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Media Releases

Bank workers' union and community unite to keep open Ruatōria’s last bank

Date of Release: 
Friday, May 29, 2015

If Westpac decides to close its Ruatōria branch, locals will have to drive 200 kilometres to reach the nearest bank says FIRST Union President Syd Keepa.

“We’re standing with the affected workers and the local community to keep their bank branch open.”

“Westpac is the last bank on the rural East Coast. If the bean counters in Auckland or Sydney decide to close the branch then locals are left without banking options,” says Keepa.  

Government must not abandon health and safety reform

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015

While resistance in the National Party caucus delays the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid says there should be no health and safety law exceptions for small businesses and farmers.

“Some MPs within the National Party appear to be pushing to retain the status quo, the same status quo that led to workplace disasters like the Pike River Mine explosion”.

Companies must ensure they are not chartering slave ships – migrant workers’ advocate

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Companies who outsource their New Zealand quota catch to foreign fishing vessels must take more steps to ensure they are not enabling slave fishers says Union Network of Migrant (UNEMIG) workers’ advocate Dennis Maga. 

Recent research from Auckland University has revealed that slave fishing is still happening in New Zealand waters, years after the issue was first exposed.”

Budget 2015: Working people miss out - union

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Returning some of the income that was stolen from beneficiaries in National’s welfare cuts in 1991 is not an adequate way to address poverty or reduce inequality says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid. 

“The government’s decision to lift benefit levels for families receiving state support will mean nothing without stronger action on the housing crisis. Many families will see their extra support eaten up by rising rents”. 

Employer accreditation may not go far enough

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A group representing migrant workers is welcoming the government’s changes to Essential Skills visas, but concerns remain over the content of an accreditation scheme which aims to protect migrant workers against unscrupulous employers.

Lending restrictions leave workers with high housing costs

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FIRST Union is welcoming the Reserve Bank’s new lending restrictions for property investors in Auckland, but believes the Government should be doing more to address the multiple issues that feed into the problem of Auckland’s housing affordability.

“Slowing house price inflation won’t solve the problem for Auckland workers, many of whom are already struggling with the high cost of housing” says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

More work needed to protect migrant workers

Date of Release: 
Friday, May 8, 2015

The Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG) welcomes the Immigration Amendment Bill (No 2), but loopholes remain open that facilitate migrant worker exploitation, according to UNEMIG Migrant Workers’ Advocate Dennis Maga.

“There are positive changes in the amendment law, including increased penalties for exploitation, the power to deport exploitative employers holding residence visas, greater funding to tackle exploitation and removing the different penalties for exploitation of documented and undocumented migrants,” said Maga.

Classing kava as a drug is discriminatory - union

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

After failing to consult with unions or community groups, the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency will begin testing workers for kava use says FIRST Union organiser Jerome Mika.

“Goodman Fielder has advised FIRST Union members at Quality Bakers in Dunedin that the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency will begin testing for kava”.

“But kava should not be classed as a drug” says Mika.

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