SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 2005
Union Leader Calls for Urgent Moves to Lift Wages, Sustain Growth
Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont says the pace of skill development and capital investment must be lifted to improve wages and ensure continued economic and social progress.
In a speech to the Labour Party Congress in Wellington today, Carol Beaumont said New Zealand must be able to compete internationally on the basis of a highly productive, highly skilled, high wage economy – not on the basis of low wages.
She criticised businesses that were looking for a cheap solution.
“Some business leaders are pressing the panic button about skill shortages, but adamantly opposing improvements in wages and conditions here that might attract skilled Kiwis back home or increase participation in the paid workforce.
“Instead they want to continue the low wage strategies by importing cheap labour.”
Carol Beaumont warned that a National win at this year’s election would set back economic and social development and return employment relations back to the 1990s.
“These policies have to potential to create a very bitter industrial relations sideshow: a diversion from the real challenge of trying to rebuild our country.”
Carol Beaumont acknowledged the progress the Labour-led Government had made for workers and said unions would continue working in partnership with Government to promote prosperity for all New Zealanders.