The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

youth rates bill to pass first hurdle

Hat tip: Andrew Falloon (!)

Image heinously uplifted from: a-cappella.com

Looks like the numbers are in favour of putting Sue Bradford's abolition of youth rates bill through to Select Committee, thanks to, of all people, Peter Dunne. Wohooo!

Aucklanders have a chance to express their support for the Bill at this rally on Saturday, and I'm sure the campaign will heat up once it's through the first vote in the House, which I think will happen this Tuesday.

It all ties in with the campaign to raise the minimum wage (for everyone). Although I believe $12 is still too low, this is an important first step in addressing very real, and pressing, concerns about the level of income of a lot of families. If people currently had enough to live on there wouldn't be loan sharks all along the main street of Otahuhu and popping up near many state housing areas in Auckland. Proof, yet again, that the market will not provide for everyone.

Update, 12.33pm 8th February 2006: Thanks to Joe Hendren for pointing out in comments that the Bill is only about youth rates, not lifting the minimum wage. Oops! I've corrected my original post (including the title) accordingly.

15 comments:

Maia said...

It's a little early to celebrate. Andrew is assuming that Labour is voting for the bill.

That assumption has little grounding in fact. They may decide to send it to select committee, and kill it there, but everything I've heard is that they're voting against it.

Just what you'd expect from a Labour government. If any of those supposedly progressive MPs had any backbone, they'd cross the floor. But they won't

span said...

Good point. Sometimes I am too optimistic about Labour.

Sounds like this could be the EUB bill (2001 I think?) all over again :-( That ended up with a joint statement from Alliance and Labour Youth Wings slamming their MPs for voting the Greens' bill down - I wonder what Young Labour's stance is on the minimum wage?

Joe Hendren said...

Hmm I thought Sue's bill only removed youth rates (ie it does not also lift min wages to $12)

I agree with Maia that it can not be assumed Labour will vote for the bill. They might vote it to select committee, then kill it off with some vague promise of the issue being addressed in a future government bill/review ra ra ra

Expect the business community to pretend to froth up a big stink and Labour will fold, again.

Maia said...

From everything I've heard Labour are currently going to vote against it.

They were supposed to decide in caucus yesterday. The fact that we haven't heard anything probably indicates that they've decided to vote against it, but they're too chickenshit to say so. So hopefully they'll be susceptible to pressure.

span said...

From what I hear that caucus had a pretty big agenda...

Idiot/Savant said...

So, should we be pressuring people then?

Andrew is also assuming NZ First will support it. But while they support a $12 minimum wage, I haven't seen anything from them on youth rates. Has anybody else?

span said...

I understand that that Greens have been working with the SuperSizeMyPay campaign in Auckland in terms of the pressuring stuff, but I'm sure a bit more wouldn't go astray ;-)

NZ First's Youth policy states:
NZ First will:
- review youth wages and employment conditions

Which rather fails to give much away.

Idiot/Savant said...

Their industrial relations policy states that they will "raise the minimum and youth wage" - though doesn't have much detail.

Incitement to lobby is here.

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andrewfalloon said...

Hmmm, I would imagine NZ First, United Future and Labour will send it to Select Committee.
What happens afterward is anybody's guess.

Ed said...

Ignore the above comment.

It sounds terrible but this bill puts me in a great position, if it gets shot down then it'll be an ideological win for me. If it goes through the greedy individualistic capitalist pig-dog inside me revels over the fact that it'd net me an extra 32 dollars a week.

I like Sue Bradford.

Ed said...

Er, by the above comment I meant my comment which I had deleted, not Andrew Falloon's comment.

span said...

Does that mean I can still ignore Andrew if I want, Ed? ;-)

Actually I would imagine that too, AF, but I think Maia and Joe are right, it could be wishful thinking (by me).

With Winston in Fiji I assume someone else in caucus would have to do the liasing with Labour if they were going to vote it down though - I doubt NZF would want to vote it down alone if Labour is supporting it.

maps said...

I've been talking in the last couple of days with some young Unite and Radical Youth members who are unhappy with the direction in which the campaign for a rise in the minimum wage and the abolition of youth rates is being pushed by the Greens and the leadership of Unite.

They realise that legislation lifting minimum wage and youth wage rates has no chance of passing through parliament unless immense pressure is put on the government through strike action and street protests. But the focus of the upcoming rally at the Town Hall on Bradford's quixotic bill ignores this reality.

There's a danger that McCarten and the Greens will use the rally to promote their own political careers. McCarten will urge people to sign up to his new Workers Charter electoral project; the Greens will urge us to waste our time making submissions to the select committee.

The folks I talked to felt it would be far better to be organising for strike action, in workplaces and also in schools. There are recent precedents for both: last year we saw the first Starbucks strike in the world being organised by Unite in Auckland, and back in 2002 there were massive strikes and marches by secondary schools students in support of their teachers' pay claims.

Of course, they could be wrong, and I could be wrong, and a little bit of cyberlobbying of Winston's crew could be all it takes to win ;)

span said...

I'm a bit concerned about the campaign too (at least in Auckland) as it does rather sound as if the Greens are relying on Unite to do all the activism around this. Maybe I'm letting my disillusions about McCarten get in the way though.

Once this first hurdle is passed (hopefully) I think there is a need to rark it up. In fact it could have happened before the first hurdle but nevermind, let's look forward rather than back.