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Nat policy: Blueprint for low wages, instability?

For immediate release
Thursday 24 July 2008

National’s Employment Relations policy – A blueprint for lower wages and instability?

Bank workers’ union Finsec says that the National Party’s Employment Relations policy is likely to result in lower wages and greater instability in New Zealand workplaces.

“Within the current framework, many workers have been able to achieve real wage increases like the 5% increase from Westpac our members have been offered this week,” said Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell. “These pay rises have come as a result of staff being able to bargain collectively through their own independent union. National’s policies undermining collective bargaining would weaken the ability of workers to achieve real wage rises.”

Campbell said that while National talk about increasing wages to catch up with Australia, their policies point in the opposite direction and make that outcome much less likely. “The National Party policy offers nothing on closing the wage gap with Australia. It will just take us back to the industrial relations environment of the 90’s with cuts in real wages for many, and greater conflict and instability in our workplaces as a result. That is a change we don’t need.”

Campbell said that people looking for new policy in the area of employment relationships needed to think very carefully if this is the direction of change they want.

“National’s policy would make it harder for us all to achieve the pay we need to keep up with rising costs, such as the 5% Westpac has offered to Finsec members this week.”

“The next government needs to focus on policies that lift wages, not make them worse. Strengthen job security, not weaken it. A positive policy framework for all New Zealanders cannot be based on diminishing work rights. That would be a giant step backwards,” said Campbell.


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