Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Wage campaign must continue says CTU

MEDIA RELEASE

17 October 2005


Wage campaign must continue says CTU

Unions need to continue their campaign for fair wage increases said Council of Trade Unions President Ross Wilson, in his speech this morning to the CTU Biennial Conference.

“It is now widely acknowledged that there is a low wage crisis in New Zealand,” said Ross Wilson. “New Zealand workers have a compelling case for a wage increase. With corporate profits and director’s fees up significantly (see appendix), there is now no excuse for employers not to deliver on better pay for their staff.”

“New Zealand’s average wage is 30% lower than in Australia, and our minimum wage is 46% lower than that for Australian workers,” said Ross Wilson.

Ross Wilson used his opening speech to the conference to state the CTU’s three key demands of more widespread collective bargaining, another increase in the minimum wage, and a series of industry meetings where wages are put on the agenda alongside skill development and productivity.

“The CTU believes workers deserve a fair share right now,” said Ross Wilson. “We also recognises that a high wage, high skill economy also needs to be highly productive, and the CTU is launching a massive programme to work with unions on productivity issues.”

“The CTU is supporting workers taking strike action to achieve decent pay increases,” said Ross Wilson. “Many employers this year have reached an amicable settlement on wage increases of 5% or more. But those employers holding out will continue to face industrial action”.

Ross Wilson also said that the CTU does not believe there is a wage-price spiral.

“Many of the economists that warn about the labour market putting pressure on inflation were happy to ignore any inflationary impact of the massive tax cuts promised by the National Party. All of a sudden, post-election, they are now calling for interest rates to rise again,” said Ross Wilson”.

“But more importantly, wage rises are not inflationary if part of the wage increase is out of profits, and if productivity is improving. The main pressure on inflation at the present time comes from oil prices and housing – not from wages.”

The conference continues till Wednesday afternoon.


ENDS


APPENDIX

From 2000 to 2004, the Reserve Bank notes that corporate profits increased by 11% a year. This can be compared with wage rises of just under 2.1% a year in that period. Unit labour costs fell by nearly 1% a year for the last 5 years. In the last year, Director’s fees went up by 20.5%. Executive pay rates (except for one survey in late 2004) have regularly gone up by twice as much as workers’ pay. And the change in real wages over a longer period from 1980 to 2001 shows an actual fall for New Zealand of 6.5% compared with a range of other countries where there were significant increases (eg. Australia 28.8%, Canada 39.5%, UK 46.9% and Finland 68.2%).

Wage levels fell from roughly comparable to Australia in the 1980s to 60% of their level by 2002 according to Treasury . The paper notes that “with labour relatively cheaper in relation to capital than in Australia, it appears that New Zealand firms have opted for a lower level of capital intensity”.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Employment:Slow Track For Most Contentious Labour Law

The government will announce a timetable for legislating a range of long-signalled labour law changes but is placing its intention to introduce new Fair Pay Agreement legislation on a slower track to allow consultation with both employers and trade unions. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's Space Programme: Rocket Lab's Successful Launch

Science Media Centre: Rocket Lab successfully launched its Electron rocket and deployed satellites into orbit Sunday afternoon, a milestone for the company and New Zealand's fledgling private space industry. More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: Body massages and Uber are in, DVDs are out, says Stats NZ

Statistics New Zealand has rejigged the consumers price index basket in its latest three-year review, adding body massages, Airbnb and Uber and removing DVD and Blu-Ray players…More>>

ALSO:

StuffMe: Commerce Commission Welcomes Dismissal Of Merger Appeal

In a summary of their judgment released today, Justice Dobson and lay member Professor Martin Richardson dismissed the appellants’ process criticisms and found the Commission was entitled to place significant weight on the prospect of reduced quality of the products produced by the merged entity. More>>

ALSO:

Digital Futures: New Chief Technology Officer Role Created

Communications Minister Clare Curran has called for expressions of interest for the new role of Chief Technology Officer position to help drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand. More>>

Real Estate: NZ house sales slump in December but prices still firm

The number of property sales across New Zealand slumped 10 percent in December from a year earlier but prices continued to lift, according to the Real Estate Institute. More >>

ALSO: