Manufacturing push welcome
The union that represents manufacturing workers is backing a campaign by Business New Zealand for more focus on manufacturing – but says that the business lobby group has to move beyond its tired old anti-worker rhetoric and be ready to work in partnership to promote manufacturing.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little welcomed the support of Business New Zealand for manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is vital to the future of this country, and it’s time its importance was recognised,” Mr Little said.
“It is high-quality, high technology manufacturing that will provide the jobs and wealth that this country needs, but because it doesn’t have the glamour of the film or wine industries, its importance is often downplayed or ignored.”
Mr Little said that New Zealand manufacturing was facing a huge challenge with the globalisation of manufacturing and economies, and there was no room for New Zealanders to fight among themselves.
“We all have to pull together,” he said, “workers, employers and the government. This union is ready and waiting to work with employers on these issues, but first they have to put aside their old prejudices about unionised labour.”
Mr Little said that it was disappointing to see suggestions for increased “flexibility” in the labour market in the Business New Zealand report Manufacturing Perspectives, released today.
“We’ve been down that path and it didn’t work,” he said. “If the manufacturing sector wants a highly skilled, committed workforce, it’s got to be prepared to work with that workforce and respect the fact that there have to be rules to guide that relationship.
“All the flexibility that’s needed in the labour market is there already.”