E tū is annoyed by the deliberate misrepresentation of
collective bargaining in relation to Fair Pay Agreements by the New Zealand
Initiative (NZI), in a report they released today.
The report purports to make the case against the findings of
the Fair Pay Agreements Working Group, which was a group of union and business
representatives, academics and experts, chaired by former Prime Minister Jim
However, as meticulously detailed by the Council of Trade Unions, NZI has cherry-picked claims, ignored crucial evidence, and has not contributed constructively to the discussion on the issue.
E tū National Director of Campaigns Annie Newman said that
NZI had completely ignored the main issue.
“Tens of thousands of working New Zealanders are living in
poverty, working in industries where tendering processes mean a race to the
bottom on wages,” Annie says.
“Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards to make sure
that paying people poorly is not the way to be competitive. It really is as
simple as that.”
Annie pointed to the recent Care and Support (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement, which won equal pay for everyone in the industry.
“Carers in New Zealand won equal pay through an
industry-wide agreement, similar to a Fair Pay Agreement. It was negotiated by
unions, businesses, and government, and has lifted over 50,000 people off
“The facts are on our side – even the OECD now officially
acknowledges the importance of collective bargaining. International evidence is
clear that countries with mechanisms for industry-wide bargaining have better
social and economic outcomes.
“However, even when proper analysis is in our favour, the
most important thing for E tū members is that they are lifted out of poverty.
That means proper wages and conditions, which is exactly what Fair Pay
Agreements are all about.”
Annie says that people shouldn’t be tricked into thinking
the debate is about different interpretations of economic analysis.
“Our priority areas for Fair Pay Agreements are cleaning and
security, where it is blindingly obvious that we need better wages and
conditions. Any argument against that, especially one that offers no meaningful
solutions, doesn’t deserve the attention of New Zealand workers.”
Media enquires: Sam Gribben, 027 204 6329