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Trade Unionist to Apply For Higher Salaries Com.

Press Release 7 April 2003
From: Ivan Finlayson

Veteran Trade Unionist to Apply For Higher Salaries Commission

Former Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE), Ivan Finlayson has accepted a recommendation by a group of union officials to express an interest in a position on the Remuneration Authority, previously known as the Higher Salaries Commission.

Mr Finlayson, a veteran of many hard fought industrial battles in the public sector over the past two decades, said "It is fortuitous that the Commission has been renamed as the process of setting remuneration levels for Members of Parliament, Local Authority members and other Statutory Officers is in urgent need of reconsideration. The disparity between the remuneration of low and middle income working people and the relatively small percentage of wealthy New Zealanders is a matter of some concern."

It is Mr Finlayson's view that if the Higher Salaries Commission determinations accurately reflected the merit of the people they apply to there is a significant case for improvement in the wages of state sector workers who are, by comparison significantly undervalued. "MPs have received a 28% increase in their basic salary since 1995 while mental health nurses got less than 15% over the same period. Hospital cleaners, orderlies and kitchen staff have only received a 10% increase."

"I have no problem with people being paid what they are worth. However, the plain truth is that MPs, Judges, CEOs of State Owned Enterprises and Mayors have done very well for themselves while many public servants are struggling to make a living wage."

MPs are due to have their salaries reviewed in coming weeks.

For further information please contact Ivan Finlayson on 347 8161 or j+i.finlayson@xtra.co.nz

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