June 14, 2006
Inflation will not stop wages campaign
New Zealand workers will continue their drive to lift wage levels, despite Government warnings about inflation, says the country’s largest union.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little, who last year launched the Fair Share – Five in ’05 campaign to boost the value of New Zealand wages, said that it was unrealistic for the Government to ask workers to curb their pay expectations in a bid to control inflation.
“Workers will look at their needs, at what they think they are worth and negotiate accordingly,” he said.
“Workers across the Tasman continue to earn more than we do here in New Zealand, and we must address the situation if we want to retain our skilled labour force.
“This government knows that the reason Australia is more attractive to many Kiwi workers is not a tax issue but a wage issue, and that the real value of New Zealand wages must rise.”
Mr Little said that New Zealand companies had been slow to share the profits of the good years.
“Last year we made a start on claiming our fair share, and that continues,” he said.