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NZCTU: New Zealand, we need to talk about wages...

01 Nov 17

The current system for determining pay is stuck on a setting which might deliver for chief executives and shareholders but not for the average working person in New Zealand.

That’s the word from Richard Wagstaff, the Council of Trade Unions president, who has called on the Government and industry professional to starting talking about new ways wages can be decided – that work better for the working people.

In response to the release of the Labour Market Statistics September quarter data by Statistics New Zealand this morning, Wagstaff says, “the evidence has shown us that our system of individual bargaining, casualised work and under-employment all drives down the return working people get on the effort they put in.”

The data from Statistics New Zealand shows that wages would have fallen further behind the cost of living were it not for the union, government and employer agreed equal pay settlement in aged care.

"It’s exciting for us to see that the hard-earned money delivered to aged care caregivers boosted overall wage growth, which would otherwise have fallen even further behind living costs.”

“This is proof that having open conversations and better negotiation about what jobs are really worth to society as a whole works. It’s time to move away from the old mind set of employers setting wages unilaterally."

"Industry wide agreements and better access to collective bargaining will supercharge wage growth to catch up to rising living costs. The new Government has indicated that implementing new, broader wage setting mechanisms is a priority for their first term.”

Wagstaff adds, “Unions are ready for more holistic conversations about wages for working people that gives them a fair go at determining what their jobs are worth."

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi is made up of over 350,000 union members across 40 affiliated unions. The Union functions as the voice for New Zealand’s working people and their families.

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