Too many New Zealanders endure poor working conditions in jobs that don’t pay enough and offer few opportunities for career progression, and the union movement is calling for change.
The Labour-led government was elected on a platform that included bringing in Fair Pay Agreements to set minimum standards across industries.
The Public Service Association welcomes the CTU Fair Pay Agreement Framework detailing how FPAs will be good for New Zealand, and calls on all parties in the coalition government to come to an agreement on how FPAs can be progressed into law.
“Across the developed world, sector-wide collective bargaining is standard practice. New Zealand currently has an outdated approach that allows some unscrupulous employers to drive down wages and conditions for everyone else,” says Kerry Davies, National Secretary of the Public Service Association.
“This is a short-sighted substitute for intelligent business strategy. With rapid technological change set to disrupt our economies, we need employers to stay competitive by instead investing in research, development and training that upskills workers and breaks into new ground.”
By setting consistent standards across sectors, Fair Pay Agreements will protect employers who invest in their staff and businesses from being undercut by competitors who simply pay low wages to shore up profits.
Led by former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger, the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group recommended bargaining for FPAs should begin when called for by either 1000 workers or 10% of workers in an industry.
“If we provide working people with a concrete mechanism to vote on how we are paid and treated in the workplace, where we spend most of our lives, it will make democracy real and meaningful to people who may never have felt it was before,” says Ms Davies.
“The disappointingly low turnout in recent local body elections suggests many New Zealanders feel disconnected from our democracy, like it isn’t relevant to their lives.”