Sunday, 27 May 2012

HRC reports on aged care industry

i wanted to link today to some more great work done by an amazing woman.  judy mcgregor, the equal employment opportunities commissioner, has already done a range of very useful research into discrimination in the workplace.  she has now prepared a report on the working condition of resthome workers:

Nearly all the workers are women, who earn as little as $14 an hour, something McGregor says must change because in less than 10 years New Zealand will need 70 per cent more workers in an industry that already loses a quarter of its staff a year.

"It offends against human decency. The reliance on the emotional umbilical cord between women working as carers and the older people they care for at $13-$14 an hour is a form of modern-day slavery. It exploits the goodwill of women, it is a knowing exploitation. We can claim neither ignorance nor amnesia." 

McGregor went undercover in January for a week, swapping her office for a mix of shifts looking after the "old, old" in our aged care system.

the tvnz report is here.  i can't believe the drongo who commented on behalf of the aged care association, claiming that unions that "they like to see that no-one should be able to make a profit".  it's hard to fathom such blatant stupidity.  i don't know any unions that believe this.  what they believe is that profits shouldn't be made at the expense of exploiting workers.  what they would like to see a fairer sharing of profits between the owners of capital and those whose labour ensures that the business runs.

he doesn't realise that we don't live in a purely "market-based economy" and for good reason.  it was the experiences of exploitation caused by lack of regulation that mean we live in a regulated economy.  not as well regulated as it needs to be, and those protections have been continuously weakened over the last 30 years, but it is still a regulated economy.

it was the callousness of his attitude that shows quite clearly why pay and conditions in this sector have continued to be so bad.

and a quick follow-up to my post of yesterday.  the press council is on a roll.  they have not only ruled against paul holmes, but also against michael lhaws for some of his nastiness earlier in the year.  it's about time this lot were held to account.

1 comment:

AnneE said...

Yes, more Good Words (see my post today) from another good woman. The scandal of women doing highly skilled and demanding jobs earning barely above the minimum wage after 12 or more years' experience has to be faced and dealt with. But I heard a rest-home operator saying on the radio that there wasn't a problem with wage rates because there was no problem getting new workers. The welfare working group reports had strong clues that forcing desperate women with kids onto the labour market, so as to drive wages in such jobs down even more, is one of the reasons for current benefit changes.