Sue Moroney: Redundant workers need support

By Sue Moroney, Hamilton MP


Many of those recently made redundant without any redundancy pay will be heading to the foodbank for the first time in their lives during the festive season. Time is the most precious commodity that can be spent on families at this time of the year, but all too often it ends up being a time of huge financial pressure.

For those thousands of Waikato families who find themselves without the incomes they had last year, it will be particularly bleak.

Through no fault of their own, thousands of Waikato people are out of a job because their employer has downsized or "shut-up shop" because of the failure of the Government to act.

The November household labour force survey showed 5000 jobs had been lost in the Waikato in just the last three months.

John Key's promise to bring the economy "aggressively" out of recession has fallen flat and the result is that many workers face redundancy.

Some have fled to Australia while others are joining the queue for the diminishing number of jobs on offer here.

Parliament will soon debate a Bill I have introduced, to ensure redundancy protection for all New Zealand workers.

My Bill requires four weeks' notice of any impending redundancy, so the affected worker can plan ahead.

As I write this column I am listening to reports of 90 KiwiRail workers being given less than three week's notice that their jobs will end just four days prior to Christmas - what a blow for them at this time of the year.

My Bill also requires redundant workers to be paid compensation for their jobs disappearing - four weeks' pay for the first year of employment and two weeks for every other year they have been with the employer.

This used to be standard practice and sadly it is needed more now than ever. The job market is so depressed that it is taking longer and longer for those made redundant to find replacement work.

My Bill will ensure that the burden is shared more evenly between employers and employees.

Many of those recently made redundant without any redundancy pay will be heading to the foodbank for the first time in their lives during the festive season.

Please make sure you support the local combined Christian foodbank, which does a fantastic job of taking care of those in need.

I will certainly keep up my fight to support those in need.

I wish you all a happy, safe and restful festive season and a merry Christmas.

- Hamilton News

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