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Media Releases

Retail workers’ union unconvinced with government’s Easter trading proposals

Date of Release: 
Monday, August 24, 2015

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. 

Marsden Point oil refinery announces spectacular half-year result amid low wage offer

Date of Release: 
Thursday, August 20, 2015

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.

Industrial unrest spreads as Warehouse workers reject wage offer

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
  • Workers at the Warehouse Blenheim to strike after 30 cent wage offer
  • This follows a strike at the Warehouse Manukau on Thursday
  • More stores across the country to follow

Striking workers at the Warehouse Blenheim are calling on the company to live up to its own rhetoric and pay a decent wage, says FIRST Union organiser Dennis Maga.

Record turnout at Gisborne union meeting as workers commit to action

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
  • Workers sign a petition calling on Anne Tolley to oppose the Health and Safety Reform Bill
  • Workers commit to opposing the TPPA at Heipipi Park at 4.30pm today

After record turnout at an annual FIRST Union meeting, workers are making commitments to take action on several fronts says FIRST Union organiser Colleen Ryan.

After Blenheim, workers at the Warehouse New Lynn vote for strike action

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In a strike ballot held at 3pm today, workers at the Warehouse New Lynn have voted for strike action.

Workers will hit the picket line at approximately 3.30pm.

This follows strike action at the Warehouse Blenheim at midday today and the Warehouse Manukau last Thursday.

Further strikes are expected in the coming weeks. 

Workers at the Warehouse Manukau walk off the job in “wildcat” strike

Date of Release: 
Thursday, August 6, 2015

Union members at the Warehouse Manukau are undertaking a “wildcat” strike* after rejecting the company’s measly offer of a 30 cent wage increase, says FIRST Union organiser Dennis Maga.

“If workers accept the offer of a 30 cent wage increase then that would only lift the lowest pay rate to $15.32 - nowhere near the levels needed to support a family in Auckland.”

“Workers were so insulted with the 30 cent offer that they voted to undertake a wildcat strike,” says Maga.

Unemployment figures highlight “vulnerable” economy

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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.”

Watered down health and safety bill lets some small businesses off the hook

Date of Release: 
Friday, July 24, 2015

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.

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