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No ‘Sunshine Wages’ for NZ King Salmon workers

16 June 2017

No ‘Sunshine Wages’ for NZ King Salmon workers

E tū members at Nelson-based King Salmon have won an impressive three-year deal to substantially lift pay for all workers and will see the lowest paid workers’ wages increase by more than 10 percent.

Members voted this week in favour of the deal which was signed off on Thursday.

The agreement includes a series of significant pay rises over the three-year period for all King Salmon workers from now to April 2019 with those on the lowest pay receiving a pay rise of 10.33% by then.

“This is a great deal for these workers, and puts to rest the nonsense of ‘Sunshine Wages’ says Chas Muir, E tū’s Food Sector Industry Coordinator.

“It’s almost a $2.00 hourly increase on their lower level current rates,” he says.

Chas says it’s not the Living Wage from day one, which is what workers have campaigned for, but it is a major move towards it. These pay increases will see the current Living Wage paid to all workers starting at the lowest level by April 2019 with many on higher levels earning much more.

“So, in the next round of bargaining, we will be in a strong position to “knock the bugger off” to quote Sir Edmund Hillary,” he says.

E tū Delegate Kathryn Wells says: “There was a mutual understanding between the union and the company of the need to explore ways to get workers on the journey towards a Living Wage.

“We worked hard in bargaining to get the best result possible without losing conditions. While we haven’t achieved the Living Wage for all members we have taken a massive step towards it,” she says.

“This is a fantastic step forward for E tū members at New Zealand King Salmon and the wider Nelson community.”

Chas paid tribute to the delegates at King Salmon who made the Living Wage the focus of their pay demands.

He also congratulated the company for their positive engagement in working towards the Living Wage before the bargaining started and throughout the bargaining process.

“This outcome is a win for all and should be celebrated,” says Chas.

Chas says the union was also helped by its friends in the community.

The Living Wage Movement organised rallies and even a BBQ to drum up support for the idea that workers in Nelson should be paid enough to live on.

“People in Nelson are sick of this idea that pay is low in Nelson because you have lots of sunshine, so you get sunshine wages They want living wages. This King Salmon settlement is a big step towards that goal” says Chas.

“The union, the company, and the community have come together and it’s paid off.”


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