Closing the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage

The unions and the broader labour movement need to set the goal of closing the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage.

The living wage is calculated in a particular way but has remained about two-thirds of the average wage.

The new living wage number of $21.15 is 66.8% of the average ordinary time wage for the December quarter 2018 of $31.63. This is useful for us as the CTU goal for the minimum wage is the same ie two-thirds of the average wage. That goal was also the official promise of the Labour Party in the past.

As the minimum wage gets closer to the living wage the goal of cementing in a living wage rate (or preferably the two-thirds of the average wage goal) to be written into our collective employment agreements becomes more realistic.

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Feeding the far right trolls

Here at Unite Union, we don't usually feed the trolls.

But when we do, we like to shove so much down their gullets that they can't cope.

Unite Support Admin vacancy in Auckland

Unite has a vacancy for a Support Administrator for our Auckland Office (Kingsland).

The position is permanent for 40 hours a week, although there is flexibility for reduced hours and date/times of work are negotiable.

The role is a vital aspect of our operation. You will be responsible for the logistical support for union organisers and delegates and effective and co-ordinating effective and timely responses to member enquiries responses.

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Resolution of Dispute with AHS

Resolution of dispute with AHS

Unite has been supporting a number of workers who have complained they have been underpaid, worked long hours and had inadequate breaks.

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New Zealand Labour News: November 2018

New Zealand Labour Letter is published as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.

A round of rolling national strikes by principals and primary teachers will hit the nation starting on November 12, announced the New Zealand Education Institute. The decision follows the rejection of a second offer by the Ministry of Education in late September and a national strike on August 15. "We're at crisis point for recruiting and retaining teachers in this country. I've had principal colleagues in tears with the stress of trying to ensure a teacher in every classroom. Meanwhile the huge workload and lack of resources for children with additional learning needs is driving teachers out of the profession," said NZEI Principals' lead negotiator Louise Green. She said the "unprecedented" level of industrial action underscores the severity of the nation's education crisis. NZEI President Lynda Stuart reported the union and the Secretary for Education have been in intensive talks facilitated by the Employment Relations Authority to reach an agreement before the strike deadline. Educators are asking for a significant raise of 16 per cent over two years, smaller classrooms and more resources for children with learning disabilities.

Striking primary school teachers and principals march in Hamilton as part of a nationwide strike.

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Migrant worker exploitation rampant across hospitality industry - Unite Union

A union representative says the hospitality industry is rife with exploitation after some workers complained they were treated "like slaves".

The hotel management students are cleaning rooms at a flash hotel and claim they've been underpaid, overworked and, if they complain, threatened with deportation.

The students paid up to $6000 each to Wellington company Internship New Zealand to come here to gain international experience.

They were then employed as housekeepers by cleaning company AHS, which services rooms at the Grand Mercure in Wellington.

The students told Newshub they had been forced to doctor time sheets so some of their hours are not being paid and had their wages unfairly docked.

Union Union general secretary Gerard Hehir told The AM Show he had heard many stories just like the ones the students told Newshub.

View full interview here

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'Treated like slaves': Overseas students claim they're underpaid, overworked, threatened

A group of overseas students, who paid thousands to come to New Zealand to complete internships, say they're being "treated like slaves".

The hotel management students are cleaning rooms at a flash hotel and claim they've been underpaid, overworked and, if they complain, threatened with deportation.

The students paid up to $6000 each to Wellington company Internship New Zealand to come here to gain international experience.

They were then employed as housekeepers by cleaning company AHS, which services rooms at the Grand Mercure in Wellington.

View Newshub video here

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Unite needs new Organisers

Unite has vacancies for a permanent  full and/or  part-time Organisers in the Auckland and Otago-Southalnd regions.

The successful applicant(s) will primarily be recruiting and organising workers in the Fast Food sector, although they may also be involved in other sectors that Unite represents from time to time.

We are looking for people with:

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Annual Leave: Time’s Up – Pay it back!

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

Hundreds of millions of dollars are owed to hundreds of thousands of workers and only the top 100 employers are being asked to fix the problem and pay it back.

This should not be acceptable. If it was a worker defrauding a boss or a beneficiary over claiming from WINZ they would be put in jail. This money was taken from workers by employers and or payroll providers who should have known better. When employers are told to pay it back they seem to think it is OK to negotiate how much they should pay back.

Unite National Director Mike Treen speaking to anti-zero hours strike in 2015

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How I got hijacked, kidnapped, tasered, cracked ribs and a fractured foot at the hands of the Israeli military in international waters

By Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union

The headline of this article tells the end of the story following an attempt by myself and others this past summer to take a Norwegian fishing boat loaded with medical supplies to the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The only problem we faced was that Israel has maintained an almost complete siege on that territory of two million people for over a decade. Israel allows nothing to go in or out without their authority. What goes in or out has been radically reduced and is often completely arbitrary – like all sieges.

As a consequence, Gaza is in a state of economic collapse with over 50% unemployment – the highest recorded rate in the world.

Gaza has become like an open-air prison for its two-million people. But in many areas the situation is worse for the people there. They cannot receive visitors. They can never leave. Medical treatment is denied.

The skyline of Gaza City from the beach in the Israeli kibbutz of Zikim

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