

    >>>Join your union. It just makes sense.

    And donate to the Labour Party at the same time! I think (?) they are financially broke. Well, they’ve been morally broke for almost one decade now..

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Key’s managed to control what private businesses pay their staff?!!

      No, but of course it is the govt that can indirectly control major aspects of the legal and economic environment in which those wages are set.

      And donate to the Labour Party at the same time!

      Hamish you are most welcome not to join a union…I’m perfectly happy for you to not enjoy the improved wages, conditions and protections that members often enjoy.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Actually, research shows quite clearly that if any ones morally it’s the people on the political right. Blinglish’s rort of the tax payer is proof enough of that.

  2. “Such a comment is the height of stupidity and desperation.”

    Then Opposition leader, Key is quoted saying, that he’d “like to see wages drop”. Key is elected PM. Removes restraints to labour mobility, thus creating downward pressure on wages. Passes token raise to the country’s most poorly paid workers. Real wages have fallen. And people are surprised that real wages fell? Not me.

    I’m sorry Hamish, is my recollection of recent history somehow wrong? And how exactly is it “the height of stupidity and desperation”? Do you consider direct speech somehow unbecoming?

    The Nats are as hollow as they wish our Schedule 4 conservation land to be.

  3. ak 4

    Hamish you are most welcome not to join a union

    Oh I think we can safely assume that Hamish is not a union member Red, which would place him as a sterling and committed practitioner of his own rhetoric were it not for one minor detail; viz., that we can be certain that Hamish has never repaid one cent of the pay rises fought and won on his behalf by unionist workers over the years: thus revealing a craven hypocrisy now grotequely compounded by anonymous attacks on the very hand that has fed him.

    In short, the kind of cowardly hyena-like character that not only shamelessly rides on the back of his fellow man and woman while spouting “individualist” cant, but simultaneously hides behind a screen and kicks them viciously in the groin while others hold them down.

    Lovely chaps, these NACTrobats.

    • Jim Nald 4.1

      That reminds me .. I was reading about how organisms live in symbiotic relationships. There are some relationships which are mutualistic or commensal.
      And then there are ones that are parasitic.

  4. Jum 5

    Hamish, actually Key did control what staff were paid by private business – he had the Phil O’Reilly mob visiting firms early in Key’s government and advising them to consider laying off staff in order to keep profits up while things were bad and then hire other workers for 90 day probation jobs at lower wages. Miraculously those firms suddenly decided to lay off staff they hadn’t intended to earlier. How convenient…

    Then workers were forced to take lower wages if they wanted to keep their jobs and the worst viciousness of all was when employers through rightwing advice told workers that if they took lower wages their mates wouldn’t lose their jobs. How sick is that.

    About as sick as some, not all, private corporate business can get; that is what people in Auckland are afraid of with akldsupershitty. Private business (of the ilk of selling alcopops to young people to get them addicted) in control of Aucklanders’ assets, egged on by JKeyll and Hide to sell them off under CCOs which are not subject to Akld Council control.

    Not an Auckland anyone could be proud of, ever.

    Hope everyone joins a union, including the students. They’re about to get shafted by Joyce. They need to band together; we need to support them.

  5. Billy 6

    Im a 22 year old labourer,

    The week after I decided not to join the union I recieved a 7.5% pay rise, if I had joined the union I would have recieved a 2% pay rise the following year.

    Unions are good to have, but they are not always a golden ticket as is represented in this article

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