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Union movement calls for more attention to those disproportionally affected by COVID

The Council of Trade Unions is concerned by some of the quarterly Labour Market Statistics released today and calls on the Government to do more to support working people, particularly Māori, Pasifika and women.

CTU Economist Andrea Black wants to see the Government do more. “These statistics show that the COVID wage subsidy has been successful in keeping people in work.”

“But as expected there are more people both unemployed and under-employed. It is important to note that within the headline data women – are disproportionally effected. While the unemployment rate overall is 5.3%; unpacked this is 4.8% for men and 5.8% for women. For underemployment – or underutilisation – while the overall rate is 13.2% for men it is 10.6% and for women it is 16.2%.”

“It is also important to note that even in good times the unemployment rates for Māori and Pasifika are higher than for Pakeha. This trend continues with Māori unemployment rate of 8.8% and Pasifika at 8.1%.”

“What is the Government doing to specifically target supporting Māori, Pasifika and women? The shovel ready projects need to both ensure that these groups have access to that employment as well as reconsider what is the key infrastructure for the economy and society.”

“The introduction of Fair Pay Agreements is part of the package of solutions which would assist in addressing this problem.”

“We want to see the Government invest resources into social infrastructure. Social infrastructure is the bedrock on which physical infrastructure and financial activity rests. Its focus is keeping us healthy, nurtured, and able to reach our potential as human beings. COVID-19 has exposed that our social infrastructure is as undervalued and in as poor repair as our physical infrastructure.”

“Women – particularly Māori and Pasifika women – are disproportionately represented in the provision of social infrastructure. For example, early childhood teachers, midwives, and care workers have been very clear they are more than ready to step up and provide more of this vital infrastructure. Further Government investment is critical.” Black said.