Essential Information on an Essential Issue
15 December, 1995
- THE 30/30/40 LABOUR MARKET
British economic columnist WILL HUTTON presents a challenging analysis of labour market trends.
- CEG'S NATIONAL PROGRAMMES MAY LOSE FUNDING
The major national programmes of the Community Employment Group (CEG) have
been given notice that their funding from CEG will cease by June 1997. These measures effect
the longer-term viability of the Be Your Own Boss programmes, Mainstreet, Business Grow, and
the Mature Employment Services. These projects will either have their funding transferred to
other government agencies (yet to be negotiated), or be forced to find "alternative sources of support".
The CEG funding moves are part of a `refocussing' of this government agency as
announced in the October jobs package. In effect, the refocussing means that CEG will become
the government's primary mechanism for responding to the employment needs of the
disadvantaged. CEG will target its funding on four priority groups: Maori, rural/urban disadvantaged
communities, Pacific Islands communities and women. Over the next 18 months, the agency will free
itself up from its national programme commitments in order to fund new initiatives that focus on
these four groups.
Wyatt Creech, in a letter to programme providers, says that the refocus will "... allow
CEG to return to its original and proper role of kick starting new ideas. This involves providing
short-term seeding funding for initiatives, rather than offering maintenance or long-term project
funding..." The funding for the four national programmes will be capped at their present levels in
order to give local agencies some security over the next 18-month period. The present funding
however "may not necessarily go to the same organisations...".
Source - Wyatt Creech to programme providers Oct/Nov 1995, and interviews with Regional Managers of CEG
- WHO WILL SUPPORT NATIONAL
Just who picks up these soon-to-be-orphaned national programmes will be the
slow-burning question over the next year. The refocussing of CEG lays a challenge at the doors of other
government departments like Commerce, the Business Development Boards, ETSA, or NZES
to step in and pick up programmes that perhaps fit better within their own workload.
- LEC'S GETTING UNDERWAY
The local employment co-ordination committees are another initiative from the
government's job package that is slowly getting into gear. The Department of Labour has advertised
for two managers who will promote the concept of local co-ordination throughout New
Zealand. They will be `high-profile' positions, reporting to the Secretary of Labour, and based in the
Wellington Corporate Office. Their job will be to encourage the setting up of local groups, and
provide advice and support.
Applications closed last week, shortlisting will be a couple of weeks ... watch for
appointments late January/early February.
Source - ad in The Dominion 25 November 1995, plus interview with Irene Wright, Corporate Office of Department of Labour.
- TOPS ENTRY CRITERIA WIDENED
The criteria for the Training Opportunities Programme (TOPS) has been opened up to let
in more people. The scheme, aimed at long-term unemployed with no qualifications and few
School Cert passes, has been heavily criticised by community groups over the last three years because
of its tight eligibility criteria. The scheme has now been widened up to include domestic
purposes and widow pension beneficiaries who have been on the benefit for a year and who have
low qualifications; more young people; more long-term unemployed; and refugees and ex-prisoners.
Source - The Dominion 5 December 1995 "Training opened up"
- CUT TO TRAINING ALLOWANCES DELAYED
Government plans to cut education and training allowances for 16-17-yr olds have
been delayed, possibly for up to a year. The government hoped to have legislation in place by
January 1st, but Parliament will not have enough time to pass the bill. The Youth Income Support Bill
was supposed to cut education and training allowances for 16 and 17-yr olds, increase family
support to families with children aged 16-17-yrs, and rename the unemployment benefit for people
under 25-yrs as the `job-seekers allowance'.
The Education Ministry estimates that about 1500 students aged 16-17 would now be
able to get the allowances, but once the bill is passed next year, another 8,500 students still at
school will not be able to get them.
Source - The Dominion 23 November 1995 "Youths get reprieve on student allowances" by Cathie Bell
- SHORTAGE OF ORCHARD WORKERS
A labour shortage is predicted for the Hawkes Bay. A public meeting last month in
Hastings was told that 4000 extra seasonal staff would be needed to harvest pipfruit in the region
by the year 2000. A massive increase in the size of the pipfruit crop is due to come on stream in
the next few years, with output in the region growing from 12 million trays of pipfruit to 18
million by the year 2000. Some orchard and packhouse owners were already experiencing shortages,
and a special taskforce has been set up to head off a critical shortage of workers. Proposals
put forward at the public meeting included the provision of accommodation for the seasonal
workers, and transport to and from the orchards.
Source - The Dominion 23 November 1995 "Taskforce aims to head off labour shortage"
- SHORTAGE OF ENGINEERS
Engineering firms in the Wellington region say that their biggest problem is a shortage
of skilled workers. A survey, by TradeNZ and the Four Cities of Wellington Economic
Development Group, highlights an acute shortage of electro-mechanical technicians, skilled computer
aided design operators, pattern makers, and automatic lathe operators. The survey also
identified vacancies for up to 75 skilled people.
An earlier report by the Engineers Union found that 53% of workers surveyed did not receive on-the-job training
from their employers.
Source - The Dominion 29 November 1995 "Survey identifies skills shortage"
- CITY SERVICES UP FOR TENDER
Half the work done by Wellington City Council will be put out to public tender in the
next 20 months, in a decision which could threaten the jobs of many of the council's 1500
workers. The council staff, organised into `business units' will be able to bid to keep doing the work
they now do. But they will only keep their jobs beyond 1 July 1997 if their bids stack up
against competing bids from the private sector.
The City Voice reports that this policy was approved in a closed session at the last
meeting of the outgoing Wellington City Council just before the October local body elections. Staff
were told of the new policies a month ago.
Source - City Voice 16 November 1995 "Council to tender half its work"
- UNIVERSITY GRADUATES DOUBLED
The number of university graduates has more than doubled in the last nine years,
according to a Vice-Chancellors' Committee report. There were 9565 graduates in 1986, and 19,327
this year, with females outnumbering males for the second year running. More than half the
NZ graduates were `in employment', a 1.8% rise on last year. This continues a rising trend
since 1992, when the proportion entering work (at 45%) was the lowest in a decade. Of the other
NZ graduates, 25.6% were going on to further study, 8.3% were looking at overseas travel,
and 13.1% were looking for work.
Source - The Dominion 12 December 1995 "Graduate figure double that of nine years ago"
- AVERAGE PAY RATE
Average hourly earnings for employees rose 2.7% to $15.68/hr in the year to August
1995. This is the biggest annual increase for four years. Statistics NZ
Source - The Dominion 25 November 1995 Business Week column by Craig Howie
- PAID PARENTAL LEAVE
The recent Woolworths staff agreement for two weeks' paid parental leave is seen as
a breakthrough for campaigners for paid parental leave. The agreement covers 7000 of
Woolworths workforce of 9000. The International Labour Organisation recommends that 12
paid weeks off be the minimum statutory provision for paid parental leave. New Zealand, the
United States, Swaziland and Lesotho are the only UN members lacking any statutory provisions,
while workers in all European Union countries are entitled to at least 14 weeks.
In the Woolworths agreement, staff with more than a year's service who take three
months off to care for newborn children are given a week's wage at the beginning of their leave,
and another week's wages on their return to work.
In NZ, while some private sector employers such as Levenes have made provisions, paid
parental leave is much more prevalent in the public sector in places such as schools and hospitals.
The Auckland Working Womens Resource Centre says that, in any year, an average of 2% of
the workforce would be eligible. Both Labour and the Alliance have included the measures in
their industrial relations policies, with Labour promising 6 weeks, and the Alliance 12 weeks.
Source - New Zealand Herald 23 November 1995 "Woolworths staff gain paid parental leave" by Mathew Dearnaley.
- PREPARE FOR THE END OF COMPULSORY RETIREMENT
Human Rights Commissioner Ross Brereton believes that employers and workers should
be preparing now for the end of compulsory retirement, which will be abolished from Feb 1st
1999 under the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1993. From this date, any mention of
compulsory retirement in employment contracts will be unlawful. Mr Brereton says that employers need
to look at alternative practises which will ease older workers into retirement, such as phased
or partial retirement options.
Age discrimination in employment became unlawful in February last year. In the past
year the Human Rights Commission received 400 age-in-employment related enquires and
investigated 17 formal complaints. Half the inquiries related to discrimination against workers over 50 yrs
Source - The Daily News 2 December 1995 "End of forced retirement nigh"
- US CONGRESS JOBS BILLS
Internet Bookmark : Draft Bills for Jobs from the US Congress
An introduction to the agenda of the `'Progressive Caucus' of the US House of
Representatives, who have outlined a legislative plan which is " ... rooted in the principles of social
and economic justice, non-discrimination, and tolerance. " You can check out their draft bills,
including the Job Creation and Invest in America Act of 1995, the Jobs for All Act and the
Corporate Welfare Reduction Act of 1995.
Send your Internet bookmarks to email@example.com
- LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MANUAL
A manual for facilitators involved in local economic development (LED) has just
been produced by former LED facilitator John Gutsell, and is being distributed by the Waitaki
Small Business Enterprise Centre. It is a comprehensive overview of how to create a LED strategy
for your area including an historical background to LED, how to develop the necessary conditions
for LED, principles of facilitation, developing community strategies, and how to measure your
The emphasis in the manual is summarised by its title:
Partners in Process. Gutsell believes that although there have been many individuals working towards the economic development
of their community, we are passing an important milestone where the necessity is on
co-ordinating the efforts of all the stakeholders in LED government, community, private enterprise
and inspiring them to work as partners in a development process. The Waitaki SBEC is planning
to convene training workshops based on the material in this manual.
Partners in Process, by John Gutsell ($85 incl GST) is available from the Small
Business Enterprise Centre, P.O.Box 175, Oamaru phone 03-434-9751 fax 03-434-7561
- MERRY CHRISTMAS
Christmas greetings to all our subscribers from all of us at the Jobs Research Trust.
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