The government’s plan to allow local authorities to determine whether shops and garden centres can open on Easter Sunday just shifts the problem to a different decision-maker, says FIRST Union Retail and Finance Secretary Maxine Gay.
“The Minister’s promise that the law will give workers the choice to accept or decline work without reason is hollow.”
“The same promise was made when Sunday trading was introduced, but it never came to anything,” says Gay.
While the New Zealand Refining Company Limited posts a spectacular half-year profit, a union representing workers at the site is questioning whether a proposed 0.5% pay rise is all the company can afford.
“Despite announcing a healthy half-year result, the Marsden Point bargaining team is only offering workers a miserly 0.5 percent pay rise,” says FIRST Union organiser Jared Abbott.
Figures released today revealing a rise in the unemployment rate demonstrate that the government’s mismanagement of the economy is keeping the country in a low-wage, high unemployment rut says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“Under this government New Zealand has been a low-wage economy characterised by high levels of unemployment. The Labour Cost Index is only up a modest 1.6 percent while unemployment has risen to 5.9 percent.”
Despite major unions and many business associations uniting in a call for better health and safety standards, the select committee report into the Health and Safety Reform Bill reveals that the government has surrendered to pressure from a small group of irresponsible employers, says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“If the government was serious about improving workplace safety then the new health and safety standards would be made universal,” says Reid.