Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Warehouse: Subsidised by forced labour

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is proudly announcing a new "youth initiative" with The Warehouse to give young people work experience. Which sounds great, until you realise that that work experience, lasting 15 days, is unpaid. So what this really means is that MSD will be leaning on young people and threatening to cut benefits unless they "agree" to work for free for three weeks for a perfectly profitable major company. There's a name for that: forced labour. And its not something we should permit in New Zealand.

Assuming National's discriminatory "training wage" applies, each of these workers will be deprived of over $1500 in wages during their "work experience". MSD has agreed to provide a thousand of them, so what this really amounts to is a $1.5 million government subsidy to The Warehouse, extracted by bullying and threatening vulnerable young people. For a company which supposedly prides itself on its social conscience, its absolutely disgusting. And we shouldn't shop there, until they agree to pay every one of these workers at least the minimum wage, like any other employee.