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Union calls on Government to value the real people

Union calls on Government to value the real people who need real jobs

The Service and Food Workers Union is supporting protests by unemployed workers today, which brought the human face of unemployment to the front door of the banks in Wellington today.

SFWU National Secretary John Ryall said that New Zealand needs more initiatives to reduce unemployment, with focus on listening to the economists and making decisions without factoring in the social implications.

"Economists argue that reducing the levels of unemployment just won't work because we need to have a certain number of people unemployed or it affects inflation. Our union represents some of the lowest paid workers in this country, and we see every day the real effects of low wages on our people. When those people lose their jobs because a company isn't making enough money for their shareholders or overseas interests it can have a devastating affect on their families." said John Ryall.

SFWU member Freda So'e lost her job when Griffin's closed their plant in Lower Hutt and moved all the work to the Auckland factory.

"I know how people feel when they get made redundant, because 2 years ago it happened to me when Griffin's closed down. It's bad enough losing your job, but when it happens just before Christmas and there are no other jobs out there it is awful," said Freda.

"I was lucky because I got appointed to go to Auckland and help set up the plant there, but that brought other problems with it too. I had to move to Auckland for 9 months, and leave my family behind in Wellington. The kids got out of their daily routine and I wasn't able to support them. It was a difficult choice, but if I hadn't taken the job in Auckland I would probably have lost my house as I wouldn't have been able to keep up with the repayments", said Freda.

"Many of my friends weren't so lucky, and they were unemployed and on benefits for a lot longer than me. I reckon 20-30% of the people I worked with still don't have a job."

"The message of the protest today was that we are real people need real jobs. We're not just statistics," said Freda.

ENDS

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