The Red Shirts for the Community programme, where the Warehouse hire unemployed youth to do unpaid labour creates a poverty trap and is not the solution to unemployment.
“This programme is about exploiting unemployed youth, not teaching them skills. The government are subsidising the Warehouse in the name of reducing benefit dependency,” says Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“The work-focussed policies of Work and Income are forcing people into a poverty trap between low benefit rates and precarious work.
“The Government are subsidising the Warehouse through providing unpaid labour under the disguise of providing youth with training and skills.
“This is not employment, it is unpaid labour. Rather than preparing youth for employment, it is preparing youth for a lifetime of insecure, exploitative and low-paid work.
“The Warehouse is a company where less than 40% of the workforce is in full-time employment . The Warehouse is profiting from the casualisation of labour and precarious work.
“The Warehouse are ultimately profiting from poverty and the Ministry of Social Development are facilitating this in order to appear as though they are doing something about youth unemployment.
“It is not increasing benefit rates which causes dependency, as the National Party believe, it is the poverty trap which places people in insecure work.
“AAAP believes we need a liveable income for both unemployed and employed workers, and secure hours for those in employment.
“Workfare schemes place people into poverty for the profit of companies.”