By John Ryall, former Assistant National Secretary of E tū
On 1 July this year 8000 security workers will be added to
the list of “vulnerable” workers who are guaranteed protection from job loss or
reduction in employment conditions during a change of contractor.
The protection is contained in Subpart 1 or Part 6A of the
Employment Relations Act, with the list of applicable workers contained in
The introduction of Part 6A and its continuation through
hostile governments has been a tribute to the organisation of workers covered
by its provisions and their unions, predominantly E tū and its predecessor
Service and Food Workers Union.
Sub-contracting represents one of the oldest forms of
capitalist exploitation and socially vulnerable groups have historically been
engaged in forms of insecure employment. However, in New Zealand that was
moderated for nearly a century by a well-regulated labour relations system that
extended the rights to minimum wages, leave, hours of work and other conditions
to the whole of an occupational or industry workforce.
Businesses were not incentivised to contract out the whole
or part of their workforce because any contractor would have to employ their
workforce on the same minimum terms and conditions of employment as the
However, in the late 1980s there was increasing pressure
from right-wing lobby groups to free employers from this sort of regulation
based on a convenient theory that successful businesses should only focus on
what they were good at.
According to this theory healthcare facilities should only
employ doctors, nurses and other clinicians as these were the core workers.
Every other healthcare worker, such as food services workers, laundry workers,
cleaners, orderlies and security workers were part of the non-core workforce and
their work could be more efficiently carried out by companies that specialised
in delivering this service.
Through competitive tendering the healthcare business could force
the price of non-core services down and maintain this downward trend during
every tendering cycle.
It was great for the healthcare business but miserable for
workers employed by the contracting companies.
The non-core service workers, including cleaners,
experienced loss of jobs and employment conditions every time a contractor
changed and even after the change constant pressure to reduce their conditions
down to the statutory minimum code.
There was no legal requirement for a successful contractor
to offer the current cleaners work or if they did offer them work to continue
any of their employment conditions. Once contracted out under this regime they
effectively became fixed-term employees.
At common law the transfer of a business or part of a
business involving a change of employer meant that employment with the original
employer (the transferor) came to an end, and that if the individual’s
employment was to continue with the new employer (the transferee), a new
employment agreement had to be concluded. The common law upheld the principle
of freedom of contract, only binding parties that have voluntarily agreed to be
bound by such a contract.
In the 1990s New Zealand was one of the few countries that
had made no legislative inroads into this principle in respect to transfers of
SFWU Contract Workers Campaign
In 1996 SFWU Legal Officer Luci Highfield wrote a paper on
the union’s experience of contract labour issues in preparation for a 1997
International Labour Organisation Conference discussion.
This paper set out the difficulties the union had
experienced since 1991 in relation to contracting out of services in public
hospitals and the subsequent changes of contract and sub-contracting in
schools, tertiary institutions and airports.
The paper described the difficulties faced by workers when second
or third generation contracts are entered into:
The major difficulty with this type of job contracting is
that while the user enterprise sits in a position of power, influence and
direct control over the contractor and the workers, there is no easily
identifiable nor enforceable legal obligations arising between the user
enterprise and the workers or their union. There is no employment relationship
between the workers and the user enterprise, and thus no obligations of
bargaining, fair dealing, information disclosure, consultation and so on, that
The work that Luci Highfield had been doing and the tsunami
of contracting out in cleaning and catering strengthened the ties of the
Service and Food Workers Union with the large Service Employees International
Union (SEIU) in the United States and their exciting Justice for Janitors campaign.
Justice for Janitors was a campaign to actively organise cleaners in
major US cities through forming community and political coalitions to put
pressure on building owners to commit to minimum employment conditions for
cleaners in their tendering processes.
SFWU National Secretary Darien Fenton had also attended the
1998 and 1999 ILO Conferences, where the attempt to get a convention or
recommendation on contract labour failed.
In 1998 the SFWU analysed its own membership and potential
membership and noticed a growing percentage of the union was now employed by
contractors. For instance, few cleaners and catering workers in public
hospitals were directly employed and the large contracting companies they
worked for (such as P&O Services, Spotless and QSE) had different
employment conditions depending on industry and locality.
In 1998 the SFWU launched a campaign called Contract
Workers Count! whose goals were to strengthen union organisation amongst
contract workers, build membership participation and leadership, raise public
support and introduce legislation to protect workers during changes of contract.
The SFWU allocated funding for a five-year campaign and
employed Annie Newman as the campaign co-ordinator.
Out of the Starting Blocks
Contract Workers Count! was a significant turning
point for the SFWU, which had deliberately adopted a very localised survival
strategy since the 1991 Employment Contracts Act. This was the first initiative
in which the union was taking a national approach, and in some ways a global approach,
There were multiple employment issues for cleaners across
commercial buildings, in schools, in universities, in aged care and in public
However, the big issue was the lack of power that the
members faced through their employment by contractors or sub-contractors and
the constant threats that if union members increased wage rates they would lose
their jobs to a lower-priced competitor.
Contract Workers Count! was great for building the
confidence of SFWU membership employed by contractors that change was possible providing
they told their stories, became active and argued for that change.
The campaign featured the union taking a stronger position
with the renewal of the national cleaning multi-employer agreement with pickets
outside major buildings in Wellington and Auckland calling for greater job
security for cleaners.
These pickets included church ministers, local and national
politicians, and families of the cleaners under the banner Let Us Plan Our
Lives – Justice for Cleaners.
The key union demands were for the cleaning contractors to
agree to the same rate as directly employed school cleaners and the retention
of cleaners’ jobs and employment conditions during contract changes. While the
cleaning companies did not concede to either demand the cleaners’ action drew
wider community and political support for change.
Part of the campaign was a photographic exhibition featuring
the stories and lives of six cleaners, called For the Love of the People. The
photographs were taken by Massey University students and the exhibition was
shown in Wellington and Auckland in 1999 leading up to that year’s general
Featured in the exhibition were Lalopua Sanele, Paula
Atatagi, Olive Harding, Hagavave Kato Amosa, Hinetemoa Kahu and Bill Herbert,
all Wellington cleaning activists.
Labour and Green members of parliament were invited to each
of the exhibitions, to listen to presentations from the cleaners and to commit
in government to changing the law to protect the jobs and employment conditions
of cleaners during contract changes.
Lalopua Sanele, one of the cleaners in the exhibition, said:
If a new company takes over the contract they want to
reduce hours and give us more work. All they want from us is to make a profit.
They don’t even care how hard we work or if we argue that it’s not good enough
and the area can’t be cleaned – they expect us to do it.
1999 General Election Commitment
The SFWU, as a Labour Party affiliate, had been arguing for
Labour to adopt a manifesto commitment for the security of employment for
workers employed by contractors and with the increased activity by cleaners and
other workers a policy was launched leading up to the 1999 general election.
The policy said:
Labour is of the view that where a business or parts of a
business are transferred to a new owner, the original employees have a right to
be employed on terms and conditions no less favourable than those applying
before the transfer, and their service should be deemed to be continuous. In
this situation workers should only be made redundant for the same reasons that
would have applied if the business had not changed hands. The rights of
employees whose work is contracted out are also adequately protected under
current law and will be improved.
A Labour-Alliance Coalition Government was elected and the
introduction of the Employment Relations Bill, to replace the hated Employment
Contracts Act, occurred soon after this.
Clause 66 of the Employment Relations Bill, under a heading Continuity
of Employment, was inserted in a muddled attempt to carry out the manifesto
commitment without interfering with the common law right to contract.
Clause 66 deemed a collective agreement to contain a
provision that required an employer to continue to employ an employee who is
bound by that agreement and employed by the employer during the whole period
the collective agreement was in force and during the period in which the
collective agreement is enforceable by a union. However, clause 66 also allowed
the union and employer to vary this commitment and made it clear that it did
not interfere with dismissals for just cause.
Both employers and unions disagreed with this clause for
different reasons. During the second reading of the bill the Green Party put
forward a Supplementary Order Paper that set out a targeted provision
protecting the job security and employment conditions of workers in contracting
out situations, but this was not supported by Labour or the Alliance and not included
in the Act.
The SFWU leadership held a last minute meeting with Alliance
Leader Jim Anderton, Alliance MP Laila Harre and Alliance President Matt
McCarten to resurrect something out of clause 66, but it was too late.
While Clause 66 was removed from the legislation, the
Government responded by inserting in the Act Section 54(3)(a)(ii) requiring
every collective agreement to contain a clause setting out the rights and
obligations of the employees and the employer if the work of any of the
employees were to be contracted out or the business or part of the business of
the employer concerned were to be transferred or sold. It also committed to
setting up an advisory group to assess whether existing provisions were
adequate and to honour its 1999 manifesto undertaking by addressing the issue
in its second term.
Advisory Groups Set Up
The first of the Government advisory groups, chaired by
Nigel Haworth, was set up in December 2000 and contained representatives of the
NZ Council of Trade Unions (Luci Highfield and Peter Conway), the NZ Employers
Federation as well as nominees of Maori, Pasifika and the State Services
The SFWU made a powerful submission to the advisory group focussing
on its cleaning and catering membership. Food service worker Fia Mika said:
I’ve been working in this hospital kitchen for 11 years
and we have been contracted four times. In August 1998 Spotless took over and
this place was turned into a war zone. Spotless tried hard to reduce the number
of staff and reduce the hours. They expect people to work long hours with no
extra pay. To work faster like machines. They tried to get rid of permanent
staff and employ more casuals. They want the workplace run by casuals. They
never appreciate the work we do.
The final advisory group report was presented in April 2001
and identified six options around the protection of employees’ terms and
conditions of employment in the event of sale or transfer of a business or
contracting of the employees’ work. They varied from taking no action through
to implementing a comprehensive right for all New Zealand workers based on the
European Union Acquired Rights Directive.
The advisory group, with the exception of the NZ Employers
Federation, accepted the need for legislative intervention to provide
protection for workers in cases of contracting out or sale or transfer of a business.
With the important exception of the employer party, the
Group reached the view that there was prima facie evidence of the need to
provide further protection, particularly for vulnerable members of the
workforce. This view strongly supported the introduction of a comprehensive
measure that would guarantee the continuation of employment and established
wages and conditions of work through the processes of contracting out or the
sale or transfer of a business.
The advisory group was generally supportive of a model based
on the European Union Acquired Rights Directive. However, they noted that more
work needed to be done on this to fit New Zealand circumstances.
Soon after receiving the advisory group report the Minister
of Labour set up a smaller group to undertake technical development work on the
options for change, the likely impact of each of the options and to make
recommendations. The group was made up of Nigel Haworth (chair), with
representatives of the NZCTU, Business NZ and lawyer Denis Clifford.
The NZCTU tabled a draft transfer clause with wide coverage
applying to a range of transfer situations, requiring the employment of all
workers on their existing terms and conditions of employment at the point of
This draft clause was used by the Group to consult widely
around New Zealand with meetings held in all the main centres. The union and
worker submissions were dominated by Service and Food Workers Union members
employed as cleaners, food service workers and hospital orderlies, all of whom
had lost their jobs or employment conditions during changes of contract.
Business NZ remained staunchly opposed to any legislative
intervention, recommending that a further period of time should be spent
monitoring the good faith outcomes in the Employment Relations Act and the
development of best practice guidelines for both employers and workers.
As a result of the consideration given to the submissions
the NZCTU representatives proposed a strategy that included immediate
legislative intervention targeted to transfers occurring in and around the same
premises and/or involving defined occupational groups as a first step. The
second step would involve further technical development and research with a
view to introducing a generic provision at a later date.
While this was a change in the union position, it was also accompanied
by a proposal to introduce a requirement for all collective agreements to have
a scale of redundancy compensation and for a regulation to apply in the state
sector to set specific rules in relation to procurement, sale, transfer and
contracting out of work.
This strategy was included in the Group’s November 2001
Report along with draft legislation.
The SFWU continued to maintain dialogue with the Minister of
Labour Margaret Wilson during the remainder of 2001 and in 2002 about the
urgency of acting on legislation.
SFWU members visited nearly every Labour MP to explain the
urgency of acting on legislative change.
In July 2002 the union wrote to Margaret Wilson outlining
the ongoing problems for SFWU members associated with changes of contract at
Christchurch Hospital, Northland Health and Press House in Wellington. In all these
situations SFWU members had either lost their jobs, had their hours reduced or
lost employment conditions as a result of the changes of contract.
The union also wrote to other cabinet ministers detailing
cleaning contracts that were being tendered in government departments that contained
no requirement to transfer the cleaners’ jobs or employment conditions.
Labour’s 2002 Election manifesto continued its commitment to
a comprehensive solution despite the debate shifting to a more specific
immediate legislative intervention:
As a matter of priority, introduce a comprehensive
measure (based on the work of the Ministerial Advisory Group) including
legislative intervention to ensure there is a protection of employment
conditions and continuity of employment in the event of the sale of business,
transfer of undertakings, or contracting out.
On 5 September 2002 the NZCTU and SFWU representatives met
with the Minister of Labour and her departmental advisers to discuss progress.
The debate between the generic provision and various targeted provisions
(including a new one that would only apply to employers in receipt of public
funds) was still ongoing and there did not seem to be any end in sight.
The union objective was a comprehensive provision, but union
representatives were prepared to deal with the most vulnerable groups first,
given that most of the running on this legislation had been done by the SFWU
and its active groups of cleaners and catering workers.
The meetings between the NZCTU, the SFWU, the Minister of
Labour and departmental officials continued through the last few months of 2002
mainly focussed on the “unforeseen consequences” of a generic comprehensive
In November 2002 the Minister of Health Annette King, in her
letter of expectations to District Health Boards, tried to address the issues
DHBs when contracting out services will ensure that all
staff that wish to be transferred to the contractor are transferred and are
appropriately protected. That is, staff transferring to the new employer will
retain, for a defined period, the same terms and conditions of employment,
including continuity of service, as those prevailing immediately prior to the
At the beginning of 2003 further problems emerged between
the union expectations and those of the Labour Department officials.
The NZCTU was advised by the Labour Department that there
were technical issues with including “succession to contract” (when one
contractor replaces another) provisions in the new law. The Department’s
argument was that there was no legal transaction directly between the
contracting employer who loses the contract and the employer that wins the
contract. They also indicated that the Government was reluctant to interfere
with the competitive tendering process across the whole economy.
The NZCTU and the SFWU proposed that “succession to
contract” become a targeted provision in circumstances where there is a change
of employer providing cleaning, catering, caretaking, laundry and security work
and where that work continues to be performed on or around the premises.
The SFWU, which had been driving the campaign around
legislative change, was particularly incensed about excluding “succession to
contract” situations, as in the cleaning and catering sectors this was the most
common change that occurred.
The SFWU knew, from experience, that if successor contracts
were excluded then there would be no effective protection for its membership.
The union argued with departmental officials that including successor
contractors would not spell the end of competitive tendering, which had
regularly occurred even under the national awards system in the 1980s. It was
simply a protection for the lowest paid workers, whose lives were thrown upside
down every time a contract changed.
The SFWU continued to send the Minister of Labour examples
of business restructuring and contract change. One of these was the sale of
Taranaki’s Heatherlea Rest Home. The rest home workers, including cleaners,
laundry workers, catering workers and caregivers, were all given notice and
told that if they wanted to continue to be employed by the new owner they would
need to apply for their jobs and accept lesser conditions.
The Labour Department officials had explored an option of
succession to contract protections being done by administrative procedures
rather than legislation, pointing to the letter of expectations from the
Minister of Health to DHBs.
The SFWU rejected this approach pointing out that many DHBs
had ignored the Minister’s direction or argued that they could not fulfil the
direction because they had no control over what a contractor did with their
employees or potential employees.
The SFWU took a test case to the Employment Court in 2003 to
ascertain the obligations required under section 54(3)(a)(ii) of the Employment
Relations Act, which had been inserted in 2000 as part of the answer to
protecting workers in the case of contracting.
In its September 2003 decision the full bench of the
Employment Court found that even though the Act required a provision in each
employment agreement to protect workers in the case of contracting out this provision
did not require there to be a guarantee of transfer or the retention of
existing terms and conditions of employment.
The Court had established what the SFWU already knew – there
needed to be stronger provisions for workers vulnerable to contracting out and
regular changes of contract.
In October 2003 further large cleaning contract changes took
place at Auckland University and Hutt Valley’s Weltech that saw nearly 100
cleaners lose employment conditions and in the case of the two Weltech union
delegates Keri Lauina and Sharon Herekiuha, lose their jobs.
Legislative Change at Last
The pressure was on for legislative change and in November
2003 Cabinet approved legislation to be developed that focussed on strong
provisions for “vulnerable” workers and lesser provisions for other workers.
Vulnerable workers were those who worked in labour-intensive
lower paid work with little bargaining power, where change of employer
situations was commonplace in their sector and where this led to the
undermining of employment conditions.
Vulnerable workers would be included in a schedule, which
could be added to by Order-in-Council.
The cabinet decision was a tribute to the SFWU and its
Contract Labour Campaign. All of the listed vulnerable workers, such as
cleaners, catering workers, orderlies, caretakers and laundry workers, were
workers the SFWU organised.
The legislative amendments were part of an Employment
Relations Amendment Bill, that went through the parliamentary process and was
opposed by most employers and supported by affected workers and their unions.
The provision was contained in a new Part 6A – Continuity
of Employment if Employers Business Restructured of the Employment
Relations Act and came into effect on 1 December 2004 along with a similar
provision covering all workers in the Public Health Sector.
Part 6A changed the lives of thousands of cleaners and other
vulnerable workers in guaranteeing their jobs and employment conditions during
Part 6A was amended in 2006 following the Employment Court
finding that the wording of the statute did not protect workers involved in
contract succession situations. The amendment, for the first time, set out
examples of business restructuring to make it clear how the law would be
applied in each situation. It also committed, at the insistence of NZ First, to
a review of Part A after three years to assess whether it was meeting its
Cementing in the Gains
While contractors were opposed to Part 6A the large ones
quickly adapted to the new rights that the workers had been given and tried to
work with the legislation.
Issues arose when tenders for some buildings were split in
half cutting the cleaners’ jobs between two contractors but given that many
cleaners had more than one part-time job, these issues were soon sorted.
Franchising companies bidding for small cleaning contracts
were a headache for the union as they usually handed these on to tiny
family-based franchisees, who then found out that in addition to a fat fee to
be paid to the franchise company they were required to pick up the employment
of one or two existing cleaners.
The SFWU had also moved to cement in the Part 6A gains
through working with the Labour Coalition Government, the Property Council and
the cleaning industry employers’ body (Building Service Contractors of NZ) to
adopt a regime for minimum standards in the cleaning industry.
In April 2008 all the parties signed up to the Principles
for a Sustainable Property Services Industry, which was later incorporated
as a minimum document for government procurement of cleaning services. It
committed all cleaning companies bidding for government contracts to pay rates
in line with the national cleaning multi-employer collective agreement, to
promote collective bargaining, to recognise the union and to be a member of the
The election of a National-led Government in 2008 did not
immediately lead to any changes to Part 6A but during its first term a lobby
started to develop led by Crest Cleaning, a cleaning franchise company that was
starting to make inroads into school cleaning.
Reviewing Part 6A
The Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson in 2009 set up a
Ministerial Review Committee to carry out the statutory review of Part 6A as
required by the 2006 legislative amendments. The Review Committee received 146
written submissions and concluded that the legislation was working as intended
although identified some problems with the transfer of costs for annual and
long-service leave between employers during transfers. The employer
representatives on the review committee agreed with the findings and felt that
the legislation had provided more stability in the cleaning sector, where most
contract changes occurred.
The Ministerial Review Committee also made the following
- Industries with low-skilled and low-paid
employees can benefit when wages and employee conditions are excluded from the
contest for contracts and competition is instead focused on management,
technical innovation and investment,
- Continuity of employment protection in
labour-intensive industries with high employee turnover can improve workplace
stability and productivity, and
- Broad socio-economic benefits can be achieved
through improving the job security and workplace stability of employees who
lack scarce skills and who are at risk to unemployment and related negative
The Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson received the Labour
Department Review Report without comment and in May 2011 told me in a
discussion at the ILO Conference, that she had no intention of making any amendments
to Part 6A that would undermine the workforce.
However, in late 2011 she ordered another report by the
Sapere Research Group, a consulting agency that had links to ex-Treasury
Secretary and ACT candidate Graham Scott. Her instructions were for Sapere to
undertake a cost benefit analysis of the provisions of Subpart 1 of Part 6A to
provide guidance on possible amendments.
While the appointment of the Sapere Group review was
welcomed by Crest Cleaning its report, delivered in April 2012, largely came to
the same conclusion as the Ministerial Review. Sapere concluded that in a
national sense both the Part 6A benefits and costs were small, although for the
vulnerable workers affected the key benefit of providing greater employment
certainty was huge.
The Sapere Report examined whether Subpart 1 of Part 6A
should be restricted just to large employers and concluded:
In light of what we have heard from interviews and found
in our subsequent analysis, it seems likely that restricting the special
protections to only large employers would be counter-productive and lead to
even more perverse outcomes than the current arrangements. This is because it
would result in transfer situations where one party had to be compliant and the
other did not, leading in all likelihood to a breakdown in the exercising of
the provisions at all.
The Labour Department agreed with this conclusion:
The Department concurs with this analysis…. Applying Part
6A of the Act to all businesses would provide more scope for improvement. Applying
Part 6A of the Act to all businesses would ensure that all contractors were
competing on an equal footing during a tendering situation.
Despite the departmental advice a nasty ongoing campaign by
Crest Cleaning and the Whaleoil blog site was moving the Minister of Labour to
insist that small contractors be exempt from the transfer provisions of Part
Amendments to Part 6A
When the amendments to Part 6A, to allow exemptions for
employers of under 20 employees, were introduced in 2013 the bill came with a
Regulatory Impact Statement noting that one of the detrimental effects of
exempting small employers from certain parts of Part 6A was “a gradual
reduction in overall level of employee entitlements, as work shifts from a big
employer to a small employer, who is able to reduce entitlements, then to a big
employer who upholds the reduction.
The SFWU fought hard against the amendment bill and won
support from newspaper editorials, from faith-based organisations and even from
the Building Service Contractors of New Zealand.
The BSCNZ submitted to the Parliamentary Transport and
Industrial Relations Select Committee considering the bill:
We submit that if Part 6A is to remain, then the “exempt
employer” regime ought to be deleted, preserving the level playing field that
exists now. To exempt small to medium sized incoming employer contractors from
this regime, on the basis of what appears to be an arbitrary number (20
employees), would completely undermine the purpose of Part 6A, and would
substantially impact on the rights and obligations of all other participants
Despite the opposition the amendments to Part 6A were
passed. The new regime included exemptions from transfer obligations for small
employers although these were heavily prescribed with an “associated persons”
test to prevent large franchise companies arguing that because they only
employed (other than through their franchisees) less than 19 cleaners that they
The amendments also set up a stronger regime of legal
warranties between incoming and outgoing contractors so that the costs of
transferred annual leave and other matters could be resolved between the
parties. The SFWU supported these changes.
The 2013 amendments also changed the way by which new groups
of vulnerable workers could be added to the list in Schedule 1A from an
Order-in-Council process to a legislative amendment in parliament. The SFWU at
the time supported this because of the difficulties this would pose for a
National Government deciding to get rid of any groups in the list.
Security Officers on the Agenda
The exemption regime lasted until the election of a Labour
Coalition Government in 2017, when the 2013 exemptions were repealed and the
processes for adding new groups of vulnerable workers to the Schedule 1A list
resorted to Order-in-Council.
Soon after the legislation was passed E tū (having been
formed from the SFWU in 2015) began work on adding security officers to the
Schedule 1A list.
In the 14 years since Part 6A was introduced into the Employment
Relations Act there had been only one other group that had attempted to be
added to Schedule 1A. This group was workers who worked for the Wellington
Regional Council water services, who were rejected after a long and complicated
The union application for security officers to be covered
followed the criteria set out in the Employment Relations Act as to who was a
vulnerable worker, but also had to contend with the opposition from some
security employers and concern from others that the definition of security
officers might stretch too wide.
Coupled with the difficulties of getting through any
worker-friendly measures in the 2017-20 Coalition Government and the Covid-19
pandemic, it took nearly two years before it was finally announced in March
Part 6A certainly changed the lives and extended the rights
of thousands of workers who between 1991 and 2004, in the words of E tū
Kenepuru Hospital food services delegate Maria Churms, “were thrown around like
clothes in a washing machine during contract changes”.
Part 6A has survived because it targeted workers that
carried out hard invisible work, but when they stepped forward and told their
stories, most New Zealanders were sympathetic to their issues.
I was told by one ex-Minister of Labour that he likes to
fight for legislation that is going to resolve a problem or injustice that is
real and not just imagined. He reminded me of a visit I had arranged with him
to meet a group of cleaners. Listening to their heart wrenching personal
stories about contract changes had stuck forever in his mind. He was committed
to Part 6A as a real measure that was going to address a real problem for real
The aim of the union movement with the 1999 Labour-Alliance
Government was to get a broad European-type right for job transfer for all
workers whether low paid or highly paid.
However, with only the SFWU visibly campaigning for change
when the pressure came on a targeted provision succeeded where the general
That it has survived for 17 years through both Labour and
National coalition governments is a tribute to its broad based support and the ongoing
activity and visibility of the workers who are affected.
The addition of security officers is another step towards
widening the coverage and including another group of workers, who in the last
five years have found their voice.