Employment relations system
The current system is broken. Workers do not get the collective rights they need to negotiate decent wages and conditions or to have a voice in the future of their work. We need new laws to protect workers and strengthen unions.
Fair Pay Agreements
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD without law that creates industry standards for workers. We need to be able to bargain across sectors for decent pay rates and work conditions.
Security guard Rosey Ngakopu says: “Security guards feel undervalued because the mahi we do is not reflected in our pay, due to the undercutting in the competitive market in the security industry. A Fair Pay Agreement will be a game-changer. And not just for me, or my colleagues, but for all security guards in the industry.”
The Living Wage
Poverty and inequality in New Zealand have reached a crisis point and it keeps getting worse. People need wages that are high enough to pay the rent, feed their families, cover other expenses, and leave enough left over for participation in the community. E tū calls for the Living Wage to be the wage floor for all workers across the public service and state sector, including contracted workers.
Police station cleaner Rose Kavapalu says: “Being an essential services worker at the police station, all of a sudden people realise how important your job is. I’d rather not be at work as I have many family commitments, but the police officers really need us to keep the place clean and free from COVID-19. So, I am happy to do the work, but honestly, I deserve more than the bare minimum.”
‘Procurement’ is the process used to choose which contractors deliver services. Usually, cost is the main thing that organisations consider and choose the cheapest option. This means that companies use low wages to stay competitive, resulting in a ‘race to the bottom’. The Government must recognise it has a responsibility to all citizens, including the workers employed by their own public service contractors. Considering the wider societal consequences of these decisions is known as ‘social procurement’.
E tū has a very diverse membership across the healthcare industry, including in aged care, home support, disability support, and hospital service workers. Many of the problems in the industry relate to privatisation, ongoing underfunding by successive governments, and decisions made to maximise profits instead of maximising health outcomes. E tū calls for a comprehensive rethink that addresses these issues.
The ‘just transition’ concept is simple: the costs of the necessary changes that deliver all of us a more stable climate must be spread evenly and not fall heavily and disproportionately on workers and their communities. Workers from industries like oil, gas and coal, who have helped build the prosperity that the country has enjoyed, deserve the certainty of pathways into decent, well-paying jobs in new industries. Since COVID-19 hit, the need for a just transition approach on a much wider scale is now clear, as huge changes come to aviation, tourism, hospitality, and many other sectors.
Broader policy areas
While employment-related issues are a key focus for E tū in this election campaign, we are calling for some wider reforms that will help workers (and everyone else) including:
- free dental care for all Kiwis
- proper housing reform, including an expansion of state and social housing programs
- an infrastructure upgrade as part of building strong communities, such as better public transport.
2020 General Election political party positions
These judgements are made on the basis of the parties’ 2017 manifesto and their voting records in parliament on these issues. If no 2017 policy exists around this issue and previous voting record cannot indicate whether parties would support the policy or not, then it is left blank.