15 April 2005
Hollow Threats from Metal Employers
The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) was making hollow threats on behalf of metal industry employers, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
He was commenting on the claim by EMA chief executive Alasdair Thompson that a 5 per cent pay settlement would put some metal employers out of business.
“Business organisations have a history of making hollow threats and this one is no different,” Ross Wilson said.
“They are the same people who claimed five years ago that increasing the statutory minimum wage would stunt economic growth and increase youth employment.”
The record shows that, despite increases in the minimum wage totalling 35.7 per cent over the past five years, we have had record economic growth and youth unemployment is down dramatically, Ross Wilson said.
“The minimum wage was increased by 5.3 per cent last month and metal workers deserve a fair pay deal of 5 per cent,” he said. “It is a modest claim which has been met by an old-fashioned knee-jerk response from employer organisations.”
Alasdair Thompson was also showing his true ideological colours with his threat to break up the Metals Multi-employer Collective Agreement, Ross Wilson said.
It was significant that some metal employers have gone public in support of the 5 per cent claim.
“We need to increase wages to keep skilled workers in New Zealand.”