Sunday, December 11, 2005

minimum wage busters

One thing really gets on my nerves and that is if you look around Auckland there are many businesses full of foreign (often Asian) workers being employed under the table for less than minimum wage. Not in NZ eh?
Well you are wrong; I know a number of people who have been employed for let’s say $40 a day for 10 hour days or similar. Classic examples are the food courts you see in town and the Thai restaurants (by the way I have nothing against the workers, as you will see later - they are one of the victims). Now there are a number of losers from this policy.

1) Honest law abiding businesses that pay their workers a decent wage - these businesses pay their workers 10-15 dollars an hour and ensure they are all legal etc but how are they supposed to compete with the person paying their workers 4 dollars an hour and no tax?

2) The workers - they are being paid a lot les than they should be being paid because they are controlled by the owners of the businesses and don’t realise what the rules are and what their opportunities are.

a second part of this is the fact that NZ businesses are very risk adverse when it comes to hiring people they turn down many well qualified foreigners just like they turn down many students without experience and thus they create unemployed demographics. This means that the businesses are not entirely lying when they say it is hard to find work elsewhere even if the workers are legal.

3) The law itself - such flagrant breaches of our law should not be allowed to become a part of normal business practice but it is absolutely rampant in Auckland - one has to wonder if the authorities know and don’t care or even worse are totally oblivious.

4) Legal workers who are wages are forced down by the competition from these workers.

5) the government - it gets no tax. these businesses are probably cheating the tax department on multiple fronts. And remember tax dishonest men don't pay is just money some honest men have to cough up later.

What is the solution?

Allow EVERYONE to work if they are in NZ - If you deny these people work
They will probably work anyway but even if they don’t all you are achieving is to force a person who would probably have earnt and spent their money in NZ, to be idle.
As it is students are allowed to work a certain number of hours but many don’t fully understand that or do and still need more money. Then the businessmen will have no hold over these people. All you will need then is some advertising and a few well publicised raids.


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