Supermarket employees nominated for first Fair Pay Agreements

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) have targeted supermarket workers, security guards and cleaners for the first Fair Pay Agreements.

The council is urging the government to propose Fair Pay Agreements that would guarantee pay rates and conditions for workers across an entire industry and has even released an independent report conducted by economic research company BERL into the validity of sector bargaining.

According to CTU, the findings show there is no economic reason not to implement sector bargaining but many social and individual wellbeing reasons to do so.

“Modern sector bargaining such as the proposed Fair Pay Agreements will lift the pay and conditions across an entire sector to ensure working people have access to a fair return of the profits made by business, and stop bad employers undercutting people’s wages,” said CTU president Richard Wagstaff.

“Today we are announcing, together with E Tu and First Union, that the sectors where we want to achieve the first Fair Pay Agreements are supermarkets, security and cleaning.”

According to Annie Newman, E tū assistant national secretary, a Fair Pay Agreement brings employers, working people and their unions, together to agree on what is a fair minimum rate of pay for the people working in that industry, how they can access training, and what fair terms and conditions should be.

“It can also help keep people safe at work by setting appropriate standards across a sector where there is public interest for this. We know our members working in the security and cleaning industries need the benefits of Fair Pay Agreements,” Newman said.

Dennis Maga, general secretary of First Union, said the OECD has made it clear that the country’s current workplace laws have created social and economic woes such as inequality, reduced productivity, undermining of social mobility, the holding back of progress in living standards, and political instability.

“We must turn this ship around,” Maga said.

BERL’s report shows that a return to a modern form of sector bargaining will significantly improve the wellbeing of working New Zealanders while maintaining economic growth.

“It is a call-to-action for New Zealand and the New Zealand Government to make better working lives possible for all Kiwis,” the report said.

“New Zealand’s abandonment of sector bargaining in the 1990s is linked to a decline in real wage growth.”

The report concludes that political decisions not economic ones are responsible for the erosion of collective wage bargaining, and that wages have not kept up with productivity increases as a result.


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