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COVID-19: Essential workers need Fair Pay Agreements

The Council of Trade Unions is calling on employers and industry to continue to value those people who have done essential work during the level 4 lockdown.

“On the eve of entering level 3 I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge everyone who has been working during level 4; on behalf of all working kiwis I extend our sincerest gratitude,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.

There have been a lot of lessons learnt during the level 4 lockdown period. One of these lessons has been the reminder of how important all our essential workers are. Before the level 4 lockdown, many of these working people were almost invisible and too often taken for granted. But day-in and day-out, they have kept our communities going. Providing care and support to the vulnerable in the community, they’ve kept our essential food production and distribution in place, they‘ve kept our public transport going and they‘ve kept our public spaces secure and clean. The work these people do has certainly had a spotlight shone on it – many people are valuing this work in a new, enhanced way. This is the way it should be.”

“Valuing and appreciating these people and their work must continue. Ensuring that the people who do this work are paid a wage they can live on, have some certainty about training and development and are able to have some transparency across their particular industry. This can happen though the implementation of Fair Pay Agreements, for working people in occupations like cleaners, bus drivers, retail staff and security staff.”

“We have welcomed the Prime Ministers acknowledgment and gratitude towards essential workers. Now is the time to ensure that the recognition continues beyond the COVID-19 crisis and into a better New Zealand where working Kiwis are able to access Fair Pay Agreements,” Wagstaff said.