CTU MEDIA RELEASE
01 September 2008
Billboards won’t lift wages - CTU
The National Party’s billboards would be more honest if they spelt out how they were going to lift wages, Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today.
“National has released an industrial relations policy which cuts worker and union rights, is completely silent on lifting wages, and coupled with other policies will leave workers much worse off.”
“The wage gap with Australia grew by 50.4% in the 1990s and by 1.6% from 2000 to 2007, and so it is a bit rich that National is now suggesting they are the ones to fix this problem.”
“Given it is now clear that tax cuts will be paid for by high road tolls, possible cuts to KiwiSaver, cuts in public services and privatisation of state assets, this makes the lack of a wages policy even more concerning. Workers will end up worse off, with more user-pays, and if work rights are reduced and wages don’t increase we will simply see a repeat of the 1990s”.
“New Zealand wages are too low, and any government with a serious plan to lift wages should strengthen workers’ rights to be covered by multi-employer collective agreements to address wages on an industry basis, not dismantle collective bargaining provisions by allowing for collective agreements to be set up by employers with an interest in keeping wages down.”
The CTU advocates the high road approach – of regularly raising the minimum wage, increasing the numbers of workers addressing pay and conditions across industries, and modernising the workforce through investing in skills, plant and machinery and lifting productivity, Helen Kelly said.