November 1, 2006
Union welcomes competitive manufacturing initiative
New Zealand’s largest manufacturing union has welcomed the Competitive Manufacturing Initiative launched at Parliament on Monday this week.
The project entails new training relevant to the manufacturing sector and a new qualification. It also involves an emphasis in the workplace on increasing productivity, encouraging workplace innovation and working smarter rather than harder.
The initiative, driven by eight ITOs, provides for a collaborative approach across the industry, including unions, to upskilling workers in the manufacturing sector, with new standards that are consistent with Australian qualifications.
Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union National Secretary Andrew Little says the Competitive Manufacturing Initiative will ensure a future for manufacturing in New Zealand. “This initiative will make a real contribution to improving manufacturing performance across the economy.”
Mr Little says the initiative highlights how important it is that businesses involve workers and their unions in making the manufacturing sector more competitive and moving towards a high wage, high skill and high productivity economy.
“Making our manufacturing sector more competitive is going to require a major shift in the culture of the workplace and a long term commitment from employers,” he said.
“It is no longer enough to think manufacturing can be competitive by continually cutting costs alone; that’s just a downward spiral. We have to think harder about what we are doing and how we are doing it and aim for premium value rather than marginal cost,” Mr Little says.