More evidence of the minimum wages scandalous inequity
More evidence of the minimum wages scandalous
Press Release by ACT Leader John Banks
Wednesday, September 11 2013
The latest Employment Court ruling - that it might be illegal for people to freely undertake voluntary unpaid work in order to gain work experience and prove their capacity for work - is yet more evidence of how unfair, discriminatory, and dehumanising New Zealand's labour laws have become, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“The hurdles successive governments have put in the way of young people wanting to make the transition from schooling to productive work are nothing short of scandalous,” Mr Banks said.
“New Zealand has one of the highest minimum wage rates in the OECD relative to the average wage. This hurts those with the least skills and the least job experience the most.
“According to Statistics New Zealand's latest figures, almost 61,000 young adults aged 15-24 were looking for work but unable to find it at 31 March 2013. Over half of these (35,000) classified themselves as Maori, Pasifika or Asian.
“We should all be free to choose to participate in unpaid voluntary work, paid work at mutually agreeable terms, self-improvement, and social leisure activities. Yet by depriving our most vulnerable would-be workers of that freedom, society is effectively forcing those who are most desperate to get work into offering their services for free for a trial period.
“Employers who accept are not the villains. They are actually giving these young people an opportunity to make the transition to a normal adult life.
“National has gone some way to reducing the inequitable and unfair barriers the last Labour government put in the way of young people wanting to work, but the latest development and the unemployment numbers speak for themselves.
“Greater rights to freedom of contract need to be restored,” Mr Banks said.