|No.158||12 December 2001||Essential Information on an Essential Issue|
of key events over the last few weeks.
JOB ADS SLUMP
ARTISTS AND INNOVATION
SLAVERY ALIVE AND WELL
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Index to Features
15 November 2001
Act MP Muriel Newman says the government's employment policies are failing Maori. Referring to Winz figures that show a significant increase in the number of Maori long-term unemployed. Newman predicts things will get worse due to the current moratorium on the funding of Private Training Establishments where many Maori do their post school training.
17 November 2001
Hospitals are struggling under a shortfall of junior doctors. New medical graduates have usually filled junior doctor positions by this time of year but hospitals are reporting they have 10-20% fewer junior doctors than they need.
19 November 2001
Malaysia sends 2,500 illegal workers back to Indonesia and another 1,700 are scheduled to be expelled in December. More than one million foreign workers have helped fuel economic growth in Malaysia but as Malaysian unemployment rises, the government intends to deport 300,000 foreign workers to free up jobs for local people.
20 November 2001
NZ'ers need to revamp their attitudes toward work and skills if they want the country to rejoin the ranks of the world's most prosperous nations according to Treasury Secretary Alan Bollard. He says that in order for the country to provide high quality services more people have to participate in the workforce and those that are working must have higher skill levels.
Alcoa, the world's largest aluminium producer is to cut 6,500 jobs in the US and Europe.
21 November 2001
Winz intends to run free buses in the Hawke's Bay to help get workers to jobs processing this season's fruit harvest. Buses will run from the communities of Flaxmere and Maraenui to packhouses at Whakatu.
22 November 2001
The inaugural Social Entrepreneur Conference begins at the Wellington Town Hall.
Job losses are likely at the recently expanded airline engineering facility in Christchurch. A steep drop in work coming into the Pratt & Whitney/Air NZ joint venture that employs 350 staff has prompted the company to offer redundancy to 40 staff last month and 50 more may go by Christmas.
23 November 2001
The world's largest bank, Japan's Mizuho, plans to cut 10,000 jobs over the next four years.
24 November 2001
Britain is considering a law that will require business managers to seriously consider an employee request to alter their hours so they can fulfill their family commitments. The regulation will commit employers to a process where parents of children under six can provide a written request to alter their working schedule to better suit the working parent. Britain's Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt says the changes will accelerate progress towards a better balance between work and family life.
26 November 2001
A meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers is considering a code of practice to minimise the poaching of health professionals around the world. While poaching of health professionals by wealthier countries impacts on NZ, the meeting has been told that Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean are far worse off. The Ministers hope to introduce a morally binding agreement that shows regard for the country that is losing their health professionals.
27 November 2001
Several Southland firms are now shortlisting North Islanders who have contacted them about job vacancies through the We-Need-You campaign.
Telstra Corporation's NDC engineering and construction unit plans to cut up to 1,000 Australian jobs. The Melbourne based company says that it is only doing about one-third of the work it was doing at this time last year.
28 November 2001
Regional Development Conference opens at the Rotorua Convention Centre.
Housing NZ has nearly 10,000 families on its waiting list for a state owned house, a figure that has ballooned since the government introduced charging income-related rents on state houses a year ago. Housing NZ now owns 60,106 housing units down from a peak of 70,234.
29 November 2001
The NZ Institute of Economic Research predicts that next year the economy will grow at a reduced pace of 1.7%.
30 November 2001
Credit Suisse First Boston will cut about 50 staff from its Auckland and Wellington offices by February.
Hundreds of contractors who are laying TelstraSaturn's fibre-optic cable network around Christchurch are likely to be prematurely out of work. Progress on the project has all but stopped since TelstraSaturn announced its intentions to buy Clear Communications. The NZ Herald says that if the acquisition is approved, the new cable network is unlikely to be completed.
Australian Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott tells employers at the Job Futures conference in Sydney not to be "job snobs". Abbott says employers can be too fussy about who they will employ, particularly when it comes to older or disabled Australians. Abbott had previously called some jobseekers "job snobs" for refusing to do certain work.
1 December 2001
The National Bureau of Economic Research says the US economy has been in recession since March. The NBER also says output by the 30 OECD countries is expected to have contracted by _0.3% the second half of this year.
2 December 2001
Employment in the IT sector has tightened up. NZ InfoTech says there are now 25-30% fewer contractors working in the industry and that candidates looking for jobs have increased by 30-40%.
Palmerston North-based mail order company EziBuy has purchased Australian Myer Direct's database. Only 20 Myer Direct staff will get work with EziBuy and it is likely the other 327 staff in Melbourne will be made redundancy.
3 December 2001
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a Telstra business partner, Austar United Communications, is cutting up to 400 jobs by the end of the year.
4 December 2001
The Taranaki Employment Support Foundation Trust launches "Suited Employment", a scheme to provide suitable clothes, as well as support, to people going for job interviews. At the launch of the project, the entrance fee is one item of used clothing suitable for corporate wear.
5 December 2001
Plans are being made to develop another substantive natural gas field off the coast of Taranaki. About 100 staff and consultants are currently working on the Pohokura project. If it goes ahead as envisioned it will employ up to 600 workers during the construction phase.
6 December 2001
A bilateral free trade agreement with the US could provide $1 billion in new exports for NZ businesses but is unlikely to go ahead because there is little in it for the US. Alex Sundakov of the NZ Institute of Economic Research says that NZ already has low tariffs and coupled with the small scale of the NZ economy means that a free trade agreement is of little interest to US officials.
7 December 2001
In a bid to save 30 jobs at the Taranaki Base Hospital laundry, the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers Union has drawn up an alternative plan for the Taranaki District Health Board that would see the hospital's laundry continue to be done locally rather than be transported to a "mega laundry" in Palmerston North.
8 December 2001
Norway celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. At the Centennial Symposium, one hundred Nobel laureates issue a brief but dire warning of the "profound dangers" facing the world. The statement argues that our future security depends on immediate environmental and social reforms.
The Nobel laureates: "The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate and unjust ..."
According to Immigration Service research, 21 knowledge-based organisations in the film, wool, technology and telecommunications sectors report that they are struggling to fill skilled jobs and often turn work away if they cannot recruit locally or off-shore.
The Southland Times reports there is virtually no unemployment in Queenstown and employers are apparently searching nationwide to fill vacancies in the services, building and horticultural sectors.
Central Otago fruitgrowers expect to double last year's production this season, and are also concerned about a worker shortages this summer.
The government's initiatives will include:
developing a new occupational/skill forecasting model to assist people to make better informed decisions about education and training needs
enhancing the Winz job talent bank, and improvements to the Kiwicareers website
improving regional skill reports and making existing labour market information produced by government agencies publicly available
requiring Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to undertake strategic assessments of the skill needs in their industries
Source Press Release NZ Government (Steve Maharey) 14 November 2001 "Government to introduce skills forecasting"
SHORTAGES AT THE ORCHARD
Kempthorne says that recently-relaxed immigration policies have prompted the Fruitgrowers Federation to produce a brochure targeting young international travellers for whom it is now legal to do seasonal work. A website www.seasonalwork.co.nz has been set up to put people in touch with employers who will have vacancies.
Sources The Nelson Mail 8 November 2001 "Nelson region faces labour shortage" _ Helen Murdoch; Sunday Star Times 11 November 2001 "Foreigners plugging the brain drain" by Sarah Catherall;
"TALENT VISAS" FOR MIGRANT WORKERS
Council of Trade Unions secretary Paul Goulter agrees the "talent visa" would help fill the gaps in the economy left by the hands-off approach taken by the last government. However, his concern is that employers will see this as a way of continually plugging skills shortages without training NZ'ers to do these jobs.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has described the new scheme as a "body blow" to NZ'ers. He argues that NZ workers should be provided with every opportunity to improve themselves. Peters: "We have ample talent amongst our own population and it is insulting to suggest that is not the case and bring in foreigners to take our jobs."
Source New Zealand Herald 23 October 2001 "Immigrants in need of a working welcome" Kerr Inkson; Sunday Star Times 11 November 2001 "Foreigners plugs the brain drain" Sarah Catherall; New Zealand Herald 27 November 2001 "Govt raises the bar for immigrants" Gregg Wycherley; Press Release the TMP Job Index Survey January _ June 2002 "No English _ no job"; The Dominion 4 December 2001 "Skilled foreigners get visa shortcut" Christine Langdon; Press release by the NZ First Party 4 December 2001 ""Talent visa" an insult to NZ workers"; Policy announcement Minister of Immirgation Lianne Dalziel 7 December 2001 "Govt announces plan to seek skilled migrants"
DRAMATIC FALL IN JOB ADS
TMP strategy director Kaye McAulay says that this is the first time the employment survey has recorded a downturn in hiring expectations since July 1998. It is clear that managers expected a slump in employment in the Travel sector, after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. But a fifth of employers surveyed in Tourism, Chemicals and Oils, Transport, Manufacturing and Media sectors also expected to cut staff.
Sources The Dominion 10 December 2001 "Job ads feel the pinch" by Marta Steeman; New Zealand Herald 27 November 2001 "Job prospects gloomy in face of slump" by Julie Middleton
THE BOOM, ARTISTS & INNOVATION
But the end of the boom may also be an important spur to creativity. Petrus Simons, of the Wellington-based Integrated Economic Services, argues that the boom of the 1990s was not a period of major innovation. He says the good economic times featured a sustained application of computer and telecommunications technology. But these technologies had already been created before the 1990s, and the economies of the last decade grew largely on the basis of refining techniques already developed.
Simons hopes that the end of the boom will make people sit up and re-think the way we have been doing things. Simons: "Whilst being the last to underestimate the adverse effects of a recession on those who have the misfortune of being unemployed, or to lose a lucrative business, a recession may have the positive effect of stimulating innovation and developing new ways of thinking."
Simons applauds the recent government moves to allow those who are unemployed and who believe that they have the ability to make a living as artists to pursue a creative career while receiving the benefit (see last issue of The Jobs Letter). He sees this as an important step in fostering innovation: "True artists are always innovators. They question old ways and find interesting new ways of doing things."
Simons recommends however that the government take a further and bolder step and require artists on the scheme to give a week of their time to their communities. He says that this has proved effective in Northern Italy where artists went to small villages and worked out ways in which other unemployed people could do useful things (example: making orange juice). The community involvement of artists in Italy has significantly reduced the deprivation in small villages.
Source "Innovation" by Petris Simons, from the December 2001 Newsletter of Integrated Economic Services.
Te Araroa also has the support of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. The Taskforce has recommended a grant of $50,000 from the Employment Catalyst fund to go towards the construction of an "Ocean to Ocean" trail connecting Ahipara to Kerikeri. Far North Mayor Yvonne Sharp says the walkway project will create employment both in the building of the trail and in generating tourist facilities and services in communities along its route.
Sources Social Entrepreneur conference organisers, Employment Matters November 2001, and Trustees of the Employment Catalyst Fund.
The Social Entrepreneur conference organisers had chosen the kea as its symbol because it is the world's only mountain parrot, it has a high level of social organisation, a propensity to play, and an unusual ability to learn and create new solutions to whatever problems they encounter. Maharey: "The kea is inquisitive and creative to the point at times of almost being annoying. It is intrepid, assertive and at times shows a breathtaking disregard for authority. One could argue that these also suggest the qualities of a social entrepreneur..."
INTERNAL AFFAIRS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
The CPWS scheme will continue to focus on the needs of young people, and will ultimately fund about 20 social entrepreneurs in this field throughout New Zealand. The workers will be funded for a minimum of three years, and will have the active guidance and support of the Internal Affairs Community Development Group staff.
Examples: Losa Tamati is being supported to work with Te Amorangi Richmond in Christchurch in a project to identify young Pacific Island leaders and develop the skills and attitudes necessary for successful social enterprise. Maria McEntyre is also being supported as a social entrepreneur in her capacity as Director of the Waipuna Youth and Community Trust.
for more information on the CPWS scheme, contact Dave Mulholland at Internal Affairs phone 04-495-7200.
Source Speech by Steve Maharey to Social Entrepreneur Conference 23 November 2001 "Enabling Social Entrepreneurs a partnership between government and community"; vivian Hutchinson interview with Donald Shand of Internal Affairs 10 November 2001.
BACKING FOR NEW SMALL BUSINESSES
Enterprise Hamilton already provides management training and mentoring, and chairperson Tom Beier says the next step is to give new business people backing at the bank. Enterprise Hamilton intends to raise capital from government and other sources as a guarantee for loans to those small business clients who have done the "Be Your Own Boss" training programme but do not have the collateral to back their own loan applications. Beier expects the scheme to be operating by February.
Source Interview with Tom Beier 5 December 2001 by Dave Owens
He says that young people have had the doctrine of working for someone else ingrained into them for years ... but we need to encourage them to have a more entrepreneurial attitude to their working lives both in working for someone else, or working for themselves. McVie: "In the past 5-10 years we've seen a significant attitude shift in the 16-24 year old age bracket. This age group no longer expects to have security of employment. But they can achieve security of employability if they have positive entrepreneurial can-do attitudes, and are prepared to go for it ..."
McVie says that regions wanting to reverse the youth exodus to the cities need to help young people develop new opportunities in their own communities. One of the most common reasons young people leave their home town is to find a job ... so they need to see there is support and encouragement in their own communities for new ideas and business opportunities.
The impetus for this change in climate was an inquiry carried out in 1992 into the reasons for the low rate of new business formation in Scotland only 60 per cent of the comparable rate in the rest of the UK.
As part of the enquiry, attitudes to entrepreneurship were compared in Scotland, England, West Germany and the USA. It was found that far fewer people in Scotland than in the other countries believed that entrepreneurs contributed much to the economy, and in Scotland more people thought manual workers made a significant contribution than people who set up businesses. These findings were found to be spread throughout Scottish society with little variation among most social groups. Scots also believed that government investment was more likely to create jobs than entrepreneurs and similar views were found in schools, universities, the media and local authorities.
These findings shocked Scottish Enterprise, the main government development agency. It realised that support for enterprise is linked to personal attitudes as much as to abilities. And it also recognised that changes in the world of work would require fundamental changes in the way education is developed. This led to a wide ranging campaign to change attitudes throughout Scottish society, increasing the profile for entrepreneurship in the education system as well as developing a more encouraging environment for new business start ups.
Sources Gordon McVie speaking at the Regional Development Conference Rotorua Convention Centre 28 November 2001; Press Release 28 November 2001 "Don't just give them a job, give them a career" by Gordon McVie; Paper "Enterprise Development In Scotland" by Tony Burton of The Planning Exchange, given to New Entrepreneurs Conference, Athens, 21-24th January 2000
MILLIONS OF SLAVE LABOURERS STILL EXIST
Slavery is not a dying institution, but is actually growing bigger every year . It is estimated to be producing an annual $12.3 billion in good and services in the global economy. Slavery is illegal in most of the countries where it is practised. But while this exploitation is usually not called slavery, the conditions are the same: people are sold like property, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their "employers".
The slave trade is flourishing in west Africa, on what was once called the Slave Coast. UNICEF estimates that every year some 200,000 children are trafficked and sold. On the Ivory Coast, it is estimated that some 90% of the workers on the cocoa plantations are slaves. They produce half the world's cocoa sold to chocolate-producing companies.
And the slavery isn't confined to Africa. The CIA estimates that 50,000 slaves are sold in the USA every year. Educated young women from Ghana and Cameroon are lured to America with the promise of a chance to study, and then enslaved as domestics. According to the UN Centre for International Crime Prevention, the trafficking of slaves is now organised crime's third largest money earner after drugs and guns.
(pub 2000, University of California Press)
available from amazon.com
For more information www.antislavery.org