Council of Trade Unions delivers fair pay guidelines

The Council of Trade Unions has launched its report into fair pay agreements in New Zealand, detailing six key principles to be adopted to deliver change for workers.

According to CTU president Richard Wagstaff, while the Labour Party has pledged to bring Fair Pay to New Zealanders, action is still required to turn the concept to reality. 

“This framework ensures agreements will cover all people working in an industry or sector, and provide them a real voice through their unions to collectively negotiate their pay and conditions like leave, overtime, training, and hours of work,” Wagstaff said. 

“Fair Pay Agreements will make work better for many people, while returning a fairer share of the wealth working Kiwis generate.”

The principles put forward include outlining the purpose of fair pay agreements – to improve the conditions of workers – as well as allow them a voice in negotiations. It also says that such an agreement should cover an entire industry, need to be about more than just pay, and, should an agreement be reached, the decision should be final. 

Additionally, if an agreement can’t be reached, an external, independent assessment should be launched to determine a fair pay agreement.

According to Wagstaff, many Kiwis who work in industries such as cleaning, security, and supermarkets struggle to earn enough to make ends meet, and Fair Pay Agreements would solve the issue of a “race to the bottom” on staff pay. 

The announcement was supported by the Public Service Association, which said the FPA would be good for New Zealanders and called on Government to bring them into law.

“Across the developed world, sector-wide collective bargaining is standard practice,” Public Service Association national secretary Kerry Davies said. 

“New Zealand currently has an outdated approach that allows some unscrupulous employers to drive down wages and conditions for everyone else.”

Likewise, First Union stated the guidelines would provide a much needed pathway to fairer pay and improve conditions across several industries. 

“Industry-led agreements in the supermarket industry would put an end to the current race to the bottom for some individual stores when it comes to wages,” First Union general secretary Dennis Maga said. 

“It’s up to the Government now to deliver on the work of the Joint Working Group between unions and businesses and introduce real sector-based bargaining that centres on workers and does not penalise good employers.”


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