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More can be done to lift labour productivity

MEDIA RELEASE 13 March 2008

More can be done to lift labour productivity

Productivity statistics out today show that lifting labour productivity in periods of relatively low unemployment remains a challenge, the Council of Trade Unions said.

The figures show that labour productivity rose by 1.1% on average each year in the 2000 to 2007 period. This compares with 2.9% in the 1985-90 period, when labour inputs fell and there were large scale redundancies and rising unemployment.

Peter Conway, CTU Economist, said that while 1.1% is not a bad result, if we can lift the level of capital investment, focus on upskilling the workforce, and foster best practice at a workplace level, then labour productivity can rise.

"The CTU has been working with Business NZ and the Government to raise awareness about the importance of productivity, develop appropriate tools for productivity improvements and support pilot projects."

"Lifting the skill levels of the workforce, including new entrants, applying the best technology, and building decent workplaces is where the focus needs to be. This includes the need for improved levels of literacy and numeracy."

Peter Conway said that unions recognise that creating a high wage economy will require not only good collective bargaining arrangements, but sustainable lifts in productivity.


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