Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


CTU Opposes changes to minimum wage calculation

30 April 2014

CTU Opposes changes to minimum wage calculation

The Government has announced a proposal to allow employers to average their workers' wages over two weeks rather than one. They have sent out a letter to businesses and unions asking for feedback on a plan to amend the law. The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (the CTU) opposes this change. It incentivises unsafe and unhealthy hours of work and may be used to pay very low paid workers less money.

Salaried workers are entitled to the minimum weekly wage of $570 per week for a 40 hour week plus the minimum hourly wage of $14.25 for each hour thereafter. Employers want to be able to average this fortnightly so that workers would be paid $1,140 per fortnight plus the minimum hourly rate for each hour above 80. This change allows employers to avoid paying extra for making their workers work above 40 hours per week.

CTU General Counsel Jeff Sissons says "This proposal is a result of intensive lobbying by farmers. It is common for farmers to put low paid workers (at or near the minimum wage) on salaries and make them work extremely long hours (between 50 and 60 hours per week is common with much longer hours during peak season). We understand that 12 to 16 hour days are common in the dairy sector along with rosters that have 11 days on and three days off.

"These hours have long term health consequences and make work more dangerous. Agriculture is one of our most dangerous industries with 18 deaths in 2013. The Government says it is committed to health and safety but these changes and others such as the removal of guaranteed rest breaks go in exactly the wrong direction. New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce a 40 hour working week in 1840. We are a long way from that ideal now and getting further by the day."

Sissons says, "Employers in other industries are likely to change to salarisation if it help them cut costs. The Government is about to pass laws allowing small employers to opt out of protections for so-called 'vulnerable workers' (cleaners, food workers, orderlies and others). These workers are in industries with a well-documented history of screwing workers down to the lowest possible rates. Cleaning firms, for example, compete on razor sharp cost margins and this proposal would allow them to count allowances such as overtime and night work towards the minimum fortnightly wage by putting workers on salaries. Like the removal of entitlements to meal breaks, the Government is helping bad employers to shave their profits out of the most vulnerable workers' pay packets."

"The CTU thinks that the Government should be protecting migrants and other vulnerable workers from long hours and lower pay not facilitating these through changing the law."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news