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Work life survey: Ongoing worker dissatisfaction shows need for fundamental change

This year’s CTU work life survey shows the need for a fundamental overhaul of New Zealand’s employment framework says CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges.

The survey, which was answered by 1200 respondents, shows more than half reporting their income has not kept up with the cost of living in the last year, 52% stating their workload has got worse over the period, and 42.6% reporting lower job satisfaction.

The 2021 results largely mirror results from the 2020 and 2019 surveys.

Ansell-Bridges says there shouldn’t be a great deal of surprise at the results as there has been no significant change in New Zealand’s employment law for decades. “We’re still stuck with an individualised employment framework that was mostly devised in the 1990’s and that tilts the playing field against working people. Until that framework changes we’re not going to see people’s work lives get appreciably better.”

“The positive changes to employment law in the last three years have been a step in the right direction when we are many kilometers from where we need to be as a nation.”

“We are expecting the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements this year to help change that alongside equal pay settlements made under the new law. But unless these changes are done properly I don’t think we’ll see working people’s satisfaction improve.”

“Of course COVID-19 has had an impact, but the comments people have made on our annual survey make it pretty clear that this isn’t a pandemic-related one off problem. It is a systemic problem that needs a systemic answer.

“Good intentions are not enough to fix this, we need real and substantive change,” Ansell-Bridges said.

The 2021 Work Life Survey is here

The 2020 survey is here

The 2019 survey is here