Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fire at will is a failure

Back in 2008, just after being elected, the government rammed the Employment Relations Amendment Act through under all-stages urgency. The bill introduced a 90-day trial period for workers in small businesses, ostensibly as a measure to reduce youth unemployment by lowering the risks of taking on young workers and others without experience. The rhetoric of the bill was all about "giving people a chance", and the people being talked about were primarily young people.

By any measure, this law has failed:

Despite Mr Key's claims, since the 90-day probationary period began youth employment [sic] had risen from 17.9 per cent to 27.5 per cent.
(That's an unfortunate error from the Herald there, and one which gives an impression which is the opposite of the truth)

The Standard has the graph here.

Faced with policy failure like this, you'd think a government would reverse its position. Hardly. Not only have they extended the trial period to cover all employers, they're now talking about restoring discriminatory youth rates as well. Which shows that this was never about youth unemployment and "giving young people a chance"; rather it was always about upwards wealth transfer by reducing wages, working conditions, and job security for the vast majority of New Zealanders. It was about making the rich richer by making us poorer. And we should not let them do it again.

Update: Noted the Herald's typo.