Today’s passing of the first reading of the bill to introduce Fair Pay Agreements is a big step forward for New Zealand workers, says CTU President Richard Wagstaff.
“This will make a real difference to Kiwi families. It will mean fairer pay and higher wages.
“New Zealand law has been out of step with the rest of the world for some time – we’re one of the only countries without some form of modern award system. That’s why you hear so much about our wages lagging behind the rest of the world – and especially Australia.
“This is especially true in some of the industries that have been so vital for helping get New Zealand through the pandemic – our essential workers, our cleaners, our bus drivers, our supermarket workers. These are vital industries where workers have been underpaid for too long.
“Tonight’s passage at first reading of a bill to bring Fair Pay Agreements into law is a big step towards putting this right.
“Fair pay agreements set a minimum floor for pay and conditions in an industry or occupation that can’t be undercut. It means workers still have their pay and conditions negotiated as they do now, but just like the minimum wage there is a level people can’t fall below.
“There will be those who oppose these changes because they don’t want to see Kiwis paid more for the work that they do. But we’ve seen where that view gets us – Kiwis working longer hours just to stand still. We know that is a dead-end for workers and for our economy. With Fair Pay Agreements, Kiwi families can start getting ahead.
“This is a much needed improvement to our economy and will start New Zealand on a journey towards higher wages and more workers being paid fairly for the work they do,” says Richard Wagstaff.