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DWI contravene ERA principles, damage unemployed

7 December 2000

DWI contravene ERA principles, damage unemployed - Greens

Contracts offered for staff at the Department of Work and Income's (DWI) new student services call centres are completely unacceptable and contravene the spirit of the Employment Relations Act, Green Party Employment Spokesperson Sue Bradford said today.

"DWI have offered their new staff contracts that offer no job security, no fixed hours of work, holiday pay under the hourly rate and statutory holidays paid at the normal rate. This is a workers' nightmare and cannot be condoned for any employer, least of all a Government department," said Sue Bradford.

"It is outrageous that a contract that is so antithetical to everything the Government was seeking to achieve in the ERA is now being foisted upon workers for the DWI call centres. I call upon the Minister of Work and Income, Steve Maharey, to intervene and insist on contracts which provide adequate protection for everyone who works for DWI."

Ms Bradford said the contracts offered to staff of Factotum Works Ltd, employed to run student services call centres, did not meet the standards required for fixed term employment under the Employment Relations Act. Because the workers are expected to work until March they should not be employed on one day contracts and nor should their wages be paid fortnightly.

"The contract says workers may be asked to work on statutory holidays and that any work on such a day would be at the standard hourly rate with no entitlement of a day in lieu because of the casual nature of the agreement. This goes against everything the Green Party and the Government believe about the special nature of statutory holidays, and it pressures staff to work on such days without any compensation," said Ms Bradford.

"I am also concerned about the effect of these contracts on unemployed people who are expected to get off the dole and find good quality, sustainable work," said Ms Bradford. "These contracts contravene the Government's own goals for jobseekers, and are the same as some of the worst things that happened under the Employment Contracts Act," she said.

"The DWI is supposed to be improving its management practices and not contracting its core services out. They keep assuring the public that they are on top of things. I cannot understand or believe that the Ministers of Labour and of Work and Income would knowingly allow this situation to arise and I call on them to take action to stop this immediately."

Sue Bradford MP: 04 470 6730, 025 243 4239 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090


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