"Under Pressure", Cunliffe's CTU Biennial Speech | 500 Words
"Under Pressure" - Labour Party Leader David
Cunliffe's CTU Biennial Speech | 500 Words
- A video
interview with CTU President Helen Kelly -
Today David Cunliffe will be addressing a two day gathering of labour movement leaders at the CTU Biennial ( held once every 2 years) Conference in Wellington.
Based on his remarks on the hustings during the first ever Labour Party "Primary Style" Election the speech from the newly minted Labour Leader is much anticipated.
In particular he is expected to outline what the Labour Party intends to do about labour relations and workers rights should it be elected next year.
[ To Recap: Ever since the election of a National Government in 1991 and the passage of the Employment Contracts Act unionism in NZ has been in decline.
In the years immediately after the Act - which effectively ended the national award structure - union membership quickly fell to 20% of the workforce from close to 50%. ( See a graph of % of workforce in unions - via TeAra ). Now only around 17% of NZ's workforce are in unions. ]
The text of Mr Cunliffe's speech will be published here on Scoop around midday. He is due to speak at 11.45am - and we will carry full video and audio of it as well ( as is our way ) .
Cunliffe's speech will follow an address by CTU President Helen Kelly introducing the findings of a CTU research paper on insecure work in New Zealand entitled "Under Pressure".
You can read a summary of the report in pdf format here.
The CTU will be launching a campaign around the issue of insecure work which will companion the work already being done on the "Living Wage" campaign - which seeks to increase the minimum wage to $18.40 an hour.
Like the Living Wage campaign, the new insecure work umbrella campaign is aimed not at protecting union members rights but at improving the lot of all New Zealand workers.
When I spoke to CTU President Helen Kelly on Monday afternoon about "Under Pressure" for this column she didn’t have any inside information about what was likely to be in the Labour Party Leader's speech today, however she was more than happy to tell me what she would like to hear from Mr Cunliffe today.
"Firstly we are looking forward to him reinforcing the commitments he made in the leadership race, which were really good:
- Firstly increasing the minimum wage;
- Government itself implementing the call for the living wage and the people that it contracts too down the supply chain;
- and also bringing in an employment law that extends collective bargaining - through industry based documents - to other workers;
Other issues we want him to focus on the issues of precarious employment and employment rights generally, we are under attack at the moment, the Government is removing employment rights, Labour is saying that it will repeal those changes. So we are looking forward to hearing his ideas on that stuff."
Scoop Interview (Part 1) - Introducing The "Under Pressure"
including what the CTU would like to hear from David
In the second part of my interview with Ms Kelly we looked more deeply into the "Under Pressure" report and its findings.
The report is very accessible and tells much of the story through the words of workers describing their personal circumstances and experiences. It is revealing and shocking. It describes a labour market where employment practices in too many cases destroy workers dignity, self-esteem and ability to stand up for themselves.
In an example from the Forestry Industry a worker Chris is quoted saying:
"All the guys on the ground, they all tell their wives and partners, '**** it's getting dangerous.' The wives all say the same thing."
So far this year 6 forestry workers have been killed. And after a sustained campaign from the CTU on the issue there is some evidence that the Government and Labour Department (now part of MOBIE) are moving on the issue.
In the second part of my interview with Helen Kelly I talked more about the "Under Pressure" report and what it means for the CTU.
Helen Kelly Scoop Interview (Part 2) -
Introducing The "Under Pressure" Report
- Alastair Thompson, 500
Words, Wednesday, 09 October