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Unions call on government to improve work lives

The Council of Trade Unions wants the government to do more to improve working lives for New Zealanders.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff will tonight address Minister of Workplace Relations Michael Wood, other Labour and Green Party Members of Parliament, union members, union officials and media about the need to make work better. “We have an opportunity in the aftermath of COVID, to build back better, to make New Zealand a better place to live and work. Better work includes the passing of laws to provide for Fair Pay Agreements and safer sick leave,” Wagstaff said. 

Rosalina “Rosey” Ngakopu works as a security guard, and is an E tū union delegate, and she is a passionate advocate for Fair Pay Agreements and the Living Wage. Rosey wants to see real progress made towards securing Fair Pay Agreements. “I would like the government to understand that they need to protect essential workers like myself, so we can perform our duties safely. We need a FPA in the Security Industry so that we have safer working conditions and standards for us to follow and uphold.”

Megan White works as a head teacher in early childhood education and is an NZEI member. “As early childhood teachers, we have big hearts. COVID-19 has highlighted our value and also shown how working conditions like sick leave and pay, effect the wellbeing of whole communities, right down to our youngest people. Right now, low pay and a race to the bottom with conditions in most of the early childhood sector is causing teachers to leave. The teacher shortage is at crisis levels. All children deserve quality early childhood education, and that means keeping and attracting great teachers with decent pay and conditions.”

Malia Motusaga, an E tū member, works as a commercial cleaner in core government buildings, “It is important that we get to talk to government, so they know how hard it is for us and our fanau. The extra five days will benefit me and my kids – now I know that if I get sick, I will be able to stay home, and if any of my kids or my husband are sick, I can look after them, too. I feel really good about it.”