Imagine that your job was to clean 130 toilets every day. Imagine the grinding unpleasantness of it. Imagine the horrors some disgusting person would regularly leave for you to deal with. Imagine you do that for just above the minimum wage, barely enough to support your family, far from enough to live a real life. And imagine seeing one of the people whose shit you clean sneer at you.
Watch this. Listen to these poor working women plead with the rich people in suits to give them just a taste of the life that they take for granted. See Tau Henare (a man who was once a union organiser, for fuck’s sake) sneer and say she should give her job to someone else if she doesn’t like it.
Someone, Tau, has to do the job of cleaning up your shit or your office would soon stink of it and worse. That person is as human and as worthy of basic human dignity as you. And, unlike you, she works hard for her money, when was the last time you contributed anything of value to society? Arsehole.
As for Henare’s ‘solution’ – what happens when the woman gives up the job? Some other poor desperate person has to take it and endure the same conditions. She herself can’t get the benefit because she gave up a job voluntarily and she’ll be bloody lucky to get another job in John Key’s economy where 50,000 more people are unemployed than when he came to office.
‘She should educate herself, get a better job’, says the smug rightie. Still doesn’t change the fact that someone has to do the job and they deserve dignity. And how is a working class Pasifika mother meant to be able to afford to get educated? She can’t afford to take the time off work, and there’s no government support for her to get an education on the benefit thanks to Paula Bennett who took away the Training Incentive Allowance.
And, now, rather than pay these people a living wage, National wants to make a crappy, low-paid job worse by making it possible for cleaning contractors to fire existing staff and hire them back at worse pay when contracts change hands.
A job and a fair wage in return for your hard work. It’s something that anyone deserves, but it’s more than National thinks that you’re worth.