Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Youth rates a "win" for activists

TVNZ reports the "agreement" to pay children working at supermarkets adult wages as a "win for supermarket youth." It isn't. It's a win for Laila Harre's union, and for Sue Bradford's activism.

Sure, the bill is "a win" for those few youngsters who are paid as adults and who can hold down their job by producing more than they are paid, but it's not so good for any youngsters who might be pursuing such work and who aren't yet at adult levels of productivity.

"Harre says as the country's largest retail operator, Progressive is setting a new industry standard." So it is. This agreement will leave unemployable youth locked out right across the supermarket youth.

As is always the case with minimum wage laws, the raise in rates is good for those presently employed in the industry, but demonstrably bad for those who aren't, and who now never will be. At a stroke, it makes unemployable a whole swathe of youngsters who could have got their start on this particular employment ladder.

I expect both Bradford and Harre are aware of this, but I doubt that either will care. Their motivation for their youth rate campaigns has not been to do good for youngsters, who to them are just tools in the socialilist revolution, but to get a whole new generation involved in socialist activism--and it's in that goal that they've just been delivered a success, an easy success.

Keep an eye on where they go now with their activists now they've been handed this particular victory.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Greg Bourke said...

Well if so the Selwyn students will have more time to improve their self-esteem, action games, and cultural development, aspects just as important as high academic standards beyond that needed by shelf-stackers.

Or so says Robin Duff, president of the PPTA, who was probably fortunately enough to have teachers skilled enough to get him through school cert (NCEA 1).

8/15/2007 10:33:00 am  
Anonymous Craig D said...

I was hired at 13 by my local supermarket for a rate of $5.50 per hour (before tax, 1990s dollars).

Not much. But I worked hard and as a result have had a successive improvement in each job I've obtained, to the point where my work experience puts my in good stead for finding a graduate job.

I doubt that my employer would have considered bringing a 13 year old on at $11.25/hr.

So If Bradford and Harre had thier way, I wouldn't have had a chance to accumulate the work experience that is now an asset for my future.

Good work guys...

8/15/2007 11:09:00 am  
Blogger Rebel Radius said...

I went out to lunch in New Plymouth last week. The cafe was inside the Puke Ariki Museum. Was charged an arm and leg for a Caesar Salad that was barely acceptable, my partner had a very bland pizza which base was completely burnt. My glass of wine was disgustingly bad and when I paid the bill via EFTPOS, there was a message which appeared, reading along the lines of.

"We hope you enjoyed your meal, if you would like to tip our staff, please key in the amount."

And here was me thinking that tipping came about in America because they do not have a minimum wage as such.

8/15/2007 11:32:00 am  
Anonymous Tane said...

Peter, I'm amazed you lot keep trotting out the tired old line that increasing minimum wage rates necessarily leads to unemployment. If done sensibly, this is demonstrably false. For example, Labour has increased the adult minimum wage by more than 60% since 1999, yet unemployment is half the rate it was then.

So some young supermarket workers have decided to organise collectively and negotiate themselves a pay rise with their employer. They decided democratically that they wanted to effectively get rid of youth rates, and they've done that. You can't in all honesty deny that this is a "win" for these workers.

Oh, and Craig D, you're talking out your arse about 13 year olds being paid $11.25 an hour as the youth rates bill before parliament covers only 16 and 17 year olds. There is no statutory minimum wage for people under 16.

I will also add that supermarkets make plenty of profit and will still be able to extract enough surplus value from the labour of their younger workers to cover the increase in 'labour costs'.

8/15/2007 02:21:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

Good points PC, I didn't understand why Sue and co would be doing it, but it is indeed rational. The more unemployment, the more disaffected people they can convince that it is the fault of capitalism. Next step is that benefits have to rise.

8/15/2007 02:45:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

tane, the reason of our low unemployment are:

1. bad statistics. Just look at the people getting benefits, that's not getting lower.

2. People leaving the country.

3. Dropping immigration numbers.

Given the numbers of low skilled youth unemployment, I would be a bit more careful to say such numbers have no effect.

8/15/2007 02:47:00 pm  
Anonymous The Perfect Man said...

Socialists are always very happy to sacrifice people to their ideology. People are only pawns in the game of power, they don't give a sh*t what happens to anyone - unless its an election year voter and the action (or lack of action) causes said voter to vote against them.

The majority of NZ youth are now pretty dumbass really and will think that Sue & co are sticking up for them. No wonder Sue wants 16yr olds to be eligible to vote!

8/15/2007 04:05:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

I offer Tane as Exhibit A of the success of the Harre/Bradford/McCarten strategy in reinculcating youngsters with Marxist stupidity. The economic ignorance and the words "surplus value" are the clue.

Tane, the "line that increasing minimum wage rates necessarily leads to unemployment" is trotted out regularly for the simple reason that it's true.

Increasing minimum wage rates increases wage rates for those who are **in** work or who can stay in work, but it prices out of the market those who can't justify the wage by their low productivity. If the economy increases over time, then that line rises, but below the line are those who have been priced out of getting on the first rung of the employment ladder.

And just to point out something else, Tane: "Labour costs" are not some fiction you can wish away with inverted commas, they're a real thing which every business needs to face. Businesses are not charities; they're the self-supporting engines of production that keep us all alive and prosperous. If a businesses' labour costs are greater than that which that labour produces, then you either don't have a viable business, or you must seek a more productive way to produce.

In the present case, the easiest thing to do is not to hire unproductive 16 and 17 year olds, but to hire instead more productive adults.

That's the way the world is, my friend. You can't produce more than you consume.

8/16/2007 10:00:00 am  
Anonymous Tane said...

But Peter, my point is that these minimum wage youth workers already produce more than they consume. The company will be making at least 200-300% on the value of their labour - any reputable company will have a formula of this sort (I know, I've seen them). The result will therefore not be more unemployment, but a fairer distribution of the product of these young workers' labour.

I challenge you to show me one shred of evidence that raising the minimum wage over the last seven years has had any statistical significance on unemployment rates. The fact is, workers are much better off for Labour's steady and sensible increase of the minimum wage. Are you seriously saying minimum wage workers would be better off if they were still on $7 an hour? Or that $7 an hour is even a liveable wage in this day and age?

I know you don't care about the human impact of our economic policies or for facts that don't fit your ideology, but let's just try to be reasonable here.

8/16/2007 12:28:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

First off Tane, let's answer something here. You say, "I know you [PC] don't care about the human impact of our economic policies..."

Tane, it's me that's arguing for those excluded and not seen by this policy to be thought about. On the other hand it's the Harres, Bradfords, McCartens and Tanes--those who really are blinded by ideology--who want to ignore the unseen, those whom this policy will exclude.

And Tane, the point is that 16 and 17 year olds won't always produce significantly more than their hourly rate, and if they did you wouldn't have to force employers to overpay them.

The result of the higher rate in a rising market (a rate that is to be enforced above the market rate) will be flattened employment for 16 to 17 year olds, and fewer opportunities than there would have been otherwise.

In a sliding market it will mean increased unemployment amongst less productive 16 to i7 year olds, who will either find themselves out of a job (like that chap in the cartoon), or not being offered a job at those rates.

These are the young people excluded from getting a start on the employment ladder. The people your heroes don't give a shit about.

The fact is, as the Labour Department website shows, that there are already significantly more youth unemployed than there are general unemployed, and this has barely eased since 2000:

The unemployment rate for youth fell to 14.0% for the year to June 2007. This is up from 13.2% for the year to June 2006, but is down from 17.3% for the year to June 1999. The youth unemployment rate remains well above the annual average rate for all persons (3.7%).

Your ball, mate.

8/16/2007 05:36:00 pm  
Blogger Matt B said...

Their motivation for their youth rate campaigns has not been to do good for youngsters, who to them are just tools in the socialilist revolution, but to get a whole new generation involved in socialist activism--and it's in that goal that they've just been delivered a success, an easy success.

The usual justification for unions supporting minimum wage legislation is that it reduces their competition in the labour market.

8/16/2007 11:41:00 pm  
Blogger Matt B said...

Tane

Peter, I'm amazed you lot keep trotting out the tired old line that increasing minimum wage rates necessarily leads to unemployment. If done sensibly, this is demonstrably false. For example, Labour has increased the adult minimum wage by more than 60% since 1999, yet unemployment is half the rate it was then.

That is not a test of the effect of the minimum wage.

1. The minimum wage's effect is confined to a small share of the labour force, so its effects are easily overwhelmed by a booming economy.

2. Unemployment requires you be looking for work. It doesn't include people who have given up.

3. The demand for labour slopes down i.e. price of labour up, demand for it goes down. Many, many studies have empirically demonstrated minimum wage reduces employment.

8/17/2007 12:37:00 am  
Blogger Matt B said...

I will also add that supermarkets make plenty of profit and will still be able to extract enough surplus value from the labour of their younger workers to cover the increase in 'labour costs'.

Oops, another fallacy Tane. It doesn't matter what total profit is when a supermarket decides whether to hire a 16 year old. Profit doesn't get to some magic number, above which supermarkets decide to go into charity.

To be hired, a 16 year must now produce at minimum $11.25 worth of value for the supermarket + ACC, etc, or the supermarket cannot profitably hire her and will choose not to.

No matter what the total profit is, a hiring decision is made at the margin.

8/17/2007 12:42:00 am  

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