Friday, July 16, 2010

Class warfare

That is the only way to describe the government's plans to extend the 90-day employment trial period to cover all new workers. Big business wants higher profits. And so they're going to take them out of us, by making our employment less secure, preventing us from effectively organising, and removing pressure for pay rises. Oh, and preventing us from enforcing the terms of our contracts by limiting personal grievance claims.

As with their tax cuts, this is National's agenda stripped down to its core: fucking over the many for the benefit of the wealthy few.

The "justification" is that the trial period has "been a huge success". Obviously. That's why there's still 140,000 unemployed, and 30,000 fewer young people employed than there were when National took office. And it's why unemployment continued to rise after the law change took effect, and only dropped this year. If that's a "huge success", it really makes you wonder what failure looks like.

Ah, but I'm using the wrong metric. Wage growth has collapsed, while quarterly earnings are down. See? Success!

In reality, the government cannot measure how often trial periods are used, or whether they are being abused. The official advice was that it was

difficult to evaluate the outcomes for employers and employees who are affected by / make use of the 90 day bill.
And that the Department of Labour was not able to effectively measure what is occurring. Which makes any claim of "success" highly tenuous. But I guess if they came clean, and said "we have no idea if this policy works or not; in fact, we can't know - but we're going to extend it anyway", people would think they were mad. And they'd be right.

The good news is that Labour has said straight out that they will repeal this. Good. Now all they need to do is win an election.