National Needs To Talk About Improving
The National Party’s just released industrial relations policy will do nothing to stop the thousands of New Zealanders heading across the Tasman in search of better wages, according to the education sector union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.
NZEI, which represents 49,000 education workers, says the pay gap impacts on teacher shortages in New Zealand. Overall, Australian workers across all sectors earn about 25 percent more than their New Zealand counterparts.
NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says “the pay gap is the problem; strengthening people’s ability to collectively bargain is the answer. What in National’s policy is going to strengthen collective bargaining?”
NZEI says there is a glaring lack of detail in National’s policy and nothing to suggest that the salaries and conditions of workers will be improved. It also believes the policy waters down the strength of union-led collective bargaining which it says is the key to raising salaries, working conditions and living standards.
NZEI has already expressed concern around the 90 Day probationary period National wants to introduce. If such a policy was applied to thousands of small schools and early childhood centres around the country, it would have profound implications on professional and career development, and exacerbate teacher supply and shortage issues.
Paul Goulter says overall National’s policy is notable for what it doesn’t say, rather than for what it does.
“If National wants a higher wage and more productive economy, it needs to build on the Employment Relations Act rather than water it down.”