CTU MEDIA RELEASE
23 March 2008
Breastfeeding access and meal breaks move strengthens NZ’s core work rights
“Increased provisions for workers for meal and refreshment and breastfeeding breaks are good steps in continuing to improve the minimum work rights that New Zealand workers can expect,” Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said following a government announcement today.
“100 years ago miners on the West Coast struck for a decent meal break. Many workers may well be surprised that meal and refreshment breaks are not guaranteed in law, and it is fitting that this legislative right is announced at Blackball.”
“Time and access to facilities will be a welcome move for breastfeeding mums at work, and brings New Zealand into line with the 92 other countries who have signed up to this international obligation.”
“Breast feeding mums need to feel confident that workplaces have policies in place and a culture that supports them and their babies in the workplace. Some employers have recognised the need for this, and a guaranteed work right will help ensure this is more accessible.”
“These provisions build on steady progress to improve the lives of working people, including better annual leave provisions, 14 weeks paid parental leave, the right to request flexible work, and a $12 minimum wage coming into effect next week.”
“The distinctions between political parties on work rights are becoming clear, with today’s improvements contrasting with announcements earlier in the month from National which included entrenching a 90 days No-Rights period,” Carol Beaumont said.