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Wages wake-up call for workers

Wages wake-up call for workers

New Zealand workers need to band together if they want a fair slice of the country’s wealth, says the country’s largest union.

“It’s a fact of life,” said Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little.

“We have the perfect conditions for wage growth; the only thing holding us back is a low level of collective bargaining. The reality is that the best way to get a fair share of the wealth and a say on how productivity is to be improved is to negotiate together rather than alone.”

He was commenting on news that interest rates are about to rise, and that wages haven’t kept pace with rising costs.

Mr Little said that with years of strong economic growth, good company profits and a tight labour market (especially for skilled workers), the time is ripe for real growth in wages and salaries.

“With economic growth of between three and four per cent, working people should be getting pay rises of at least that much. Instead, they’re getting around two-and-a-half per cent.

“They’re facing rising costs for housing, electricity and petrol, and interest rates are about to go up. Their standard of living is going backwards. That’s why the Government has had to step in with it’s ‘working for families package.”

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