Wednesday, 12 July 2006
90 Day Bill Will be a “Life Shock” for low Income Families
The 90 Day Bill would increase ‘life shocks’ for workers and beneficiaries starting new jobs and needs to be defeated, says the National Distribution Union.
National Secretary, Laila Harre said that beneficiaries and low-income workers facing increasing hardship are the most vulnerable to the 90 day “no rights” bill and that the right to fire without reason in the first 90 day’s could be a “tipping point” into poverty.
Yesterday’s Ministry of Social Development reported that a series of “life shocks” such as restrictions in economic participation can lead to a “tipping point” where traumatic events affect living standards.
“Under National’s proposed legislation, you could be fired after 90 days without reason or the right to challenge it,” said Ms Harre. “If it’s impossible to challenge the reason for being fired, you would face a longer stand down for a benefit and would have to declare your dismissal at your next job interview, which would lower your chance of getting a new job.” 
“Although the bill will particularly affect low paid, seasonal and casual workers, it could affect every worker every time they start a new job,” she said.
The National Distribution Union is calling for the immediate extension of Working For Families to beneficiaries and a $12 minimum wage for all ages, and the sacking of the 90 day bill as a first step towards a living wage and the reduction of poverty.
Ms Harre said that poverty groups, beneficiaries and unions were fighting further attacks on the standard of living by organising campaigns against low-wages such as the National Distribution Union’s ShelfRespect.org supermarket campaign.
The National Distribution Union will also join public demonstrations against the 90 day bill in Wellington at Parliament at 12.30pm on July 20th, Christchurch at Victoria Square at 12 Noon on July 22nd and Auckland at Aotea Square at 12.30pm on August 23rd.
 When workers are dismissed, Work & Income use the odds of a successful personal grievance to help decide whether someone should face a stand down for a benefit. If it's impossible to take a personal grievance, they won't be able to avoid a stand down.