The PSA and other unions believe Fair Pay Agreements will offer a fairer deal for many of this country’s most vulnerable workers.
That’s why we’ve made a submission on the Government’s new discussion document on FPAs and have been encouraging members to make sure their voices are heard.
This Government has stated its commitment to improving the well-being of all New Zealanders.
Economic studies commissioned by the Council of Trade Unions have found a return to sector bargaining in the form of FPAs is the most effective thing it could do to achieve that.
Too many New Zealanders endure poor working conditions in jobs that don’t pay enough and offer few opportunities for career progression.
FPAs will set minimum employment standards that will apply to all workers in an industry.
In January a working group led by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger recommended bargaining for FPAs should begin when called for by 1000 workers or 10% of workers in an industry.
Employers, government and unions would then negotiate terms covering every workplace within that industry, regardless of whether workers are union members or not.
They would also work together to develop industry-wide strategies for training and workforce development.
Low wages and insecure conditions are the norm for cleaners, security guards and supermarket workers, so these are the first groups proposed to be covered by FPAs.
Some of these workers have organised to win improved pay and conditions, but the companies they work for must then compete for contracts with non-unionised companies.
By establishing consistent standards for pay, breaks, hours and safety practices, FPAs will prevent unscrupulous employers from undercutting employers that treat workers better.
Unions have limited resources, and having to fight the same battles company by company, makes it hard to protect the pay and conditions of workers.
Fair Pay Agreements will ensure no worker is left behind.
The first areas where FPAs will be trialled are in the private sector, but these laws will benefit all workers.
FPAs are proposed to apply to contractors as well as permanent employees.
Everyone deserves equal pay for equal work, and public sector employers have for too long used contractors and temping agencies to try and undermine our collective agreements.
It is a priority of our union to end this situation.
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