CTU MEDIA RELEASE
25 October 2006
Seasonal Labour Plan Must Focus on Development in NZ and the Pacific
“In filling genuine labour gaps, recognising the relationship New Zealand has with our Pacific neighbours is an approach the CTU has advocated for,” CTU secretary Carol Beaumont said today.
“While broadly supporting the policy approach announced today in the Recognised Seasonal Employer proposals, the CTU strongly asserts that there must be a serious commitment to ongoing work at an industry level to lift skills, wages and productivity in New Zealand, and replace reliance on low paid workers.”
“Unions will want to ensure that the Recognised Seasonal Employer policy genuinely addresses development needs in the Pacific, including a commitment to skills enhancement and other development opportunities for Pacific workers.”
“If the seasonal labour development plan is a genuine development opportunity, then it should not be linked to discussion around free trade agreements.”
“Unions are intending to be actively involved in the ongoing development of the scheme, to uphold not only the employment rights of migrant workers, but also wider social protections including access to public health care,” Beaumont said.
“Unions have an interest in protecting migrant workers, and agreed at a recent South Pacific unions meeting earlier this month to work together on a cooperative basis across regions on this. The CTU will be advocating for recognition of the role of unions in protecting the rights of migrant workers as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer policy.”