Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Not enough from Bradford's bill, or Progressive

I'd like to be happier about Progressive Enterprises's move to equalize youth and adult pay rate, pending completion of a three month probation period. But I'm just not feeling overly-celebratory about it. It is better than treating the youth workers as second class, and removes some of the incentive of supermarkets to employ kids to do adults jobs, but I'm still not happy. Not cock-a-hoop happy, anyway.

It is an improvement on what was. When it gets through palriament, Sue Bradford's bill will give sixteen and seventeen year old workers the full adult rate as well - though, curiously, the deal between Progressive and the National Distribution Union extended to fifteen year olds as well (2). It is still only a partial victory, however. I'm can't help but resent the discriminatory probation period. Failing to extend the rights of adult workers to youth workers leaves the job incomplete. Some of these youth workers will have left school and be starting out on their careers. Some of them may already be parents. They should be granted the same rights as other workers.

Employers may point out that they can't rely on youth workers as they can adults, that youth workers may be feckless, workshy, or not up to the job. This begs the question, if youth workers are so bad, why employing them over adults in the first place? And it is up to the employer, through interviewing and reference checking, to determine if a candidate is suitable for the job. There are just as many useless adults out there. It is wrong that they are given protection denied to youth workers.
1 - "Supermarket chain to raise pay for youths," unattributed NZPA story on Stuff.co.nz, 15th of August, 2007. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4165582a11.html#Scene_1)
2 - ibid.

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