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Trade deal danger to wages and conditions

Trade deal danger to wages and conditions

Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader

The Chinese Government push to allow Chinese workers into New Zealand as part of the trade deal, possibly at Chinese wage rates and Chinese labour conditions, has the potential to produce a race to the bottom on wages and conditions says the Green Party.

“I warned about this possibility back in July and it shows once again that trade talks are about much more than trade. In this case it is about the wages and conditions of everyday New Zealand workers,” says Russel Norman, Greens’ Co-Leader and Trade Spokesperson.

“It is important that the trade talks do not undermine the wages and conditions of New Zealand workers,” says Sue Bradford, Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson.

“There are a number of key conditions that must be met before the Labour - United Future – NZ First Government goes down this track, if we are to avoid a trade-deal driven race to the bottom on wages and conditions,” says Dr. Norman.

“Firstly, there must be genuine shortages in the areas where overseas workers are going to be employed.

“Secondly, the Government must be making real efforts to train New Zealanders in those areas.

“Thirdly, the wages paid to the overseas workers must be the same as the wages paid to New Zealanders doing the same job.

“Fourthly, the conditions of the overseas workers must be the same as the conditions of New Zealand workers doing the same job.

“Fifthly, the overseas workers must be genuinely free to join a New Zealand union while they are here with no sanctions against them when they return home.

“Let us remember that less than two years ago the Chinese Government stopped the New Zealand CTU President Ross Wilson from attending an OECD forum on labour standards in China and cancelled the meeting. This is not a Government that has good labour, environmental or democratic credentials.”

ends

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