Wednesday, July 01, 2009

From better pay to no pay

Back in 2005 one of the most controversial issues was the passage of legislation that would force sheltered workshops, which employ intellectually disabled people, to pay the minimum wage. This was a Labour move, backed by the unions, besotted with equal pay. ACT in particular, led by Muriel Newman, warned that the change would lead to the closure of workshops and the loss of jobs. The arrogant Ruth Dyson sailed on undeterred by the pleas of families whose main concern was to keep their sons and daughters employed and with purpose and meaning in their lives.

And so it has come to pass.

The Hutt News yesterday reported that after twenty four years Packworx would close leaving 23 intellectually disabled workers without jobs. In 2006 it had employed 60 people.

At the time Labour announced it was repealing legislation that covered sheltered workshops, around 3,000 people were employed in the sector. Mrs Gray said some workshops closed immediately and a good number of others shut up shop when the legislation came into full effect on December 1 last year.

I suppose the women that marched on Parliament yesterday want similar equalising legislation. How does the saying go? Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.


brian_smaller said...

I used to help out at the workshop in Cook St in Palmy. Some of the people there actually produced nothing in a day. Some did quite a lot. Most made a few widgets and road-markers that were made there. However, none of them were really productive. What it did was give them purpose and made them feel useful. They had a start time, talked with mates at work, smoko breaks, and left feeling good. Two able bodied people could have produced the same output as the entire workshop - but that was not the point. Labour screwed this one up. Of course places employing intellectually disabled poeople could never cope paying them a real wage.

wino said...

Isn't that sad.

I can remember getting some carpet squares edgebound at a local sheltered workshops - the young man who did the work carefully and thoroughly worked out that I owed him $24 and added he thought I should give him a hug for doing such a good job (his supervisor told him off but I probably encouraged him by giving him his requested hug).

Sus said...

Those communists never stop trying to make everybody the same, in spite of the fact we are not.

As if legislation can make paralysed legs walk or reverse a brain disorder.

Another little chapter straight out of the Book of Unintended Consequences.

Lucy said...

Another 'victory' for the left. Well done - Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

My wife was reduced to tears having to tell the group that made swing tags for her company that they could no longer afford their services due to this legislation. We got extra pocket money from doing them ourselves at home.
As has been said, its not about the money, it was about having purpose and being part of something.