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NZers want higher pay to address skills shortages

30 October 2007

New Zealanders want stronger public services; higher pay to address skills shortage

Two national surveys out today have reinforced core Council of Trade Union campaign policy planks of stronger public services and higher wages, CTU secretary Carol Beaumont said today.

A Research New Zealand survey out today showed a higher level of support among New Zealanders for using budget surpluses to deliver more public services and works (48%) than tax cuts (35%).

“New Zealanders expect and demand high quality public services that are accessible to all,” Carol Beaumont said.

“The CTU recognises that tax cuts may be coming, but they must not undermine the public services we need now and in the future.  Tax cuts are great news if you’re rich, but the main income issue for working people is the need for higher wages.”

Meanwhile 90 per cent of respondents to a Shape NZ survey were concerned with skills shortages, and three quarter listed inadequate pay as a driver.

“Low wages are now an intrinsic barrier to the economic transformation of New Zealand are socially unjust,” Carol Beaumont said. 

“We think there is a strong case for a higher minimum wage, improved employment law to genuinely promote industry and multi-employer collective bargaining to lift wage rates across industries, and continuing to link workforce development including decent pay and conditions to sustainable industry development.”

The fact that 74 per cent of business owners in the Shape NZ survey recognised low pay as a driver of skills shortages was significant, Beaumont said.

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“Many employers will agree that wages are too low. They also recognise that it is difficult for one employer to move too far ahead of his or her competitors. But they still resist industry bargaining which could provide a stable platform for attracting workers to the sector and retaining them as well as the promotion of transferable skills,” she said.

The CTU launched its political strategy at its biennial conference this month around the three themes of work rights, stronger public services and higher wages.


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