Paula’s new partner

Oh dear, this is just a really bad look for Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett.

Her vision for addressing New Zealand’s rising unemployment is a partnership that involves Work and Income “recruiting and training” 7000 staff to flip burgers for fast food multinational McDonalds.

Exactly what the “training” Work and Income will be providing is beyond me. I can’t imagine how it would take more than half a day to train someone to work in a fast food restaurant.

McDonalds has a reputation as a poor employer – paying low wages, providing insecure hours, and being vehemently anti-union.

They also have a poor sustainability record, a poor animal welfare record, target their advertising to children, and while their nutritional standards have improved somewhat in recent years, much of their food is still crap.

So Bennett sends 7000 people off to work in dead-end, menial, low-paid jobs at McDonalds, while cutting the access to Training Incentive Allowance that would get many beneficiaries the qualifications to get into well-paid and secure employment.

Go figure!

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12 thoughts on “Paula’s new partner

  1. I can’t imagine how it would take more than half a day to train someone to work in a fast food restaurant.

    Actually, it takes about 6 months and you get a NZQA cert or two about food hygiene and preparation.

    …much of their food is still crap.

    Actually, it’s not that bad – I lived on it for 3 years while I worked there. The food tends to be fresh and doesn’t contain any additives. Eaten in excess it’s bad for you, sure, but that’s true of any food.

    What I didn’t like about McDs is that it was unsustainable (it’s quite literally worked on the basis of waste) and that they treated the workers like crap. Managers were told to discourage any attempt to start a union. When I left I was actively encouraging one.

    Still, I don’t think that 7000 people going through McDs for training is a great idea.

  2. Yeah, point taken about the training. I was meaning to do be do the basics – admittedly, to move into positions where you are supervisiing or managing other staff requires some significant training.

    I did acknowledge the nutritional standards ahve improved somewhat in recent years.

    But it is the unsustainability and the employment practices that for me, like you, are the worst aspects of McDonalds – to the extent that I refuse to eat their food.

  3. I poured my heart and soul into working hard when I was a high schooler, on the weekends at McDonalds.

    It was really hard at times, the training never actually stops because there are always new promos, and sometimes you have to put up with bastards with a smile.

    But, my parents could not afford to pay for what I wanted, and it was a job.

    I enjoy eating McDonalds still nowadays, but not as much as I used to because due to pressure-group activism they have changed the menu and therefore the way they do things.

    The burgers as a result are not as good as they used to be.

    Why do people beat up on McDonalds? They are anti-union because the last thing you need there is bloody bullys breathing down peoples necks about paying union fees and telling everyone what a raw deal they have because they work at Macca’s.

    It could actually be quite fun at times, the left need to let this go.

  4. I stopped eating McDo’s, or feeding it to my kids, about the time Sue Kedgley did the infamous “burger on a shelf’ experiment, to see how the product decayed. After 6 months of only getting harder (staler), we all realised that the preservatives were the main ingredient.

    No more birthday parties at the Paraparaumu Train McDo’s, no matter how many freebies they offer.

    I’ve also had frequent allergy reactions to the sulphur residues on the apricot pies, which was another reason to give up.

    Thankfully, about the same time, Welli became the café capital, and there were good, reasonably-priced and edible alternatives springing up everywhere.

    My kids became café rats, and my eldest even worked in hospo for a while at College, in a Newtown Café/Restaurant.
    For more than the minimum wage, at least; I forbade her from applying for fast-food jobs that were still clinging to youth rates.

    This is merely an attempt to socially engineer consumerism – stocking fast-food employers with cheap unskilled labour will not increase the overall consumption levels much, ‘cos those employees won’t earn enough to buy anything anywhere else; and food service is the first area to experience falling sales in a recession, d’oh, Paula!

  5. anarkaytie – I agree – no one should eat too many preservatives. So you wouldn’t eat Mc’Ds every day.

    You are concerned at the damage preservatives can do to internal organs – fair enough. If you take in a lot, and don’t eat foods that detox too.

    But answer this: how many toxic chemicals are in coffee?

    I don’t see you bashing cafes though..

    Also I used to host Mc’Ds childrens parties when I worked there..what I noticed is how much the kids enjoy them.

    I actually don’t agree with Paula Bennett’s plan either, for different reasons, but why the beat up on Mc’Ds always – it wouldn’t be that its a symbol of capitalism?

    Why do environmentalists have to hate capitalism?

  6. I thought fast food consumption went up in recession. Parents cant afford trips away and presents so the likes of McDs becomes used more often as a treat.

  7. And the flipside of preservatives is the non-preservative threat – that is, what happens to you when you eat various toxic mould/fungi that you may not be able to see – but are there.

    That can actually kill you. It is unlikely you will die from a single meal of Mc’Ds however.

  8. beat up said: Why do environmentalists have to hate capitalism?

    Because capitalism doesn’t take into account the real costs to the environment of its activities. Nor did communism for that matter.

    Lady Penelope said: I thought fast food consumption went up in recession.

    Well, I presume that’s what McD’s are counting on if they are planning such significant expansion. Of course I guess they are also counting on the recession helping to keep wages low.

  9. and food service is the first area to experience falling sales in a recession, d’oh, Paula!

    Actually, my brother works in food service part time and sales at his store have gone up, anecdotal as that is. Then again, he works at subway, so maybe they’re just cannibalising sales from the rest by being tastier and healthier than most.

  10. I eat mcds sometimes.
    training as a chef i term what they do as ‘throwing food @ people’.
    I can watch the team @ my local mcds for ages as they slop the food around, bang it up, throw in a wrapper, just hideous abuse of ingredients – and then my mind wanders to the background – the animals who supply the grey meat.
    what do their custodians do out of sight if the front of house treat their end product with such ignorant violence.

  11. I’ve worked on food service, too.

    In 2002, we had a major panic in functions catering, ‘cos the flow-on from 9/11 was still creating a ‘frugal’ entertaining budget environment, where corporate spending on client entertainment went down alarmingly.

    We’re due for another round of that – and while the bottom-feeders may take a while to feel the pinch, adding more staff to an already heavily casualised industry is hardly going to do anything for the survival of workers – the first thing the bosses do is keep all the staff on less than 20 hours rostered, so that all the full-time benefits fall off. If you can keep a larger team of casuals, it becomes very cost-effective, especially at or near minimum wage.

    Not doing much for household incomes, or reducing welfare assistance, though.

  12. I find this ‘partnership’ between government and a corporate junk food chain really spooky. I dont think its just chance that this move has come so after the removal of the requirement for schools to serve healthy food .

    Was the offer to employ beneficiaries a part of that lobbying pressure? Will the next step be corporate funding of schools by junk food companies as happens in the US?

    The combined impact of these measures will set us on an even faster downhill slope with low incomes, poor diets, increasing obesity and diabetes, and low academic achievement all aggravating each other.

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