Labour’s new workplace relations policy focused on fairness and the future

The Labour Party’s new workplace relations policy demonstrates a fair and fresh approach that is good for workers and employers, with a firm eye on the challenges of the future, says the Public Service Association.

"These policies would finally restore fairness to the bargaining process between unions and employers," says Kerry Davies, PSA acting national secretary.

Labour’s workplace relations package includes measures to set fair employment conditions across industries, pay a basic Living Wage to workers across the public service, and double the number of Labour Inspectors. Importantly, it addresses inequalities across the bargaining process that have worsened under the current Government.

"This is a comprehensive set of policies that would rebalance the relationship between working people and employers, and more fairly share the benefits of economic growth across society," says Ms Davies.

"Rolling out a Living Wage across the public sector and contractors, for example, allows government to set a good standard across the workforce."

"We’re particularly pleased to see a fresh approach to dealing with government contractors that will ensure good employment practices and respect the role of unions and collective bargaining."

"This will safeguard against the outsourcing of core public services as a way of cutting costs and eroding worker protections, taking the recent care and support workers’ equal pay settlement as an example of good collaborative practice."

The PSA also believes that this policy could lead to productivity increases across the public and community sectors. A recent OECD report highlighted New Zealand’s persistently low labour productivity rate as a key impediment to improving living standards and the wellbeing of working people.

"The current employment framework keeps wages low and workers at a significant disadvantage during bargaining with employers," says Ms Davies.

"This leads to wage disparities, precarious employment situations and an increasing number of New Zealanders missing out on the basics."

"We believe that Labour’s policy would tackle these issues head on, so we’re very happy to support it."