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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 9. 1967.

Students face unemployment this Christmas

Students face unemployment this Christmas

Indications are that student jobs in many major fields of employment will be fewer this Christmas.

A Preliminary telephone survey by Salient of some traditionally large employers revealed mixed feelings with regard to casual employment after finals.

Government departments are usually a reliable source of employment, but this year may well be different.

A spokesman for the State Services Commission told Salient, "With the money the departments have got to spend there will probably be reductions in the employment of students. At this stage it is too early to say, but we intend looking into the matter later on in the year."

The Personnel Officer of the General Post Office was similarly reluctant to make any prediction although he said that a staff ceiling had been placed on his department by Government and that he would be working within that. "We will definitely have to take on extra staff at Christmas," he said, "but at the moment we can't tell what will happen. It depends to a large extent on the traffic of mail at the time, and if things get worse there may well be fewer Christmas presents being posted."

An officer of the NZBC was less worried about the future. "People will think Just a little more about putting in their resignations," he said, "but I don't think there will be any difference in our recruiting policy."

Mr. I. Galloway, Director of the Council Parks and Re-serves Department was emphatic about the situation. "Present indications are that we will be cutting quite severely. We won't be able to take on the number we usually take on and we will probably cut from 31 students last year to 10 this year."

Asked to what he specifically attributed the need for this reduction he told Salient "The fact that the extent of our vote in comparison with other years does not cover the increases in labour costs which have been continuing in the past twelve months is part of it. Added to this is; the reduction of the new work we will be undertaking."

A spokesman for a motor assembly plant was also pessimistic: "It labour turnover continues to slow down as it has been doing, it may be hard for students to get jobs with us. Last year was our leanest year for a long time; we had only about 15 students."

Companies handling primary produce, however, foresee little weakening in the employment situation. A wool store manager doubted that the economic situation would affect them very much.

"There will be still just as much wool coming in in the new season," he said. "It will require just as many people to handle it as it did last year."

The freezing industry also expects little change, and an officer of a meat processing company which usually employs about 50 students would only say. "We will still handle the same amount of meat as we usually do."

The personnel officer of a major construction firm was also reluctant to comment at I this stage, saying that although they employed about 50 student labourers last year, their future employment would depend entirely on the market and on the number of contracts available.

Spokesmen for three city retail stores saw no change likely. The majority of their holiday staffs, totalling over 200, was made up mainly by high-school pupils, but one employment officer said, "I prefer University students because I know that their income helps them through their studies.

"We like to give them better type jobs with some responsibility but there are usually only 3-4 University students out of the 20-30 extra staff we employ. Provided that no new restrictions prevent us getting the goods in-to our retail stores we will employ as many as we usually do."

Students' Association President Doug White said that as the problem is a national one NZUSA was working on it and intends approaching Government.

"VUWSA intends making a survey by mail of employers to assess the situation." he said. "The secretary of the Appointments Board, Mr. Mitchell, has offered to provide special assistance with this particular problem.

"we may hold a survey in conjunction with the August elections to find out the extent of the problem, and a special Vacation Employment Registry may be set up to! find jobs for students.

"Falling all this we will have to try to get bursaries raised," he told Salient, "or arrange for payment to be made at the beginning of the term instead of at the end so that students won't have to wait so long for their cheques."