E tū members and supporters have knocked it out of the park! When submissions closed in May, more than 1,100 people had used E tū’s online submission tool to let Parliament know why Fair Pay Agreements will be so important to us.
E tū members and supporters made the majority of submissions on this bill, as the total number of submissions received by Parliament was 1,852. Many of the other submissions came from our allies in community organisations and other unions supporting the bill.
There were common themes throughout many of the submissions. Workers want better pay, proper training, decent health and safety, better workplace cultures, and a real say in workplace decision making.
Submissions also included reports that many members are going through real hardship. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impacts of inequality, and with the price of essentials like housing and groceries growing rapidly, good Fair Pay Agreements legislation is urgent.
Delegations of E tū members in both Auckland and Wellington appeared before the Select Committee to make oral submissions, telling their stories directly to the Members of Parliament. Rosey Ngakopu, a Wellington security guard and dedicated E tū activist,
said it was about a fair go for all.
“Everyone deserves fairness, equality, dignity, and wellbeing at work,” Rosey said.
“Workers in Aotearoa New Zealand need better pay, better conditions, better protections, and better involvement in decision making.”
Rosey said that while it was great to see the bill before Parliament, E tū was advocating for some improvements. A big one for Rosey was the inclusion of health and safety as an issue that was mandatory to agree on, not just to discuss.
What happens next?
We expect The Fair Pay Agreements Bill to have its Third Reading in Parliament in October. Shortly after that, the bill becomes law, and we can begin to initiate the first Fair Pay Agreements!
Initiation will require 1,000 workers or 10% of a workforce (whichever number is smaller) to sign on, calling for a Fair Pay Agreement.
Bargaining parties will be formed, with both employers and workers (through their unions) democratically selecting people to represent them.
Once negotiations have finished, all workers and employers affected by the Fair Pay Agreement will have the chance to vote on it. If no agreement can be reached, then the Fair Pay Agreement goes to a neutral arbitrator at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), to make a final decision.
Anyone employed in the industry covered by the Fair Pay Agreement will have pay and conditions that are at least as good as the new minimum standards laid out in the Fair Pay Agreement – a brilliant new legal right!