Essential Information on an Essential Issue
6 March, 1995
" The worrying feature is that nearly half of those on unemployment, domestic purposes,
sickness and invalids benefits have been so for two years or more. These individuals face the greatest
risk of being locked out of the recovery due to the deterioration of their work attachment ... "
-- from Treasury papers, released last week under the Official Information Act.
- UN GLOBAL WARNING
UN Global Warning : The International Labour Organisation ILO has just released a
report that says the world is drifting into an unemployment crisis and calls on governments to
work together to avert a major social disaster. The report says that 820 million people, or 30% of
the global labour force, were without jobs or under-employed at the end of last year. The
situation worldwide is the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930's and, without concerted
action, the numbers of people out of work will swell rapidly ... increasing global social unrest. The
report, called World Employment 1995, was prepared for this week's UN Social Summit in
Copenhagen. It calls for a revival of post-World War II commitments by governments around the
world to full employment : " This will provide the basis for the renewed international co-operation
that is so essential for solving the employment crisis." The ILO wants the UN Summit to agree
to plans for better integration of marginalised communities and states, in order to promote
productive employment and the alleviation of poverty.
Source --The Christchurch Press , 23/2/95, World faces employment crisis _ ILO, reuters
The ILO's key steps to increasing jobs include : trade liberalisation, global
co-operation to stabilise financial markets, the protection of economies from problems caused by the
large increase in speculative currency flows, the encouragement of export-led industrial
development, the improvement of labour markets through reduction of non-wage costs, reform of
the benefit systems, and much wider worker re-training programmes.
Source-- The Daily News, 23/2/95, ILO seeks word effort to restore full employment
- PRINCE'S TRUST BRANCH IN NZ
NZ is the first country outside Britain to get a branch of the Prince of Wales Trust
which aims to help young people gain employment and training. The Prince's Trust, in Britain, is
a large organisation with many volunteers and the active support of its patron, Prince
Charles. As well as employment and training programmes, the Trust is active in many British
environmental and community projects and has helped young people start new businesses.
In New Zealand, the Prince's Trust will offer youth programmes in education,
training, life-skills development and job creation. First up will be a volunteer programme which
will take teams of 15 young people and put them through a 60-day course which includes
practical training and life skills. Trust chief executive Peter Allen has told the Jobs Letter that
they intend to work in co-operation with other sectors in the community, and not necessarily will
set up their own facilities. They are setting up two pilot schemes - in Waitakere and South
Auckland - in co-operation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
- There are several other Prince's Trust programmes, which the NZ group plans to
adapt to local needs and conditions once resources are available. Chairing the Trust is the
Employer's Federation chief executive and Employment Taskforce member Steve Marshall who
believes that its programmes "have the potential to answer many of the training challenges
identified by the Employment Taskforce". He says the trust will establish and manage a capital
fund with public and private contributions, enabling it to become financially independent.
Foundation Trustees include Sir Howard Morrison, Bob Harvey (Mayor of
Waitakere), Lieutenant Commander Dick Ryan and Mrs Sue Dalison Ryan (personal friends of
- LABOUR CRITICAL OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICE PLACEMENTS
Work, the Labour Party newsletter on employment issues says that only 27% of
placements by the Employment Service were in full-time work in the year to June 1994. In
fact, NZES made more placements into jobs lasting for less than 10 days.
Work also reports that figures from a Labour Department survey on the effects of the Employment Contracts
Act reveal that the number of people employed on casual work may be as high as one in ten.
UNION WARNS ON CASUAL WORK
Warnings on casual work from the Service Workers Union. They report many
casual workers only getting as little as two hours of work a week, but are being threatened with
the sack if they are not always available to work. Other casual workers are working much
more than 40 hrs a week, which means they do not get overtime, or sick pay and can also be
sacked at any time. Their `job' ended every time they were paid and they had no guarantees of
future work. The union is considering taking a test case to the Employment Court for a ruling on
how casual staff should be treated by employers.
- ABATEMENT RATES REVIEW
After years of complaint and submissions from community groups, it looks as though
the government is going to seriously look at changing the rates at which welfare benefits
abate when beneficiaries return to work. Treasury papers, obtained under the Official
Information Act, advise government that the incentives for people to return to work are ineffective,
and benefit abatement rates are acting as a potential disincentive.
Treasury estimates that with high abatement rates, unemployment beneficiaries could
take home only $2.70 an hour more than the dole in a 40-hr job. These rates have serious
implications for beneficiaries wishing to take advantage of part-time or short-term work opportunities.
The Treasury papers contained no recommendations, but say that reshaping the welfare system
in favour of work was essential in meeting the government's broad social and economic
goals. Watch for : announcements from Bill Birch on restructuring the abatement system.
The Dominion 1/3/95 Abatement rates under study, Catriona MacLennan. The Christchurch Press , 28/2/95 Govt
reviews benefit system to remove work disincentives, NZPA
- EMPLOYMENT PROMOTIONS CONFERENCE
Remember the Employment Promotions Conference in 1985 ? Dr Jane Higgins of
Lincoln University's Sociology Department believes there are some salutary lessons for us in 1995 as
we consider the outcomes of the Employment Taskforce report. In an article in this month's
NZ Political Review, Dr Higgins says that many of the themes and suggestions from the 1985
conference were similar to last years report, and "we should be alert to the fact that we are treading
a well-worn path... "
Dr Higgins : " The Employment Promotions Conference in 1985 presents us with a
case study in a government's cavalier disregard for a consultation process that the community
took entirely seriously. The ideas that people offered then for work-scheme reform and
community involvement in employment development were swept away in a set of reforms that showed
scant evidence that the government was prepared to return the courtesy..."
- Dr Higgins is encouraged that the 1994 Taskforce has at least heard and supported many
of the issues that have again been brought forward by the community - especially in its support
for the role of local communities in finding local solutions to local problems. She is unclear,
however , as to whether the proposed network of Local Employment Commissioners will be able
to achieve this : " "The lines of control by, and accountability to, the government are very clear
in this kind of proposal where a single officer appointed by government oversees and facilitates
local developments. The lines of accountability back from government to the community are
- BERNARDOS SOCIAL SERVICE HOTLINE
Barnados has opened a free hotline to offer independent advice on social services.
The Family Advocacy Information Resource Centre will be providing information on benefits,
child support and legal rights. The hotline is based at Barnados national office in Wellington.
The number is 0800 222 345.
Christchurch Press, 6/3/95, Barnardos's line gives data on welfare, Anabright Hay
- NEW JOB SEARCH METHODS
Networking is the buzzword for searching for a job in the 1990's. Pam Gross and
Peter Paskill of the US agency CareerMakers estimate that 65% of their clients end up in jobs that
are not advertised - something they refer to as the `hidden job market'. They counsel jobseekers
that the more people they know, and the more people who know they are looking for work, the
more they increase their chances of finding or creating a job. Since managers don't want to spend
time with the hiring process, the manager is likely to ask colleagues to suggest anyone who might
fit the job description. If the manager is speaking to someone the jobseeker knows, then they
may have a job lead.
The old way of doing job search is to respond to newspaper ads by sending out
resumes. This means that the jobseeker falls into the `stranger' category. CareerMakers : "Once a
jobseeker understands that people do not want to hire strangers, it becomes their task to make a lot of
new friends and notify the old ones that they are looking for work. Doing this in a structured way
is called networking..."
Source CareerMakers `New Way' job search methods are explained in the book Want a New Better Fantastic Job ? by
Pam Gross and Peter Paskill (pub. RightSide Resources).
- DEVELOPING THE RURAL ECONOMY
International consultant Agnes Gannon last year spent six weeks in rural areas
throughout NZ explaining her "Global Management Approach" to local economic and community
development. Her approach to rural development is based on entrepreneurial development and the
development of business skills. She accepts that agriculture is the cornerstone of rural
development, but also sees the desirability of other types of economic activities, especially rural tourism,
to broaden the economic base of rural areas.
Paddy Twist, of the Rural Bulletin, says that her approach has several key features :
(a) adopting an immersion type of training programme whereby people and communities learn
by being involved in development projects; (b) stressing the importance of integrated
sustainable development; and (c) ensuring community participation and ownership of the development
Articles by Agnes Gannon and her rural development work are available from Paddy
Twist, Editor of the Rural Bulletin, P.O.Box 2526, Wellington. Fax 04-474-4163
- THE EXPANDING UNDERCLASS
Marketing analysts are tracking a significant rise in the `underclass' in NZ, according
to AGB McNair's director Brian Milnes. Milnes told the National Business Review that in the
population marketing analysis known as the target grouping system (Tags), the group referred to
as `lonely and dissatisfied' has increased dramatically. In 1991 it represented 16% of the
population. Today it was up to 24%.
Milnes : "We are seeing an increasing polarisation, with more have-nots coming through
the system. There is a perception that the economy is in recovery and things are getting better, but
a growing number are hurting badly ..."
- HANDY ON RETIREMENT
Charles Handy would like to see the concept of `retirement' redefined as `The Third
Age', being a third of a person's life. "A third of the population is over 55 and soon it will be half,"
he says in a recent Fortune article. "The word retirement should be banned. We as a society
can't afford it."
Handy says that people in their Third Age should stop thinking about retirement or taking
a package at 55 as the beginning of leisure, but start thinking about two decades of another kind
of work. His advice to aging baby boomers : "Look for customers, not bosses." Specifically, he
sees education as a prime job opportunity for the young oldster : "In ten years, more education
will take place outside of schools than inside..."
- SKILLED WORKFORCE KEY TO STRONG ECONOMY
US Secretary of Labour Robert Reich believes that nations with the best skilled
workers will also have the strongest economies. He believes that technology will not necessarily an
enemy to jobs - it depends on your level of education and skills. Reich is observing `a profound shift'
in US labour patterns : skilled people are in demand and earn ever higher pay, while people
without skills tumble down the wage ladder.
Data shows that US real-income disparities between educated and uneducated
workers have widened since the early 1980's, abetted by the technological revolution. Reich
told Newsweek recently that "if you are well-educated, and appropriately skilled, technology is
your friend. It enhances the value of your output. But if you lack the skills you need, technology
is your enemy..."
- REFERENDUM SOUGHT ON FREE MARKET POLICIES
The Next Step Democracy Movement is seeking national referendums on the free
market policies being pursued by government. They are using the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act
to forge a referendum on six issues including full employment, benefit increases, promotion of
public health, a fully funded education system, energy conservation and cuts in military spending.
The employment question on the referendum is worded : " Should full employment
with wages and conditions that are fair and equitable be the primary goal of government
economic policy ? " Next Step has to get 10% of registered voters - about 230,000 people - to sign
a petition within a year before the government will proceed with the referendum.
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