Welfare group occupies Manpower office to protest illegal contracts

Auckland Action Against Poverty occupied the offices of Manpower Services to demand the end of exploitative and illegal contracts used by the Company.

“Manpower is one of many recruitment agencies used by Work and Income to force beneficiaries into precarious work,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Vanessa Cole.

“Some people from AAAP are inside the offices now, while others are protesting outside.

“The contracts used by Manpower do not comply with the Employment Relations Act (ERA), as they have no guaranteed hours, wages or location of work.

“The contract’s privacy statement enables the company to ask invasive questions about a person’s religion, ethnicity, politics and sexual practices.

“Asking intimate details enables an employer more power to discriminate who gets work and who does not.

“Work and Income are supposed to support people into secure employment, instead they are forcing people into a poverty trap.

“If people refuse to sign these illegal and exploitative contracts they will face sanctions from Work and Income.

“If people do sign the contract and leave the job because of bad work conditions, they face a 13 week stand down from their benefit.

“We asked the Ministry of Social Development to stop forcing beneficiaries into these contracts and they have refused to comment.

“We asked Manpower to end these contracts and they sent us a revised contract stating they were using the wrong contract.

“The old contract is still being used, while this new contract is just as exploitative, and prevents people accessing employment from Manpower’s clients without their permission.

“This goes against Work and Income’s policy around temp work providing people with opportunities to move into fulltime employment.

“These are not employment agreements, they are exploitation agreements.

“We demand that beneficiaries stop being forced into exploitative and precarious work, and that Manpower stops profiting from poverty.”