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Council of Trade Unions encourages Govt to further support displaced workers

After the New Zealand government unveiled its offer of support for the business community on Monday, the Council of Trade Unions has made recommendations for additional support for workers. 

“We are welcoming the Government’s wage subsidies to keep people connected with their workplaces, training for affected working people, [and] support for employers,” CTU policy director and economist Andrea Black said. 

“The CTU is pleased to see the government preparing for future eventualities, engaging with unions and businesses and being prepared to take decisive action.”

Black added, however, that she considered a few things a bare minimum to such a business support package. 

Practical support for people displaced from their jobs, including supporting unions to work with members if there are workplace and industry closures should be included, Black argued. 

“[As well as] increased statutory sick leave [and] income support for all working people who are casual or contractors who can’t work or are self-isolating.”

While Coronavirus cases have topped 111,000 worldwide, New Zealand has only seen five positive results since the outbreak begun, and hasn’t seen a new diagnosis for four consecutive days according to Virus NZ. 

Nevertheless, the virus’ impact on consumer confidence has been far more severe, with Westpac New Zealand stating earlier this week it had dropped its annual GDP growth forecast to 1.9 per cent.

“It’s important to remember, though, that this is a temporary disruption to economic activity, not a new long-run trajectory for the economy,” Westpac wrote on Monday. 

“We are currently assuming that the recovery phase will begin in the second half of this year, although we will update that timing as we learn more about how the virus is playing out.

“The most important role for Government and the Reserve Bank right now is to focus on ensuring that the wheels of commerce keep turning where possible. Where commerce must stop, the focus should be on helping the economy get through.”

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