E tū is annoyed by the deliberate misrepresentation of collective bargaining in relation to Fair Pay Agreements by the New Zealand Initiative (NZI), in a report they released today.
The report purports to make the case against the findings of the Fair Pay Agreements Working Group, which was a group of union and business representatives, academics and experts, chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.
However, as meticulously detailed by the Council of Trade Unions, NZI has cherry-picked claims, ignored crucial evidence, and has not contributed constructively to the discussion on the issue.
E tū National Director of Campaigns Annie Newman said that NZI had completely ignored the main issue.
“Tens of thousands of working New Zealanders are living in poverty, working in industries where tendering processes mean a race to the bottom on wages,” Annie says.
“Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards to make sure that paying people poorly is not the way to be competitive. It really is as simple as that.”
Annie pointed to the recent Care and Support (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement, which won equal pay for everyone in the industry.
“Carers in New Zealand won equal pay through an industry-wide agreement, similar to a Fair Pay Agreement. It was negotiated by unions, businesses, and government, and has lifted over 50,000 people off poverty wages.
“The facts are on our side – even the OECD now officially acknowledges the importance of collective bargaining. International evidence is clear that countries with mechanisms for industry-wide bargaining have better social and economic outcomes.
“However, even when proper analysis is in our favour, the most important thing for E tū members is that they are lifted out of poverty. That means proper wages and conditions, which is exactly what Fair Pay Agreements are all about.”
Annie says that people shouldn’t be tricked into thinking the debate is about different interpretations of economic analysis.
“Our priority areas for Fair Pay Agreements are cleaning and security, where it is blindingly obvious that we need better wages and conditions. Any argument against that, especially one that offers no meaningful solutions, doesn’t deserve the attention of New Zealand workers.”
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