Entry-level job concern

Laura Black
Laura Black
Dunedin is becoming a city of ''middle-aged, middle-class'' workers with a dearth of entry-level roles, Methodist Mission chief executive Laura Black says.

Ms Black was commenting on the latest round of Dunedin redundancies, this time because of the downgrade of the Dunedin Mail Centre.

New Zealand Post has shifted standard mail processing to Christchurch, resulting in 39 redundancies and five redeployments.

One of the redeployments was a delivery job in Dunedin, and the rest were in Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North.

Most workers finished at the end of last week.

Seven left in May, and three would stay until the middle of next month.

''We're heavily weighted to jobs for well-qualified, middle-aged, middle-class people because we're a provincial capital,'' Ms Black said.

''There are fewer and fewer entry-level jobs.''

Increasingly, Dunedin was a city whose jobs required tertiary-level qualifications, and centres needed a range of roles at all skill levels.

She believed the plight of thousands of young unemployed people was not being addressed.

She applauded the ''fantastic'' leadership of Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, and said a similar youth jobs initiative should be launched in Dunedin.

Also, the Government needed to help, especially by supporting manufacturing.

''If central Government is not willing to put its enormous spending power behind the regions, then with the best will in the world, it's a pretty uphill struggle.''

While her focus was not one particular industry, Ms Black pointed out that if courier mail had not been deregulated, New Zealand Post would be ''coining it'' because of the growth in online shopping.

Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union national industry organiser (postal and logistics) Joe Gallagher, of Auckland, said smaller centres such as Dunedin were not being helped by the Government.

''Dunedin's getting a hiding.

''This is a great loss for Dunedin - losing their mail centre.''

The union accepted the need for change because of falling mail volumes, but did not agree with the way the problem was being handled, including the rapid speed of the changes.

''It's getting harder and harder to get a decent job in these communities,'' Mr Gallagher said.

Workers offered transfers faced a difficult choice, because of higher housing costs in main centres such as Christchurch, he said.

He said the Government wanted state-owned enterprises such as New Zealand Post to return increasing dividends, which needed to be questioned.


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