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Seeking better work rights

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, July 25th, 2008 - 10 comments
Categories: wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Seek has released analysis of the pay-rates offered by employers advertising on its site. It’s not a perfect measure and the figures are for the last quarter of 2007 but they still make illuminating reading.

The average salary rose from $55,583 to $57,664 in the quarter but low-skilled pay-rates went backwards. Kitchen staff from $29,625 to $28,831, waiting staff wages from $30,826 to $30,296 , caregivers from $31,967 to $30,894, shop assistants from $32,565 to $31,668 and cleaners from $31,964 to $31,704. Employers report they are offering lower pay because there are more workers available.

This confirms several important things:

  • A full employment policy boosts wages.
  • Employers will cut pay-rates if they can get workers cheaper.
  • Vulnerable workers (all the job classes listed have low unionisation rates) are the first to suffer when the employment situation worsens. You don’t see workers in unions taking pay cuts.
  • Raising the minimum wage acts as important constraint on employers forcing wages down. The pay in the jobs listed can’t drop too much because the minimum full time wage is now $25,000, up from $16,000 under National. The minimum wage not only sets a bottom limit for the worst paid jobs, it also has a halo effect on pay for the next tier of low-skilled jobs.

To protect vulnerable workers’ pay and conditions we need work rights to be enhanced, not undermined.

10 comments on “Seeking better work rights ”

  1. ants 1

    “A full employment policy boosts wages.”

    Why is it that with full employment low-skilled pay rates went backwards then?

    And these are not real wages – once the additional taxes Labour have burdened Kiwis with are added to the picture, the increase will be gobbled up. Then take that and add a healthy dose of government induced domestic-inflation over the last 9 years, and Kiwis are worse off.

    Then compare us to other countries in the OECD and it shows how terrible a job Labour have truly done. What was it that Helen said about lifting us in to the top half of the OECD again?

  2. because employers reported that there were more available workers – ie we’re not as close to full employment as we were.

    ants. are you just ignorant or what? real wages are up 25% since 1999, Labour has not put up income tax since 1999, and even that one doesn’t apply to any of the wages in the post because they’re not above $60K

  3. roger nome 3

    Steve:

    “To protect vulnerable workers’ pay and conditions we need work rights to be enhanced, not undermined.”

    Damn, right, and we know exactly who’s rights, wages and conditions are going to be hit by National’s new “probationary employment” bill.

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2008/07/national-prepares-to-make-war-on-poor.html

  4. roger nome 4

    “To protect vulnerable workers’ pay and conditions we need work rights to be enhanced, not undermined.”

    Dead right, and all the evidence shows that it’s the 500,000 or so low-wage workers that will be targeted by National’s “probationary employment bill”. Just as they were in the 1990s.

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2008/07/national-prepares-to-make-war-on-poor.html

  5. sweeetd 5

    FFS sake Peirson, you have a MBA, did you sleep through the economics classes?

    Of course employers will cut wages if they can get employees cheaper. Ergo, more workers=higher supply, therfore drives down demand factors=wages. Simple supply and demand.

    Same for full employment, simply turn around the above.

    Inforcing boundries on the market end up hurting those most in need. This we will probably disagree on till the end of time.

    “You don’t see workers in unions taking pay cuts”, no just ebing made umemployed. Did you ned see the 200 odd being terminated from the freezing works down south this week?

  6. Benodic 6

    SweeetD. The workers at the freezing works were laid off because the industry is changing from sheep carcasses to dairy, which means less need for meat workers.

    Their union collective meant they had redundancy pay to help tide them over though.

    What was this about failing economics?

  7. sweeetd 7

    Benodic

    I never said anything about failing economics.

    Everything I said was because of simple economics. We need the govt out of the market place, not putting barriers in the market place.

  8. Draco TB 8

    Actually, the government needs to put good regulation into the market place so that it works at all. Take out those regulations and watch the economy collapse.

  9. Gekko 9

    “Actually, the government needs to put good regulation into the market place so that it works at all”

    So people are unable to come to any mutually beneficial exchange agreement without govt intervention?

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