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Mana - National's attack on young workers despicable

Mana – National’s attack on young workers ‘despicable’

John Key’s announcement on youth wages this morning is a despicable and pointless attack on young workers says Mana Livelihoods spokesperson Sue Bradford.

‘Not only is National planning to extend the time employers can pay 16 and 17 year olds a lower wage from 3 to 6 months, they are adding insult to injury by extending the catchment to some 18 and 19 year old workers as well.

‘It is contemptible that Key and his colleagues are using young people as cannon fodder in their efforts to please National’s big business and corporate support base.

‘When my bill lifting youth wages succeeded in Parliament back in 2007, I believed that at last we were starting to bring this country out of the dark ages in terms of the way we treat young people in the workforce.

‘Unfortunately National now wants to turn the clock back and cement in even further discrimination against young workers.

‘Everyone in this country deserves equal work for equal pay. There is no reason except prejudice and the profit taking to force more young people on to a disgraceful minimum wage of $10.40 an hour.

Mana believes young people deserve to be valued and respected in every way, not treated like dirt, which is why we are also pushing for the voting age to be lowered to 16, alongside civics education in schools.

‘We are also highly suspicious of Key’s statements this morning around changes to other aspects of employment law, including the removal of the requirement to conclude a collective agreement, and proposals to ‘better manage’ allegations of constructive dismissal.

‘I believe that in fact what we’ll see if National returns to Government is a major employment amendment bill which will further erode the already highly constrained ability of workers and unions to bargain effectively for their wages and conditions.

‘At a time of supposed austerity Mana rejects the notion that the price must be paid by the young and by the lowest paid workers in the country, many of whom are Maori.

‘We call on voters to join us in rejecting National’s war on the poor when we get to the ballot box in a month’s time.

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