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    Essential Information on an Essential Issue

    Letter No.88

    14 October, 1998

    International Labour Office World Employment Report looks at different approaches to training around the world


    ILOrep.jpg - 8805 BytesA record one billion people or a third of the global workforce are unemployed or underemployed, according to the latest International Labour Office (ILO) report on worldwide employment trends, released last week. Michel Hansenne, the director general of the Geneva-based organisation, says that the global employment situation is "grim and getting grimmer..." and he warns that growing unemployment will bring more poverty and inequality, as the global economic crisis spreads.

    Of the one billion total, some 150 million workers are actually "officially" unemployed, mainly in industrialised countries. In addition, 25 - 30% of the world's workers or between 750 million and 900 million people are under-employed. These people are either working substantially less than full-time, but wanting to work longer ... or are earning less than a living wage.

    Ilologo.gif - 1692 Bytes

    The ILO says that the East Asian financial crisis will increase joblessness by 10 million directly and up to 20 million indirectly this year. The economic crisis has boosted Indonesia's unemployment rate from 4% to 12%, increasing the numbers of those in poverty from about 22 million to 80 million. In South Korea unemployment has jumped from 2.6% to 7%, while in Thailand the jobless rate is expected to reach 6% this year, compared with between 1-2% two years ago. About 3.5 million workers are also expected to be laid off in China as state enterprises are "restructured". The ILO report also highlights the sharp deterioration in employment in central and eastern Europe since the collapse of the communist regimes nearly a decade ago.

    Ilologo.gif - 1692 Bytes

    The picture of global unemployment and underemployment contained in the ILO report contrasts sharply with the last ILO Employment report which was published in 1996 (see Jobsletter No 52 ). At that time, the ILO said that a number of encouraging signs heralded a global economic revival and would cut unemployment and underemployment worldwide. Now, Michel Hansenne says that the revival, which the agency anticipated would spur higher jobs growth in all parts of the world, has "only cut unemployment and underemployment in the United States, and to a lesser degree in the European Union".

    The ILO still has the same recipe for change that it recommended in 1996: more training and education. See the special feature in this issue of The Jobs Letter. Long-term unemployment continues to be a concern for the ILO. It has been particularly severe in the European Union member countries, where more than 60% of the 9 million long-term unemployed in 1996 have been out of work longer than two years.

    Ilologo.gif - 1692 Bytes

    The ILO also estimates that about 60 million young people around the world between the ages of 15 and 24 are in search of work, with youth unemployment running to 20% in many OECD countries. In developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, urban unemployment rates for young people often reach over 30%. The latest global economic turmoil makes young workers even more vulnerable to layoffs - employers react to economic recession by cutting back on hiring new workers. The report also points out the wider dangers from youth unemployment: vandalism, crime, drug abuse, alienation, social unrest and conflict.

    The ILO has, however, found examples of programmes that work for young people. It recommends: "schemes that provide young people with a foothold in the labour market through short-term in-firm work experience." A key policy approach in many of the European Union countries is to provide financial incentives to firms to hire and provide some training for young workers. In the mid-1990s, these "youth contracts" accounted for almost 25% of youth employment in Italy, 20% in Greece and 12% in France and Spain.

    Source Press releases from the ILO available on the website at ; The Guardian Weekly 4 October 1998 "Jobless totals one billion worldwide" by Seumas Milne

    Australians last week re-elected the Liberal Party government of John Howard by a narrow margin of six seats. The election was called to gain a mandate for pushing through radical tax reforms, and the Australian media expects Howard to shake-up his cabinet in order to give his government a fresh look. Employment and community groups will be watching to see whether the controversial Minister for Employment, Dr Kemp, will keep his job.

    Many of Sydney's beleaguered Job Network agencies (see The Jobs Letter No.84) were hoping for a Labour Party victory as they were promising increased funding for their training programmes. The Sydney Morning Herald estimates that up to a third of the 310 new agencies are at risk of folding financially because of the strict criteria for their schemes.

    A new study, by the Centre for Labour Research at the University of Adelaide, says that regional labour markets in Australia are in crisis and face higher unemployment rates than at any time since the Great Depression. The study predicts unemployment rates will rise over the next 12 months, driven by global financial instability.

    Centre Director John Spoehr says: "Unless we take steps to buffer our labour market against the approaching downturn, unemployment in Australia will rise substantially ... the jobless rate in regional Australia could reach unprecedented levels." He says that dealing with the crisis in regional employment requires "a new political consensus built around the need for increased government intervention and a willingness to use a proportion of the budget surplus to fund new industry, regional and employment development programs..."

    The study finds that Australia's national unemployment rate is much worse at the close of this employment "recovery period" than at the end of the previous two recovery periods: 8.2%, compared with 6% in 1990 and 6.1% in 1980. Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia were particularly hard hit, with unemployment rates 30 to 40 per cent higher than at the end of the previous two recovery periods, according to the study.

    Source -- Sydney Morning Herald 6 October 1998 "Howard takes broom to cabinet"; Sydney Morning Herald 30 September 1998 "Job Network agencies warn of mass closures under coalition"; Australian Financial Times 8 October 1998 "Red alert on jobs in the bush".

    The Germans have elected a new left-of-centre government in a "red/green" Socialist and Green Party coalition. Their surprising list of reform proposals for Germany grows daily: more liberal social policies including the decriminalisation of cannabis; genuine environmentalism; a determined attack on unemployment; the launching of pan-European Keynesian growth policies; and an end to the German monetarism of the Bundesbank.

    The new SPD leader, Gerd Schröder, has made it clear that the government will be judged on its record on job generation. He has advocated an Alliance for Jobs, in which government, unions, employers and even churches are to hammer out a common line on employment.

    Schröder is concerned not to levy additional costs on employers and he wants to free up the battery of regulations that inhibits Germany developing a vibrant job-generating service sector. He is also a clear supporter of Keynesian-style demand management.

    The designate Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine believes that Germany's poor record in job generation is about lack of demand, and he sees the chief culprit as Bundesbank policies. He has already called for an interest rate cut, and is looking to replace the bank's current President with someone who is not such a hard-line monetarist.

    The solution, according to Lafontaine, is to reorganise the European and international systems so they are more biased towards economic expansion. That would allow individual European countries more autonomy in launching national job creation policies. Watch this space...

    Source _ Will Hutton "You could always depend on the Germans to be right of centre and a little dull. Now, that will be wrong on both counts" in The Observer 4 October 1998

  • UNITE!
    A new community-based union has been established to represent the interests of unemployed people, especially those "being forced" onto work-for-the-dole programmes. Unite! was formed last month at a meeting in Rotorua, and now has its national offices in Porirua. The union takes the view that workfare programmes are "simply periodic detention for the unemployed ... it does not provide real jobs, and it punishes those who cannot find work..."

    The membership fee of UNITE! has been set at a minimum of $1 per week. This will rise in graduated steps to $5 per week for who are employed and want to join the union as "solidarity" members who may not need the services of the union but wish to support its work. The National Office of UNITE! is situated at 11 Sunlight Grove, Porirua, PO Box 50-612, Porirua. phone 04-237-5062 or 0800-2-UNITE.

    Unite! Officers: President, Robert Reid (Wellington) Vice President, George Larkins (Palmerston North) Secretary, Caroline Hatt (Wellington); Executive: Paul Blair (Rotorua), Bill Bradford (Auckland), Helen Te Hira (Auckland), Lynn Smart (Milton), Jim Lamb (Christchurch), Tali Williams (Wellington), Julie Poupard (Hamilton), Gary Reid (Wanganui).

    Source _ Common Ground September 1998

    hiklogo.gif - 8151 Bytes The Hikoi of Hope arrived at Parliament Grounds on October 1st after travelling from all areas of New Zealand by foot, and gathering stories of poverty along the way. The stories were placed in flax bags (kete) and presented by the Anglican Bishops to politicians on the steps of parliament. These stories can now be viewed on the web at
    Source _

    hawken.jpg - 12809 Bytes Paul Hawken is coming to NZ on a speaking tour next month, sponsored by The Tindall Foundation. Hawken has a long history of breaking the ground of refreshing ideas and action, both as an author (The Next Economy, The Ecology of Commerce) and as a businessman (former head of Smith and Hawken, a US mail-order garden and tools company). Hawken believes we can create new jobs, restore our environment, and promote social stability through a new approach to business, one he calls "natural" capitalism. (For an overview of Hawken's ideas, visit our website at

    Hawken will be speaking in Auckland on 3 Nov, Wellington 4 Nov, and Christchurch on 5 Nov. For details phone Ros Capper 04-293-3310, or email

    Hawken is also the chairperson of the US branch of Natural Step, an environmental foundation dedicated to promoting principles of sustainable development within organisations, businesses and countries. Hawken sees the future of work as directly related to the environmental challenges before us: "All living systems are in decline and the rate of decline is speeding up. We are using more of what we have less of, and less of what we have more of ... we are the only species without full employment!"

    Warren Snow, Manager of the Tindall Foundation, has recently returned from a Natural Step training workshop in Chicago. His conclusion: "The business sector has more opportunity than any other to help turn society towards sustainability. Many businesses have control through their buying power over part of or even the whole supply chain and through marketing over people's attitudes and behaviour. A clear message is that business holds the key to the future as much if not more than any other sector of society..."

    Snow has produced a report on the conferences he attended "Gaining Competitive Business Advantage through Environmental Sustainability" available for $5 from the Tindall Foundation at P.O.Box 33-181, Takapuna, Auckland.

    Source _ Paul Hawken Tour flyer from Ros Capper; "Gaining Competitive business Advantage through Environmental Sustainability" report on Natural Step training workshop by Warren Snow, Manager of the Tindall Foundation

  • ???
    Career Question: assuming that you must work and that you will enjoy good health until the moment of your death ... What work would you do if you had only twelve months to live?
    Source _ Adapted from Max Eggert's "The Book of Career Questions" Arrow Business Books

    Internet Bookmark : The Maori Employment and Training Commission is on the net at

    The Commission has been set up by the Ministry of Maori Affairs, and was a part of the now-defunct coalition agreement. It aims to recommend policies and processes to reduce Maori unemployment. Commission chairman Rongo Wetere: "The Commission is comprised of a proven and committed group of Maori and their extensive networks. It strives to improve government processes in collaboration with Maori ... only through action oriented and integrated development, can real opportunities for our peoples employment be realised..."

    The Commission has set itself ambitious goals in creating an employment plan which will be accepted by all political parties for the creation of 200,000 new jobs in New Zealand in a 5-year period. It also wants: separate identifiable funding for Maori controlled by Maori; the adoption of a successful and sustainable self-determination model for Maori; and the reintroduction of work-based training on a national level.

    In recent months, the main focus of the Commission has been on gaining a greater Maori perspective in the new WINZ organisation, The Commission has also engaged a series of consultants on research projects which will be collated over the next month, and presented to Ministers early next year.

    Source --Maori Employment Commission site at

    What are the consultants working on? According to the Maori Employment and Training Commission website publicity, the upcoming research reports will include:
    -- Research on two working models of the Community Wage programme from a rural and urban perspective, with a view of establishing barriers to the programme being successful in assisting long term unemployed Maori. (Carried out by Waipareira Trust (Urban), Deana Fuli; Maori Congress, Employment Committee (Rural),Jude Roberts)
    -- An evaluation of the effectiveness of Maori women employment programmes through NZISS and NZES, and recommendations for approving delivery and outcomes. (Carried out by Evelyn Tobin, Kotare Enterprises and Ann Dysart, The People Company)
    -- An evaluation of existing programmes and recommendations on the benefits of focusing programmes that target Maori men. (Carried out by Paul Stanley, Brauoda Research Organisation)
    -- An evaluation on the present situation regarding the welfare and delivery by Maori Training providers and recommendations as to how these providers can stay in business and deliver better outcomes for Maori. (Carried out by Dave Cowley, Cowley Manson Enterprises)
    -- An evaluation and recommendations relating to the potential of Maori land resources in terms of economic asset utilisation and employment options. (Carried out by Susan Wetere-Bryant , Lifeworks)
    -- An evaluation of the effectiveness of NZES programmes with recommendations as to how these services could be improved for Maori. (Carried out by Waipareira Trust, Mike Tollich)
    -- An examination of the education and training issues which affect 16-17 year olds, with recommendations to assist this severely disadvantaged group. (Carried out by Q and A Consultancy , Noel Scott)
    -- A scoping paper on the merits of including a Kaupapa Maori model within education and training opportunities. (Uniservices, Miki Roderick and Dr Graeme Smith)
    -- An evaluation of the Skill NZ strategy and recommendations that will assist with greater Maori participation in work-based and trade-training schemes. (Carried out bySusan Wetere-Bryant, Lifeworks)
    -- An economic feasibility studies into the process of the development of vineyards, and also horticultural opportunities (avocados and blueberries) in the Far North of New Zealand by Maori for employment and training, and their own economic self sufficiency. (Carried out by Okahu Vineyards, Ahipara, and Matai Orchards, Waipapakauri))
    Source -- Maori Employment Commission site at

    Trends. The number of people working in the arts and culture has risen by 31% between 1991-1996, according to a new Statistics NZ publication "Employment in the Cultural Sector". Nearly one in 20 people employed at the time of the 1996 census worked in this sector, which was growing at double the average rate of employment growth. The growing numbers of early childhood teachers accounted for nearly a third of the rise in jobs. Also popular: film projectionists, clowns, magicians and acrobats, singing and music teachers and wardrobe assistants. Nearly a third of the people employed as singers were Maori, even though Maori make up only 11% of all employed people.

    There was also a 57% increase in the number of people employed in newspaper and magazine publishing, and a 32% increase in workers employed in advertising agencies.

    Source The Dominion 2 October 1998 "Cultural sector employs 5% of workforce" by James Norgate

    The National Certificate in Employment Skills may become an alternative for students who want to stay at school, but have little interest in working towards a Sixth Form Certificate. A pilot course is presently running at Pukekohe High School, and it is recognised by the National Qualifications framework.

    The course requires students to acquire 60 unit-standard credits in a wide range of areas, including literacy, numeracy, communications and computing skills. They also work on problem-solving, health and safety in the workplace and interpreting basic graphs and tables. Students on the course spend four days a week at school, and one day in work experience.

    Transition teacher Sue Lewis says that her school serves a large district, and that the certificate in employment skills "provides a core qualification which is both relevant and realistic for a number of secondary students..."

    Source _ New Zealand Herald 2 September 1998 "Building on skills for tomorrow's workforce" by Pat Baskett

    Commact Aotearoa has changed the dates of its conference on "Community Development strategies in a harsh environment ", and will now be held in Wellington 5-6 November. Invited speakers include Peter Kenyon, the Australian adviser who started the first Community Employment Development Unit (which later became CEG) within the Department of Labour, and Margaret Crozier, the CEG Northern Regional manager. Contact Commact at P.O.Box 423 Auckland phone 09-302-2496
    Source _ flyer from Commact

    The fourth national Foodbank Conference will be held in Wellington 13-14 November, with the theme "Hidden poverty in NZ". It is being organised by the coalition of Wellington regional foodbanks. Contact P.O.Box 6133 Wellington, phone 04-384-7699

    Source _ flyer from conference

    David Wilson and John Wise of the Community Employment Group are presently touring NZ with a series of seminars on Community Economic Development. The "Future Communities" seminars aim to give participants an understanding of "the big picture" on social and economic issues facing communities today ... and how the challenge of development and job creation can be addressed locally. For more information, or to book a seminar in your area, contact your local CEG office.
    Source _ seminar flyer

    Voice: "No single economic development idea creates and sustains a growing, wealth-generating economy. Rather than searching for the magic lamp the one initiative that promises increased jobs and income regard the community or region as a system for economic development, and make the system work effectively..."
    from "Harvesting Hometown Jobs" (1997) published by the National Center for Small Communities (

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