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Insecure work in NZ’s precariat

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, October 9th, 2013 - 108 comments
Categories: employment, quality of life, unemployment, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

A recent study gives a strong indication of the extent of, and the recent increases in, insecure work in NZ.  It is being released at the CTU conference today, along with the launch of  a campaign to improve worker security. Simon Collins in today’s NZ Herald reports that the study largely draws on 2 Statistics NZ surveys conducted in March 2008 and December 2012.  The study says:

temporary work, unemployment and the numbers of “permanent” workers fearing they may lose their jobs have all increased as employers strive to make work more “flexible”.

The study cannot be directly compared with a recent Australian study, which found 40% of Aussie workers are “insecure”, because of differences in the way workers were categorised.  In the NZ study:

“The NZ data takes no account of ‘dependent’ contractors (employees of an employer skirting the law by defining its workers as ‘independent contractors’), who are included in the Australian count,” he said.

The headline figure – that “at least 30 per cent of our workforce are insecure” – is based on an unusual measure of the workforce that includes the unemployed but excludes employers.

Temporary employees increased from 7.7 per cent of the workforce in 2008 to 8.6 per cent last December, the unemployed jumped from 4.5 per cent to 7.2 per cent, and “permanent” employees who said they had a medium to high chance of losing their jobs in the next year rose from 9.3 per cent to 12.6 per cent.

The total of “workers most at risk” increased from 21.5 per cent of the non-employer workforce to 28.4 per cent.

While the exact proportion of “insecure” workers is not clear, the changes in temporary employment and unemployment do show an increase in job insecurity.  The proportion of self-employed people has also decreased, while it is unclear how many of the currently self-employed are at risk of going out of business.

Many of the main offenders in providing insecure work are fast food businesses, while education was the sector that employed the highest proportion of temporary workers.  Furthermore, a higher proportion of women are in insecure work compared with men.  This is in-keeping with the way capitalism has treated women for over a century.

In reporting on the NZ  study, TVNZ states:

… there is job uncertainty, low and variable earnings, inadequate sick leave, increased health and safety risks and little training or career development.

They then report of the different explanations of the 90 day employment law, with the CTU and business NZ claiming different general results.

“Your rights are basically removed – the right to fair dismissal, fair treatment,” said Helen Kelly of the CTU.

That includes the Government’s 90-day employment trial which allows both parties to walk away.

Since it was introduced four years ago, more than 11,000 employers have used it.

Business New Zealand says there are very few complaints about the trial system.

“We’re seeing very few complaints from anybody very much. And what’s more, we’re seeing really, really good feedback from employers,” said Phil O’Reilly of Business NZ.

The CTU claims employers are opting for the low road of driving down costs rather than investing in workers.

Helen Kelly says much of the insecure work is “just a rouse” by employers.

“It’s not necessary. The work is continuing, the work is permanent,” she said.

Chloe Sifflett, a 21-year-old fastfood worker, says employers “think they can just hire new people and forget about the people they already have.”

Business New Zealand does not agree about the extent of the problem, but is worried for some.

“With that cohort of people who really are struggling at the bottom of the labour market, what we need to do with them is invest a lot in them in terms of their skills,” Phil O’Reilly said.

So Phil O’Reilly does accept there is a problem of worry about security, while talking down its extent, and ignoring the issue of keeping workers on long term “temporary” contracts, when the work is on-going, and thus should be classed as permanent.

Helen Kelly tweeted that, with today’s announcement of the study, the CTU will be launching a campaign.

Helen kelly tweet 09102013

It is important for the well being of all Kiwis, that paid work is secure and provides a living wage.  I look forward to seeing the details of the CTU campaign.

[Update]: Cunliffe to CTU on Labour pledges –(h/t bad12)

NZ Herald report on Cunlife’s speech to the CTU today:

In his opening remarks to the conference, Mr Cunliffe told the meeting: “I want to reaffirm I’m here as part of the labour movement”.

[…]

That included raising the minimum wage immediately to $15 an hour if Labour was elected next year, supporting the “Living Wage” campaign, putting it in place immediately for public sector workers, and extending paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks.

Mr Cunliffe also pledged to “scrap National’s unfair employment law changes in the first 100 days”.

He took aim at the “fire at will” legislation, “attacks on collective bargaining”, the undermining of health and safety, and moves “taking away smoko breaks”.

 “The Prime Minister’s attacks on workers will be gone by lunchtime.”

He promised “a red Labour Party” rather than a “pale blue” one.

And on Scoop

108 comments on “Insecure work in NZ’s precariat”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    Helen Kelly says much of the insecure work is “just a rouse” by employers.

    Who is being woken up?

  2. Sable 2

    No negative feedback from employers, well that’s hardly surprising, is it? As to employee complaints, with no rights its easy to fire some who who upsets the apple cart so best to say nothing.

    New Zealand’s labour laws are slowly being remolded in such a way that they drag us back into a Dickensian past/future where people are just commodities to be used and discarded at will with no consideration of rights or innate human value.

  3. Tracey 3

    No wonder business confidence is rising.

  4. Rhinocrates 4

    I do a job that requires high qualifications and skills, but I have zero security and have to reapply every few months, subject to the whims of budget and policy despite all the reviews (and overheard comments) that I get being highly positive. As a result, my anxiety disorder, which requires constant prescription medication, has got worse in ways I won’t describe.

    Do you know what I want most?

    A cat.

    Pets are very therapeutic, proven to aid mental health, but I don’t have the financial security to take on the responsibility of being staff for such a famously independent animal long-term. Instead I take the pills my doctor prescribes.

    A family or owning a home?

    Not even considered.

    As for WINZ or whatever they’re called this week? Bennett’s little arse kissers, the new staff, just say “that’s seasonal work and you shouldn’t depend on it, I’m going to recommend that you’re ineligible for support because of your choice.”

    I’m not moaning, so no sarcastic “boo hoo”… instead I’m warning you that you’re next. You will be, that’s for sure.

    • Chooky 4.1

      @ Rhinocrates….that is awful you not being able to afford a cat!…….Why dont you board with a cat loving house owner.?…It always surprises me that my cat loving friends live in big houses by themselves and their cats ( they prefer living with cats rather than running the risk of living with people….and they like living alone.)..however I am sure if you advertised you would find a room in a house with a cat lover who is also a house owner…and it might work out very well……after all people like to go on holiday and if there is a backup “cat- sitter” it could be very convenient indeed

      ….also I have noticed that people who love cats tend to get along very well….cat psychology

      …you could advertise at vets …or SPCA…or Grey Power…or anywhere….for board with a cat lady…or cat man

    • greywarbler 4.2

      Rhinocrates
      It is possible now to see how Hi…ler built up his regime – how people can be co-opted out of personal bias, financial necessity etc into being thoroughly unpleasant, callous people doing rotten things to other people.

      Chooky’s idea sounds good. Let us know if it works.

      • Rhinocrates 4.2.1

        Thanks, but well, I’m a high-functioning autist, so sharing my space with anyone with whom I’m not deeply intimate is impossible and bad for my health.

        Squeezing toothpaste tubes at the wrong end is not a problem – simply existing is a problem!

        Strangely, put me in a lecture theatre with an audience of three hundred and I’ll love it and I’ll literally get applauded and even a tutorial with a dozen will likewise go just as well. I have annually seen surveys of my performance and always I score highest in terms of knowledge and respect. However, I cannot get a teurable position… but then for all the stereotypes, academia is a really hard environment, so all this talk about “ivory towers’ is bullshit. Just try getting on the stairs to that ivory tower!

        Prostetnic Vogon Joyce epitomises petty, banal jealousy. He doesn’t see excellence or virtue or dedication…. he only sees immediate financial utility. Universities to him are high schools crossed with research institutes.

        That said, I know all the cats in my neighbourhood, especially a Siamese called Sami, with whom I have a good friendship along the lines of, in her mind I think, “Oh yeah, him. Nice guy, a good bodyguard, he stays by me while I explore the other cats’ territories.”.

        There was this Tuxedo who tried to adopt me, but her humans moved away, taking her with them, alas.

        • Chooky 4.2.1.1

          OK …well maybe you need a bedsit out the back like Janet Frame had with Frank Sargeson…advertise for this at a cat lovers/owners address

          • Rhinocrates 4.2.1.1.1

            Hi Chooky… the fact is, I have a very nice flat with lots of greenery and dinosaurs (well, we call them “birds” now) around me. That’s one of the advantages of Aro Valley – you can pretend that you’re living in a calm, clear, green countryside. It’s only weird in that I have to climb four flights of stairs to get to what is technically a basement. 🙂

        • Tracey 4.2.1.2

          Remembering how long it took Joyce to get his degree…

          • Rhinocrates 4.2.1.2.1

            I could draw a nice Venn diagram of overlapping circles to describe various ministers of education. One circle is “Bastard” and the other is “Idiot”. Goff, I’ll grant was not an idiot*, merely a mediocrity, but certainly is a bastard. Hipkins, if he will get that role, will follow in his footsteps. Russell Marshall, for those who remember, was not a bastard, but certainly an idiot, while the late and unlimited Merv Wellington was both… as is Prostetnic Vogon Joyce.

            As for Tolley and Parata, need I elaborate?

            *Come to think of it, his performance as Labour “leader” showed some pretty idiotic qualities almost as bad as those of Shearer, the only man who could make him look good…

            • Rhinocrates 4.2.1.2.1.1

              And as for Lackwit Smirk, well…

            • Chooky 4.2.1.2.1.2

              @ Rhino….have to agree with your analysis of the Education Ministers….and Joyce is despicable!……

              .Labour Party should employ you as an adviser on Tertiary Education!!!( someone should tell Cunliffe this)

      • Chooky 4.2.2

        @ greywarbler and Rhinocrates

        I would say that whatever party went for Gareth Morgan’s Universal Basic Income “the big kahuna”….would be BIG winner at the next election!

        …… In fact I think the time has now come for a campaign around this issue.( To hell with big motorways!…people first!)

        http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/

        http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/universal-basic-income.aspx

        • Rhinocrates 4.2.2.1

          Morgan’s an interesting fellow indeed. Superficially a righty, his world travels seem to have opened his eyes. As an ailurophile (cat lover), I take objection to his recent campaign, but on a lot of points he makes surprising sense.

          Proof, I think, that if someone’s wrong about one thing (e.g. cats), they might be right about something else.

    • Mary 4.3

      I think that unless the dwelling you’re currently in isn’t suitable you should get a cat. They adapt to moving far more easily than many people think and as you say they’re good for mental health. Much easier to keep with you when you shift than a dog. So get a cat. Cats are very good.

      • Chooky 4.3.1

        +1 Mary….cats aren’t too expensive and they can always eat mice…and bits from the dinner table (also local cafes would give scraps) ….and naughty , naughty …the occasional birdie….(Rhino has lots of them flying around thanks to the Wildlife Sanctuary))…but don’t tell Gareth ( I think the most endangered species are not killed by cats anyway …but by 1080….and humans encroaching on their habitats)

        Rhino you should get two cats!

        • Mary 4.3.1.1

          Yes, two cats. Cats need good other cat company, too. Two cats are better than one. I also think two cats are better than three. So, two cats, please.

          • Rhinocrates 4.3.1.1.1

            I have mice… wondering if I should “adopt” them as I adopted the spiders rather than worrying about them. Jumping spiders – Trite planiceps – now they’re cute!

            • Chooky 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Keep them all ( spiders, cats and mice) as pets is my advice( rats also make good pets)….although the cats will get the mice and rats….My sister and her boyfriend, years ago, up the top of Semeloff Tce had a pet possum in the wall ….they knew he/she was home sleeping when they could see his/her fur sticking out of a hole the size of a 50 cent piece in the wall….The occasional poke at possum didnt seem to disrupt his/her slumbers.

              It was an interior artistic feature of their place in Aro Valley tree tops

  5. Tracey 5

    I hear you loud and clear rhino. Its not moaning its the reality of life for much of nz. Nothing to do with skills or work ethic but a constantly squeezed labour market cinsistently ubder valued.

    nz workers are the new “unpaid worker” in terms of respect and liveability. It used to be trying to put a value on unpaid work. Now we are under valuing those who work while telling them to be grateful for anything.

    I work contracts and they stop on a whim.

    • Rhinocrates 5.1

      It’s old but it’s true, Marilyn Waring’s Counting for Nothing, which shows that the capitalist “free” economy depends on unpaid labour, particularly that of women. Ironically is was she, that as a National MP, brought down Muldoon.

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        Exactly, I have just mentioned her in another thread. WAY ahead of her time in economic terms and therefore largely disregarded here. A Canadian company had to do a documentary on her… no interest here.

        • Rhinocrates 5.1.1.1

          She’s an unrecognised national treasure and feminist thinker, honoured everywhere but in her home land.

          • Anne 5.1.1.1.1

            Interesting piece of background knowledge concerning Marilyn Waring. She and Helen Clark grew up in the same part of the Waikato. I think they may have even attended the same schools. Even though one joined the Labour Party and the other the National Party, they always had a great deal of respect for one another. The night Helen Clark and Labour won the 1999 election, Marilyn was one of the first – if not the first – visitor to her home early in the evening to congratulate her.

        • Chooky 5.1.1.2

          +1 Tracey and Rhino…on Marilyn Waring ….she is a thinking economist…rather than an ineffectual tinkerer….and unsung in NZ

    • Rhinocrates 5.2

      There are many of the Old Left, such as Chris Trotter, who rightfully talk about the needs of the working class, but postmodern capitalism wants to make the “middle class”, or rather “human resources”, a pool of working class, no matter what their qualifications and aspirations/ashpurashuns. People like him mean well, and have good things to say, but they need to advance from the 1920s and see what capitalism is doing in the 21st century.

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    from the research by VU; “temporary employees in NZ have less legal protection than in almost all developed countries”.
    anyway, almost a third (likely to be more, if ’employers’ considered) of Kiwis unemployed or engaged in insecure employment.
    The Future’s so bright, we have to pull down the shades.

    • Tracey 6.1

      BUT business is confidant and CEO’s are getting decent pay rises. I don’t get what people are upset about It’s only a matter of time until they put their workers wages up.

  7. bad12 7

    An army of cleaners, nightly, as we slumber, toiling for their daily bread 13-14 dollar an hour, 2 ,3 and 4 jobs to manage, instead of the one,

    As we dine out, via the profits garnered from having paid for,(earned), our Uni degrees, another small army scrape away the scrime, the pot wallopers and dish washer drivers all paid the bare minimum, many,(most),silently accomplishing the labour out-put of 2,

    But then how would they know, that their daily toil is now that of 2 worker as measured by the bean counters 30 odd years ago,

    Labour’s Andrew Little says it via statistical speak, in 20 years labour output has increased by 40% but wages by only 12%,

    There is of course 2 aspects in play here, one being the driving down of wages during the Neo-liberal anti-worker revolution of the past 30 years, this must,can, and will to a certain extent be addressed by raising the minimum wage and by good employers across the spectrum who do and plan on paying the living wage to their employees,

    But what of the other question, possibly not as pressing as wage rates even in the minds of that army of cleaners, dish washers and other low waged, high labour input workers across the economy,

    A question of Ergs, just what is the measure of the acceptable level of labour input a worker should be expected to provide as labour to any particular occupation when measured against remuneration,(possibly more to the point, simply as what is acceptable in a given period of time),

    To be topical, but including all the workers labouring in such conditions, it is not only the wages paid to the Parliaments cleaners that are abhorrent, an obscenity if you will,

    It is the fact that here we are in a modern world, supposedly at a pinnacle of human development and we have 2 people not only working for what are best described as the wages of slavery, but employed in such a fashion in a 6 hour work shift having to undertake a task of such magnitude that they are in effect modern day Slaves,

    IF, you poo poo such an idea, there is no need, as Campbell live is about to do, conduct a little show of research by having a couple of Parliaments MP’s attempt to provide the ergs necessary to clean all 180 of those toilets to provide yourself necessary proof,

    Get off your arse right now and go and clean the toilet, proof enough for anyone, but don’t stop at cleaning that toilet once, clean it for as many times as you can humanly manage for 6 hours, you might begin then to define Slavery in modern New Zealand,

    Now back to the point, which is that not only should we be looking at wage rates as the measurement of our labour out-put, we should, perhaps must, also begin to develop a measurement and a strategy surrounding what is ‘the maximum expected expenditure of Ergs in any employment activity in a given period of work’,

    In the case of Parliaments cleaning staff, such an equation is as simple of how many bogs should 2 cleaners be expected to scrub in one 6 hour period of work, i would suggest that 180 is far too many…

    • Tracey 7.1

      those cleaners only have themselves to blame. They should stop work immediately, take out student loans and go to study or trades, build up a debt and be unable to feed and house their children until they have qualified and moved beyond entry level positions, that’s what they would do if they really had some gumption and wanted to do well in life.

      • bad12 7.1.1

        Lolz Tracey, you have saved the likes of SSLands and KK from having to provide their usual pieces of bovine excrement as a contribution…

      • greywarbler 7.1.2

        For goodness sake Tracey. Paula Bennett made it up to the highest place in the land almost. With a not very straight path to the top.

        This is the sort of thing you get to comments like yours. And the speaker misses the point that they are talking about thousands of people in that situation and giving an example of only one person in one special position.

        Anyway I think bringing up children to be strong, clever, well spoken, healthy, skilled, sympathetic, thoughtful, innovative, honest, confident, well-read, involved in art and sport …. is almost a full time job and the government should make a point of trying to gain part-time work for mothers so they can go back to work part time when they wish, and longer when their children are wise enough to manage without constant oversight.

    • Tracey 7.2

      Marilyn Waring did some pretty amazing work on measuring unpaid work in the 80’s. Went under the radar here, but not at the OECD where she was working. I know she worked for years on models to better define economic success than GDP and more traditional measures.

    • bad12 7.3

      A hat-tip tho does deservedly go to the Green Party’s Gareth Hughs and ex-NZFirst MP Brendon Horan for agreeing as part of Campbell Live’s push for ‘the living wage’, to join the Parliaments cleaners for a night on the frontline as bog scrubbers,

      While it might be a token gesture, try cleaning those toilets for a year and you will get a ‘real’ sense of the energy involved, anything that lifts the lives and wages of those who daily toil in our economy expending the most energy for the least pay has to be at least aknowledged if not applauded…

      • Tracey 7.3.1

        what? No Tau Henare? Bennett? You DO surprise me

        • bad12 7.3.1.1

          Henare, via the Party Whips has been so the rumor goes told to take the vows of silence, His contribution to the discussion so far should see Him take another slide down the ‘party list’,

          While it is laudable in National Party circles to be an employer who pays little more than the minimum wage, and, highly applauded when an employer has managed to halve the work-force previously employed to fulfill a particular contract, it is Criminal in Nationals eyes to ever give the peasants a hint of the real disdain National and it’s supporters normally reserve for those they see as undeserving…

    • RedBaronCV 7.4

      4 minutes a bog including travelling time. perhaps they only clean the execuitve loos every second day – well they should anyway

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 7.5

      Time and a half after 8 hours and time and a half for working between 5:00 pm and 7:00 am should sort the wages out.

      Employing enough staff to work at a steady, rather than, frantic pace should sort the workload out.

      The state directly employing them as public servants should sort the cost of this out by removing profit and shifting that profit directly to wages.

      Them being public servants should mean they could join the PSA should sort their union coverage out and improve over time their working conditions.

      The govt can then order general wage orders every year to lift people’s wages by the inflation rate in order to maintain relativity.

      Seems simple enough.

      • bad12 7.5.1

        ”Employing enough staff should sort the workload out”, yes, of course but how after 30 years of the Neo-liberal attack on workers do we convince employers to hire that ‘enough’ staff,

        Effective Legislation is needed where within such a frame-work an equally effective measurement of ‘Work’ is defined in an easily measurable way,

        For starters we need an effective Labour Department, with the teeth and the work-force able to act upon complaints and effectively police labour laws,

        The Parliaments cleaning staff, it would seem reasonably easy to address the low wages and the overly-high expectations surrounding the amount of work expected of these people in any given shift of work, but what of the 30,000 OTHER cleaners who daily toil in silence under the same conditions as those cleaners of that Parliament,

        What of the 30,000 who nightly toil in the kitchens of 30,000 restaurants, the 100s of thousands who toil at menial occupations being pushed to the point of ‘burn out’ by expectations of work that as Labour’s Andrew Little says has seen them in 20 years lift their labour productivity by 40%,

        Lifting ‘labour productivity’ by 40% of course has been achieved simply via forcing fewer workers to do more work, if such work then burns these workers out, the employers are not
        fussed, there’s plenty more on the dole where the last lot came from,

        What is needed, in my opinion, is a Labour Department that measures work input across whole industries and right down to the macro-level of individual job sites, what is also needed is legislation whereby regulation such job sites can be ordered to take on more workers so as to accomplish the particular task of work being carried out,

        My view is that the next Labour/Green Government needs to both Legislate the minimum wage and Legislate the amount of work expected for that hourly wage…

        • miravox 7.5.1.1

          “Employing enough staff should sort the workload out”

          Where I am it’s against the law to work more than 10 hours a day, or 50 hours a week. Employees can get little warning letters from their employers if they’re at risk of breaching the law.

          If they want more work done they either have to hire more staff to work safely and efficiently, improve processes or innovate – they’re the keys to rising productivity (if that’s what you’re looking for), not grinding people down.

          • bad12 7.5.1.1.1

            Interesting, enlightened workplace Legislation, where is it that you might be??? Lolz serious question i would like to google up the relevant info….

          • bad12 7.5.1.1.2

            ”Rising productivity”, no far far from it, Labour’s Andrew Little points out that in 20 years ‘labour productivity’ has risen by 40% and i have figures here from the NZ Treasury that show that rise in ‘labour productivity’ to be as high as 60% over a longer time-scale, i think 30 years,

            So to be blunt, tell the Massah Boss to shove His or Her labour productivity up His or Her Anus what we want is a fair days work for a fair days pay,

            What i would like to see happen is for the ‘Spotless Cleaning’ contract details to suffer a sudden LEAK into the public arena,

            What i want to know is just how much Parliaments services pays this particular cleaning company to clean those particular 180 toilets every week,

            My guess, Spotless is likely to be getting paid 5-10 thousand dollars weekly for that one contract alone,

            My belief is that such semi-slave labour is being paid for by the taxpayer and we have the right to KNOW…

            • miravox 7.5.1.1.2.1

              “Rising productivity”, no far far from it, Labour’s Andrew Little points out that in 20 years ‘labour productivity’ has risen by 40% “

              Yep – that’s productivity by grinding people down. It’s not sustainable in a societal or a business sense. For as long as you can squeeze more and more out of workers for by longer hours and lower pay there will be no societal cohesion, and no decent investment in processes, safety or innovation (imo).

  8. Rosie 8

    Thanks for reporting on this most important study Karol. Lets see if it it makes it to the 6 pm news.

    A few things:

    It is reassuring to hear Cunliffe’s words. Let hope his words become a reality. The workplace of Key, Bridges and Bennett and co has been an unhappy and uneasy workplace. Both private sector and public sector workers suffer under this regime. Ya know sometimes when I read about Union campaigns from the States and the UK and I hear of the company who is trying to for example reduce the amount of pension they pay to their staff I think, “well, they’ve got it lucky, our own government is the almighty Union Buster, the one that speaks and acts for all the companies”.

    When have we ever had such insecure and unprotected work opportunities? I know I’ve never had it so bad in my 20+ work history. (One brief example of many: at my last contract with an NGO of all employers, there were no breaks except a short lunch and I overheard the boss organising to sack some one under the 90 day act!!!)
    All the time I hear about people’s terrible work situations. Some of the young people I’ve spoken with don’t even know there was once a thing as a steady permanent job with things like over time and regular scheduled breaks.

    I wasn’t aware until now that the education sector employed the highest proportion of temporary workers. This should be a sector where the workers – educators, are highly valued for their contribution to society, and their own knowledge and expertise should be acknowledged via by provision of permanent hours. I guess it demonstrates what a commodity education has become.

    Finally, Rhinocrates. There is nothing in the world like a cat friend to be a wonderful unconditional therapist. My cat friend has got me through the worst of times with her special feline powers of therapy. Even through the soul destroying hellish job that landed me the land of paroxotine for a few months, it was that bad. (Not the NGO one, another one!) Cats will know you care about them and admire them and they will seek you out. I hope you find such a friend soon. And yes they are very expensive to care for, especially when they get sick.
    Would you consider advertising your services as a cat sitter? When people go on holiday you could go in to their house and stay to take care of the cat. You have the place to yourself, and the companionship of a cat. God knows if I ever went on holiday you’d be the kind of person that would be welcome in my house and my cat friend would approve too.

    • Rosie 8.1

      Too late to edit:

      make that “… under the 90 day provision within the Act” and lets not forget Kate Wilkinson’s role prior to Bridges.

    • Rhinocrates 8.2

      Indeed. Many people think that cats just use us, but they love us as much as dogs do, but just show it in different way.

      A cat sitter – a good idea! However, I might be too much like a cat myself – bound to my own territory.

      In any case, try this:

      http://www.youtube.com/user/simonscat

      • Rosie 8.2.1

        Thank you 🙂 Interesting theories re the lovely Nora’s musical inclinations, and Simon’s cat, always brings a smile.

      • Chooky 8.2.2

        ha ha Rhino….very good….I think Simon’s cartoon cat should be called Gareth!

        …interesting about the musical cat (mysteries of sound /harmonics /purring/physical healing are all fascinating)….personally i think cats have senses we don’t and can see things we cant….maybe that is why the Egyptians revered them ….as did the Norse?…and pagans

        You might get a Shostakovich loving cat

    • infused 8.3

      What a load of bullshit. You can’t not have breaks, and you can’t just fire someone under the 90 act. Get a clue.

      • Colonial Viper 8.3.1

        So you have no problem with enshrining your comments in law, then?

      • miravox 8.3.2

        “you can’t just fire someone under the 90 act”

        Best you go tell everybody who calls the 90-day trial period the ‘fire at will’ law then.

        • infused 8.3.2.1

          Please link me to all these fire at will cases please.

          • miravox 8.3.2.1.1

            lmgtfy

            Actually, I said everybody who calls it the 90 day fire at will law. I didn’t mention ‘cases’ But I’m sure you can google those yourself too. There have been a few. you can start with Burger Fuel then go on to Positive Airflow Limited and Green Cabs… usually there is only publicity if it’s a unionised workplace, of course.

            A Dept of Labour evaluation found 22% of employees were dismissed within the 90 period. Something like 11,000 is the figure given elsewhere.

            The thing is – even if they did fire illegally (pretty close to impossible if the employment contract process was done correctly, according to the legal beagles) the it would have to be a worker with huge backing to challenge it through the court process.

            For a legal interpretation about whether you can fire at will…
            http://www.buckettlaw.co.nz/Site/articles/2012_90_Day_Trials.aspx

            As of 1 April 2011 all new employees are subject to a 90 day trial period. This allows an employer to terminate an employment relationship within the first 90 days without reason and without risk. However, in order to successfully use the legislation the trial period must be in writing, agreed to in good faith and recorded at the start of the agreement. It is important that both employers and employees know how trial periods work, because they are not as simple as they appear…

            As long as you tick the right boxes when hiring, as an employer, you can do what you like.

        • infused 8.3.2.2

          Should be easy… being the fire at will law…

        • infused 8.3.2.3

          Going to bed. I’m sure you will have a massive list by morning.

          • Colonial Viper 8.3.2.3.1

            No cases exist?

            Then the law is unused, unnecessary and clearly redundant. Repeal.

          • McFlock 8.3.2.3.2

            The government chose not to monitor it, but as Marty G pointed out shortly afterwards, the unions have documented some cases. Do your own research.

            But the problem is that there are few if any poster “cases” because the law means there is no redress – all an official complaint would do is leave legal bills and give an unemployed worker a reputation of being a troublemaker. Not what you want when you’re competing with hundred of other people for a single job.

            Most people who live in the real world and therefore know below-median jobseekers would have stories about the abuses that happen in this environment – especially with the combination of casual low-wage work, 90 day bill and WINZ subsidised employment.

            We have a new generation of indentured labour being formed, not tying people to employers but to roles in society. Keep ’em too poor to afford education or turning down abusive conditions, but make that work so insecure that they can’t work their way out of the situation, either.

  9. Puckish Rogue 9

    “Insecure work”

    – Well thats a new one I guess, right up there with “living wage” as a load of made-up bollix but I did like this from Cunliffe:

    “Subject to the provisions of fiscal responsibility”

    – Translation as follows:

    “We know its unaffordable, we know we won’t implement it but it sounds good and everyone on the minimum wage will vote for us”

    and because everyone here loves polls (when it suits)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9262148/Cunliffe-lays-out-Labours-plans

    • bad12 9.1

      Pucker Up wont you, don’t forget to bend over while your dong so, whats pleasing about your comment is that sense of defeat you transmit via it for National in November 2014,

      It’s so good to see one of the Tory swamp hogs having such a good grasp of the realities of MMP politics with a Labour Party in the ascendency,

      ”The IMMEDIATE raising of the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour”, you must be the only person in New Zealand right now that believes that will not occur,

      Subject to the conditions of fiscal responsibility the ‘Living Wage’ will be included, first for Government’s direct employees,

      i would assume as Labour repatriate the spending of a large part of Government spending from foreign economies those wishing to ‘win’ such contracts here in New Zealand will also have to be a ‘living wage’ employer,

      Pretty simple really, the fact that you cannot grasp such only reveals to us all that you are even more so, simple that is…

    • Rosie 9.2

      “Insecure work” and “living wage” might be buzz words to you PR but they are just as real as those terms “flexible work hours” and “rationalisation”.

      • Puckish Rogue 9.2.1

        “Subject to the provisions of fiscal responsibility”

        • Tim 9.2.1.1

          which of course will depend on available revenue – there are various ways of obtaining the available – most, I imagine, not to your liking – but all quite feasible

  10. Puckish Rogue 10

    “Pucker Up wont you, don’t forget to bend over while your dong so, whats pleasing about your comment is that sense of defeat you transmit via it for National in November 2014”

    – Due to MMP and Nationals poor grasp of it I felt National should only get one term but I didn’t count on Labours sheer incompetence

    “It’s so good to see one of the Tory swamp hogs having such a good grasp of the realities of MMP politics with a Labour Party in the ascendency”

    – Sorry to have to point out to you that we still have an election to come and the honeymoon period for Cunliffe will soon end because hes not as popular as Key

    Subject to the conditions of fiscal responsibility the ‘Living Wage’ will be included, first for Government’s direct employees,

    – I doubt many the governments direct employees are on less than $18.40 so that’ll be easy to implement I guess

    i would assume as Labour repatriate the spending of a large part of Government spending from foreign economies those wishing to ‘win’ such contracts here in New Zealand will also have to be a ‘living wage’ employer,

    – If they’re allowed to, there are rules and laws that have to be followed

    Pretty simple really, the fact that you cannot grasp such only reveals to us all that you are even more so, simple that is…

    – I guess I’m just not as simple as you then 🙂

    PS I hit the reply button but it didn’t work

    [lprent: The server side is pretty foolproof coding wise. However the client side works by using javascript to change the position of the comment form to the right place in the comments div and then attaches the relevant parent comment id in. This all relies on the client browser allowing javascript and performing it correctly. Neither are guaranteed because it depends on how well your system is configured and on memory usage etc. That is by far the most likely sources of the problem.

    (as a hint do not rely on the Chrome browser for this you’ve just chewed up a few GB of RAM with google analytics doing javascript for realtime site information – goes really slow and javascript fails all of the time) ]

    • bad12 10.1

      So in the course of 2 comments you have gone from ‘it will never happen” to so that will be easy to implement i guess” as far as the ‘Living Wage ‘ for direct Government employees goes,

      Pretty much a light-weight as far as comments and commenters go, i tend to somewhat agree with you vis a vis Labour’s 2011 election result which was hamstrung by the ‘apparent’ main plank of that election being to raise the age of Superannuation eligibility, i am sure tho most Labour supporters will see far more to be gained by having David Cunliffe as the next Prime Minister than would have been the case had Phill Goff assumed the position,

      However, if you examine the National Government program from 2008-2011 you would have been forgiven for seeing this Slippery lead National Government as a shoe-in for three terms,

      Sad to say,(for you), Slippery’s Government only have to lose 2 % points, or Labour gain 2, and it becomes impossible for National to form a Government…

  11. greywarbler 11

    Business New Zealand does not agree about the extent of the problem, but is worried for some.
    “With that cohort of people who really are struggling at the bottom of the labour market, what we need to do with them is invest a lot in them in terms of their skills,” Phil O’Reilly said.

    I think that this applies to small business in particular. If they can only keep in business by getting workers at a discount, then they are either being undermined by other businesses not meeting their already small obligations, or the locality is oversupplied with that business, or they are inadequate at running and managing the business or bleeding too much out of it.

    Then perhaps they should downsize their home to something that matches their low profit/drawings. Perhaps we would be better to make starting a company or partnership a little harder and requiring certification in business practices that includes employee relations, and obligations, and oversight.

  12. Mary 12

    Has anyone, perhaps David Cunliffe or Helen Kelly, spoken at the conference about the need to reintroduce proper social security provision that enables meaningful participation as citizens? And how looking after the lowest paid workers is inextricably linked to looking after the poor regardless of income source? Or is it business as usual for Labour on this front?

    • bad12 12.1

      The short answer if i may be so impudent to comment on behalf of appears to be No…

      • Mary 12.1.1

        …and yes, it’s business as usual.

        All power to Mana and the Greens.

        • karol 12.1.1.1

          Well, I’ve just watched Cunliffe’s speech – Jeeeeezuz! That’s rousing stuff.

          It isn’t totally business as usual. There is a change there. Cunliffe has re-committed his team/government to be aligned with the unions – no quarter given to those who disparage unions.

          I, too, have concerns about whether he’s committed to re-building social security. But he has moved away from Sheaerer’s deserving and undeserving poor. Cunliffe repeated;y talks about a society for all New Zealanders. he starts of talking about the prevcariat. He talks about the unemployed living in garages, and children in poverty. It IS a speech to the unions – so the focus is on work.

          So, I’ll reserve judgement til I hear what he plans for social security, and I’ll vote Green to keep his team honest.

          • Mary 12.1.1.1.1

            I did mean business as usual on the social security front only. I’ll be voting Mana for the same reason you’re voting Green. That can only strengthen the left’s position overall.

            • bad12 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Lolz, i am a Green Party member and this far out from November 2014 my vote is also going to the Mana Party, i see the need to be building ‘the broad church of the left’ more than i see the need for tribal politics…

        • bad12 12.1.1.2

          My thoughts are like Karol’s i believe, lets Taiho for a little time and see if Labour will publicly address the ‘issue’ of Welfare aka removing all the ugly s**t installed in the system by Paula,

          Not a blank check for Labour to ignore the plight of those reliant upon the benefit system, just the breathing space for the next Minister to gather Her thoughts…

          • Mary 12.1.1.2.1

            Not just what Paula’s installed. How about waiting to see if Labour will restore certain cornerstones of our social security system so arrogantly and sneakily removed by Labour?

    • karol 12.2

      The videos of Cunliiffe’s speech are linked at the bottom of my post above. And, I imagine there is no focus on social security, and there needs to be.

  13. newsense 13

    How did this play on the 6pm news?

    Was it supposed to? Didn’t seem to be in the first segment of the news, apart from a quote on Super which was framed by Steven Joyce.

    Not much publicity for it as far as I can tell.

  14. newsense 14

    can see a video on TVNZ’s website at the top, no video on TV3, but some text stories.

    Guess that media love-in/honeymoon is not locked in – big news for a lot of us though.

  15. newsense 15

    Mostly fair handed coverage from One- though called the promises expensive which $30 million doesn’t seem to be, compared to billions in tax cuts, billions in missed super money, which is running Nationals line. Seems like a lot of leadership auditioning from Joyce recently- ETMZ, etc etc and Collins popping up to be extra, super tough on crime.

    It did give Cunliffe’s rebuttal as the closing- he would only do it if the country was in financial condition for it or some such and gave a good strong quote: “There will be no more fire-at-will without even an explanation”

    Joyce: ‘You can’t lift wages by fiat’ only cut taxes, or cut youth wages…or give hand outs to failed businesses…these are things it is possible to do by fiat- wages you must wait for the market fairy and if the employer feels like it…

    also Joyce: “jack up everybody’s wages” Are we all on less than a living wage in NZ or is that just how the Nats wish us to be? truth comes out…

  16. greywarbler 16

    I’ve been trying to listen to Cunliffe talking at the CTU meeting and being recorded, but against such a barrage of sound of conversation and laughter that it’s impossible for me to hear a joined-up sentence. I wonder if there is such a thing as a sound screen that, with two perhaps clear panels on feet, could be quickly erected so as to baffle the surrounding noise as people chat, laugh while the important speaker, as Cunliffe was at the CTU, can actually talk and be recorded or just heard by journalists and others.

    How can we get left-wing views through to the media? It’s so important that it gets facilitated, it can’t be treated with a casual attitude with the person of interest battling away to be heard when they put their points and thoughts forward.

  17. infused 17

    Removing the 90 day trail, like dickhead wants to do, will be the stupidest thing ever.

    “Chloe Sifflett, a 21-year-old fastfood worker, says employers “think they can just hire new people and forget about the people they already have.””

    That doesn’t even make sense.

    • newsense 17.1

      jog on

      • infused 17.1.1

        Well it’s simple. New permanent roles will go to contract, or they won’t be employed at all.

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1

          Well, it’s not hard to marginalise those businesses out of trading, and advantage more socially responsible employers.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Get a job like most NZers have to put up with and you might understand it.
      She was too nice to use the words “fuck over” rather than “forget”.

    • bad12 17.3

      The only dickhead around here seems to be YOU, befor the stupidity of this 90 day trial period was brought about by this Slippery National Government had the sky fallen in for the lack of one???…

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