Newshub’s revelation that the Ministry of Social Development is in partnership with Manpower – a labour hire company following some unlawful and shonky practices – shows an apparent disregard by both for people’s working conditions, says CTU Secretary Sam Huggard.
The Newshub story reveals Work and Income is sending jobseekers to interviews with labour hire company Manpower, who are in turn getting those people to sign an employment agreement that is unlawful. It contains no details of the role, location, pay rate or hours of work. It also seeks jobseekers’ sexual orienation and political views and the authority to share that information with other employers.
Officials from Work and Income are present at these interviews and there is pressure to sign on the spot, or risk a 13-week benefit stand down, without a chance for the jobseeker to get any advice about the agreeement.
“Work and Income’s role is to support and encourage people into secure, well-paid work. In this instance they are doing the opposite. They need to change their ideas about when a job is suitable,” says Huggard. “The CTU has been telling MSD for years that they need to get better at screening out dodgy employers. It’s shocking that they should condone these practices.
“The CTU believes practices like these are not limited to Manpower, and there is a need to look at practices in the labour hire sector in general. Labour hire workers are often very vulnerable to exploitation.
“Here we have a recruitment company – Manpower – that’s getting the basics wrong. Employment agreements without roles, hours, locations or pay rates are unlawful. They’re also a breeding ground for mistreatment of working people.
“The same company’s policy about collection of personal information is unwarranted and willfully indifferent to basic principles of privacy and non-discrimination.
“These breaches of basic law should ring alarm bells for Work and Income. Instead they have been working in partnership with Manpower. Work and Income should take this opportunity to put the focus back on secure and decent work.”