The first jobs have already been lost following the Christchurch earthquake. 86 workers have been fired from Kaiapoi New World, which will be closed for a year due to quake damage.
The calculation for the supermarket was easy: ‘we’re not going to be open for a year, the $350 a week from the government per worker won’t cover our labour costs, and we’ll easily be able to hire new people in a year because unemployment is so high’.
The result: 86 workers and their families tossed into unemployment and poverty. they won’t get the miserly $350 a week. They might not even be eligible for the dole if they have a working partner.
This is exactly why the government should implement the kind of scheme I outlined where the government steps in to supply the full wages of workers who can’t work due to the quake. They could have funded this, and a lot lot more, by delaying the tax cuts for the rich for just one year.
But it didn’t because you and I both know that at the end of the day this government doesn’t give a damn about people who work in supermarkets. John Key personally stands to gain $15,000 a year from the top bracket tax cut from his PM’s salary alone.
It is for the rich elite like himself that National governs, not ordinary Kiwi workers. This natural disaster just makes their class war more stark.
PS. By the way, casualised and contract workers don’t get the $350 a week. They get the dole. Why didn’t we give the SCF investors a week’s dole each, rather than $45,000 each? Oh right. They matter, casualised workers don’t.