New Zealand’s government has struck an exclusive deal with fast food giant McDonalds. Young people receiving the unemployment benefit will be sent to jobs with McDonalds restaurants, and have their training subsidised by the taxpayer. Every beneficiary McDonald’s hires will get the company up to $16,000- the equivalent of about 8 months wages for a McDonalds worker. The government is claiming this scheme will create thousands of new jobs, but Unite leader Matt McCarten has said this is “simply not true”
The Government is either deliberately misleading us or it is stupid. I have been the union advocate for McDonald’s workers for several years and know this scheme is just a rehash of the same deal that McDonald’s and others signed up under Labour.
Frankly it’s somehow insulting that any government feels it’s okay to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise a successful private business. It’s nothing more than shareholder welfare. In fact in the past year McDonald’s and the other fast food companies’ profits have increased and all of them are opening up new outlets.
The value of McDonalds jobs, which are paid close to minimum wage, have terrible working conditions and little job security should also be questioned. While there is plenty of money for McDonalds, Education Minister Anne Tolley says there is no more money to fund extra places in polytechnics during the recession. Between 6000 and 8000 students would be turned away- more people than are expected to get McDonalds jobs over the next three years. Surly funding courses to teach people useful trades makes more economic sense than giving them McJobs?
This is not a job creation scheme, this is the government providing cheap labour and training subsidies to an industry that can’t retain staff (most leave after less than a year of employment) because pay and conditions are abysmal.