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Media Releases

Employer greed, not worker laziness, driving record immigration numbers - union

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
A union representing working people in the wood industry is disputing Prime Minister John Key’s assertion that immigration is needed to fill jobs New Zealanders are too lazy to perform. 
“Employers who prefer migrant workers over local workers often do so out of greed,” said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“Everyone is entitled to work, but many employers know that competition between local workers and migrant workers helps keep wages low.”
“And sometimes it’s more brutal than that.

Easter Trading Bill: Government gives working people the middle finger

Date of Release: 
Monday, September 5, 2016

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill.

The Bill passed 62-59 as union officials and former heavyweight boxer David Tua looked on. The Bill’s passage came after a 5000-strong petition to Peter Dunne asking him to vote against the Bill, a 10,000-strong leaflet drop in his Ohariu electorate, an admission that Deputy Prime Minister Bill English opposes reform and opposition from a group of former All Blacks.

Ranfurly community to rally in support of Westpac workers

Date of Release: 
Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Ranfurly community will take a stand tomorrow afternoon against Westpac’s proposal to shut the town’s only bank.

“Westpac is consulting on a proposal to close 19 bank branches across the country, including the branch in Ranfurly,” said FIRST Union organiser Ken Young.

Staff submissions were submitted to Westpac on Wednesday. The bank is refusing to take community submissions.

“The Ranfurly community is going to send a message to Westpac and its management team. Small communities like Ranfurly need their bank branch.”

Unions deliver the truth to Wellington Council over bus contracts

Date of Release: 
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wellington Council have been misled regarding the effect of the newly introduced tendering process for buses, says one of the trade unions representing bus drivers.

NZ Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff delivered a letter to the Greater Wellington Regional Council today on behalf of the two bus drivers unions, Bus Drivers First and the Tramways Union, explaining the dangers of the competitive tendering process for bus services in South Auckland.

Retail workers union offers 11th hour solution on Easter trading

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The union representing working people in retail is calling on the Government to withdraw the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill and convene a cross-sector working group to develop Easter trading laws the country can agree on.

The move comes after mounting opposition including pleas from a group of former All Blacks, an admission that even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English opposes reform and a 10,000-strong leaflet drop by unions in the Ohariu electorate asking residents to sign a petition calling on Peter Dunne to withdraw his support. 

Poor migration laws and flawed tendering process a toxic mix for bus drivers - union

Date of Release: 
Monday, August 22, 2016

Bus drivers could be the latest victims of poor government migration policy says Rudd Hughes, spokesperson for the Bus Drivers First section of FIRST Union.

It was reported last Friday that Go Bus, the latest winner in Auckland Transport’s ‘race to the bottom’ tendering process for bus services, had approached Immigration New Zealand about the prospect of bringing working people from the Pacific Islands into the country and offering them jobs.

“But there’s no shortage of bus drivers in Auckland,” said Hughes.

Union calls on Dunedin New World to close North-South wage gap

Date of Release: 
Saturday, August 6, 2016

FIRST Union, the union representing working people in retail, is criticising Dunedin’s Centre City New World for keeping wages lower than equivalent stores in the North Island. 

“Foodstuffs stores in the South Island are paying their workforce up to $2 less per hour than workers in unionised stores in the North Island,” explained FIRST Union Dunedin organiser Shirley Walthew. 

Union members and their community supporters are picketing Centre City New World on Saturday from 11am to 1pm in an effort to highlight the wage gap.

Union pickets Foodstuff’s Christchurch headquarters after workers turn to charities for food

Date of Release: 
Friday, August 5, 2016

The union representing working people in Pak’n Save and New World stores is picketing Foodstuff’s South Island CEO Steve Anderson after learning that some South Island supermarket workers are turning to charities for help feeding their families.

FIRST Union national organiser Bill Bradford says Foodstuff’s store owners in the South Island run a business model that keeps wages and working conditions at a minimum.


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