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New Look Union Organisers

New Look Union Organisers

The first intake of union organisers from the Council of Trade Unions new Organising Training Programme will be presented with graduation certificates by the Minister of Labour tomorrow in Wellington.

An increased demand for unions among groups which have been under represented in unions, particularly young people, prompted the Council of Trade Unions to start a union organising trainee programme a year ago.

The trainees have been sponsored by unions from a range of industries including rail, finance, service and engineering.

“Since the Employment Relations Act became law there is a new interest in joining unions and union membership in New Zealand has grown for the first time in 12 years,” said CTU president Ross Wilson.

“Many young workers, who began work under the Employment Contracts Act, don’t know how to join a union or what the benefits of union membership are.”

Ross Wilson said union organising was a skilled job which was increasingly challenging with a more diverse workforce and a huge range of issues for workers.

“This CTU programme was set up because the union movement expects to grow and meet the challenges of rebuilding and strengthening the union voice in the wider community,” said Ross Wilson.

A similar programme is well established in Australia, where it is co-ordinated by the ACTU.

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