Labour’s policies a step change for working people
“After six long years of working life getting tougher in New Zealand workers have been given a real choice today with the announcement of Labour's Industrial Relations policy package,” CTU President Helen Kelly said.
“In is just 152 days up to 300,000 workers on or near the minimum wage could get a pay increase with another one following soon after early next year. In just 152 days laws that have left thousands dismissed without fair process and done nothing to lift employment standards will be gone. In just 152 days young workers will be paid the rate for the work they are doing rather than based on their age.” Kelly said.
“For those concerned about kids living in poverty, about families working every hour to make ends meet, about the future of their children’s working lives and for the thousands of workers now feeling pressured pay day to pay day, having a mechanism to lift wages is the most important of Labour's announcements to date and can be contrasted directly with Nationals employment law changes to remove tea and lunch breaks and stifle collective bargaining. The total package will finally allow workers like forestry and farm workers to have a mechanism to get a fair wage in these highly profitable industries.” Kelly said.
“Just two weeks ago we marked the first anniversary of the death of Charles Finlay in a Tokoroa forest. While the situation regarding how Charles was killed is now familiar to many Kiwis, what is little known is he was on only $16 per hour after 27 years in the bush. This is a normal wage for these workers. Charles had no access to collective bargaining and his employer unilaterally determined what to pay him. What we know about farm workers is that last year, one of the most profitable years ever, total remuneration decreased for workers in the dairy sector. The employers in these industries enjoy total control of the wage setting process for their workers and low unfair wages are the result.” Kelly said.
“These changes will mean that by start of 2014, the first 100 days, the minimum wage will have been increased and 26 paid parental leave will have been introduced.” Kelly said. “The contrast has never been so stark.”
“These policies are what workers have been calling for – we are delighted that the Labour Party have listened to working New Zealanders.” Kelly said.