McCardle Rejects Claims Over Community Wage

  • Peter McCardle

Claims that people working under the Community Wage will displace paid workers are nonsense, Employment Minister Peter McCardle said today.

He said proven measures are already in place to ensure that any group involved in Community Work after October 1 will not be allowed to displace current workers. "Labour's claims that community groups do not support the changes are demonstrably wrong, as the numbers on Community Taskforce have grown by over 200 per cent in the past year. Community Taskforce is the model for Community Work".

"There will be checks made of any sponsoring group, and everyone applying to take on Community Wage workers will be screened by the new Department of Work and Income. There will also be monitoring to ensure that the rules are abided by."

He added that those protections already exist under the Community Taskforce scheme, which will be replaced by Community Work after October 1.

"It is also wrong to claim that there will be none of the standard protections which paid workers have. In fact, employers will have to meet OSH requirements, and people will enjoy the rights and protections of the benefit review and appeal procedures that have been in place for many years.

"Community Work will be covered by the Human Rights Act, so that any discrimination or abuse could give rise to legal action. And suggestions that people will be forced into unsuitable work are completely false. There is no question that the work or training they do would have to be suitable. Under the current system, sponsors are interviewing an average of four jobseekers for every place filled on Community Taskforce.

"I am disappointed that unfounded criticisms continue to be thrown up against the Community Wage strategy, which is already working and enabling many thousands of jobseekers and communities to benefit," Mr McCardle said.