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Labour Day – not a holiday for all

CTU Media Release

25 October 2013

Labour Day – not a holiday for all

Labour Day is a public holiday marking the 8 hour working day, but for many workers this is no longer the reality says CTU Secretary Peter Conway.

“There will be many workers who will not get a paid public holiday on Monday simply because they are regarded as contractors not employees or their hours and days of work are not regular enough to ensure a holiday entitlement”.

“And as for the 8 hour day, some workers are under pressure to work long hours whereas others cannot get anything like an 8 hour day. There are 64,000 people looking for additional hours of work”.

Also a significant number of people will be at work on Labour Day.

“Even if it is a valued paid holiday, for many workers Labour Day will not be an occasion to celebrate having a decent job as they are effectively left out of the job and income security that many of us take for granted. Whether we call it casualisation, precarious work, temporary, or non-standard work – it is now less likely that workers have regular working days and 8 hour shifts. They are more likely to experience uncertainty over their hours of work and how long the job will last.”

Peter Conway says the CTU recently released a report into insecure work in New Zealand that found that insecure work affects at least 30% of the workforce, or over 635 000 people, and probably more than that.

“That may suit the boss – but it is unfair and does not work for workers.”

“We need to have more legal protections to prevent people being trapped in insecure work. We need to make sure our income support mechanisms are working for insecure workers and that employers agree to a Living Wage with more security of hours.”

Peter Conway said that “for many workers, this year Labour Day will also feel very relevant as they campaign against unfair employment law changes being brought in by the National Government. These law changes are an attack on rights and will cut pay. Workers are outraged that the government is doing this to them and are fighting against these changes.”

Peter Conway will be joining workers in Taranaki on Monday at an event called ‘The Big Day Off’.

“Workers around the country are also preparing to take part in a nationwide tea break event on 30 October. The Give Us A Break event is an opportunity for people to get together with their workmates and enjoy a team break - while they still have one. People will be sharing their thoughts including using social media on why tea breaks are so important".


The CTU report into insecure work can be found here – Under Pressure: Insecure Work in New Zealand

A brief summary about Labour Day can be found here http://union.org.nz/labourday13

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