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Government ‘off to horrific start’ says unions

Union officials and opposition MPs at parliament

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions says a dark cloud has descended on New Zealand as the Fair Pay Agreement legislation begun to be repealed under urgency.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said the move is going to hurt hundreds of thousands of New Zealand’s most vulnerable workers.

“Not only will repealing FPAs hurt workers, but it could also violate our obligations under our trade agreements with other countries.”

Yesterday, the NZCTU hosted a day of action against the move, presenting the ‘Keep Fair Pay Agreements’ petition that has gathered nearly 15,000 signatures to MPs from the Labour and Green Parties.

The NZCTU also hosted a ‘Stand Up for Fair Pay’ event at Parliament, with working people and union leaders from across the country.

Wagstaff said Fair Pay Agreements represented the biggest step forward for workers in a generation.

“We are not going to sit on our hands while the Government takes this away. It is very disappointing that they continued to ignore advice from its own officials around Fair Pay Agreements.

“The most vulnerable parts of our workforce – women, Māori, Pasifika, and disabled workers are going to be disproportionately impacted by this move.

Wagstaff said the NZCTU action was followed by the ‘Our Future – Up In Smoke’ rally organised by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

 “This Government is off to a horrific start. Every policy they have up for repeal will do untold damage to marginalised Kiwis. We deserve better.”