30 November 2004
New Approach Needed to Workplace Productivity
The success of any productivity initiative will depend on a process which starts with worker involvement and ensures the benefits are shared fairly, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
He was commenting on the Workplace Productivity Working Report released by the Minister of Labour.
“Productivity became something of a dirty word in the 1990s among workers who faced redundancy, restructuring and greater stress at work,” Ross Wilson said.
It was therefore essential that the processes following on from the report involved a genuine dialogue and input from workers and their unions.
“What is needed is an adult education process about productivity which reaches into New Zealand workplaces,” Ross Wilson said. “It should involve workers and their unions in a real discussion about the future of their industry and respect their views and contribution.” Ross Wilson said that the success of the initiative would also depend on a commitment to ensure that the gains from productivity were shared.
The CTU was pleased that so much of the report was about how to get the right investments in place to drive productivity improvements. This included capital and skills, but also involved good workplace relations.
“Getting the culture right so that people apply their knowledge and skills and make the best use of technology is absolutely vital.
“The CTU accepts the responsibility to help lead a process to build a high value, high skill economy which recognises the value of skills and knowledge and treats labour as a valuable asset.”