FIRST Union, New Zealand’s second largest private sector union, is going international with the launch of Samoa’s only private sector union, Samoa First Union.
“Samoa First Union is building on the legacy of former private sector unions like the old National Union of Workers,” says Samoa First Union co-ordinator Jerome Mika, “but our union differs because we have the benefit of support from an established union in New Zealand.”
“This means Samoa First Union will be sustainable.”
This morning’s leak of documents from the highly secretive Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations are a backdoor to widespread deregulation, according to FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“The documents demonstrate that the government is trying to lock New Zealanders out from deciding how services are regulated, including in FIRST Union’s coverage areas of finance and transport, as well as telecommunications, post and the professions.”
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 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.
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”.
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.
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.