Labour’s employment policy gives working people
something to vote for
Media statement: 29 June 2017
Labour’s employment policy gives working peope something to vote for
The 27,000-strong FIRST Union has described Labour’s newly Employment Policy as giving its members something to vote for.
“FIRST Union represents a large number of low paid and vulnerable workers,” said Robert Reid, General Secretary of FIRST Union.
“The current employment relations laws are stacked against low paid workers and their unions meaning many working people are unable to make ends meet from one week to the next.
“We are horrified to hear from food banks that most of their clients are now workers rather than people on a social welfare benefit. This is the result of a system that prioritises capital over labour.
“It is pleasing to see the Labour Party putting forward policies that will reverse all of the anti-worker changes made to the Employment Relations Act by the National Government over the last 9 years, as well as promoting longer term policies that will prevent the race to the bottom on wages.
“FIRST Union is especially supportive of the concept of Fair Pay Agreements, but we will need to ensure that they actually work to bring fair wages and conditions across the whole of an industry. We must change the system where workers in an entire industry are held to ransom by some low paying employers. We expect better paying employers to be supportive of this concept as well.
“We also support the policy for another immediate lift of the minimum wage from $15.75 to $16.50 with a commitment to raise it to two thirds of the average wage, a level that is very similar to the Living Wage.
“FIRST Union stands for Decent Work for all and calls on Labour to ensure that its employment relations policy will end the exploitation of migrant workers as well as local workers.
“Although the Green’s Employment Relations Policy for 2017 has not been announced we are sure that the two policies will work well together and we look forward to the Greens announcement..
“Labour’s Employment Relations Policy also nicely dovetails into the recently announced NZ First Regional Development policy. One major factor in holding back the development of the regions is the low wages and therefore lack of spending power of working people in those regions.
“Together with Labour’s health, housing and education policies this employment relations policy shows a stark difference to the policies of the current government that have failed working people over the last 9 years,” said Reid.