The real heroes of the end to zero hours

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

On Thursday, March 10, the New Zealand parliament unanimously passed a law that will eliminate zero hour contracts for New Zealand workers.

Nearly every party represented in parliament is claiming victory. National claimed they are the ones to have introduced this law. Labour says it is their amendments that make it a reality. The Maori Party and United Future say that their withdrawal of support for the National draft forced this change. All of that is true.

But the true authors of this law are the thousands of members of Unite Union in the fast food industry who have been fighting insecure hours for a decade and who named and shamed fast food employers as users of zero-hour contracts.

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Unite targets fast food employers in Holiday Pay breach

Unite is writing to all the major fast food companies today to seek a reassurance they will now comply with the law.

We wrote to these companies almost a year ago seeking their cooperation in fixing what seemed an obvious problem.

They all tried to deny they were breaking the law.We also wrote to MBIE in July last year asking what their advice was to companies who used these type of calculations for annual leave.

Underpayment of workers’ holiday pay appears to be routine.

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Unite Union hails legal end to zero hour contracts

Unite Union has welcomed the legal end to zero-hour contracts in New Zealand.

This is a product of the successful campaign that Unite Union waged last year to end their use in the fast food industry.When we named the type of contracts these employers were using as zero hour contracts there was an immediate and overwhelming response from the public and sections of media.

When we named the type of contracts these employers were using as zero hour contracts there was an immediate and overwhelming response from the public and sections of media.

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Hotels booming

A recent report produced by Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIANZ) is predicting an explosion of work in the tourism and hospitality industries over the next decade. This is good news for workers as TIANZ estimates an extra 47,000 employees will be needed in this sector to service the expanding industry.

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Accor Hotels Unite Union bargaining team in this years negotiations

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Luxury Hotels exploiting workers through wage theft

By Shanna Reeder, National Hotels Organiser for Unite Union

Unite Union has been uncovering dodgy dealings in some of New Zealand’s most luxurious hotels.

For the past four years, Unite has been investigating a number of well-known hotel brands for a practice known as the "credit system," whereby hotel housekeepers (known these days as Room Attendants) are being paid per room.

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Government boasts of benefit theft

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

A government media release on January 21 boasted that:

Benefit numbers continue steady yearly decline. Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a benefit is continuing to decline year on year with a 2.5 percent drop in the number of people receiving a main benefit between December 2014 and December 2015. “The number of people receiving a main benefit has fallen by almost 7,800, or 2.5 percent in the last 12 months,” Mrs Tolley says.

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Make the minimum wage a living wage!

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

Today's announcement of a 50 cent increase in the minimum wage from April 1 will still mean workers unable to survive on a full-time wage and the state subsidising employers who pay low wages. 

Minimum wage announcements are an entirely political process.

The minimum wage is currently about 52% of the average wage. It reached this level under Labour in 2008 and has been maintained at that level by National.

The previous National government, however, increased the minimum only once in nine years and allowed it to decline to around one-third of the average wage.

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Too Lttle, Too Late

By Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

I have avoided having a crack at Andrew Little and the Labour Party’s campaign strategy until now as I thought he deserved the right to have a bit of time to establish himself and chart his own course. Too often the left-wing critics of the major parties sound like sloganeers rather than reasoned voices and I wanted to avoid that.

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Labour Party leader Andrew Little

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What can be done to fight inequality?

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

The explosion in information available about the extent of inequality in the world naturally raises the next question – what can be done to combat it.

The right wing appears to have given up the argument that this is simply the natural order of things that we all will benefit from eventually. The ‘trickle-down’ theories have simply been demolished by life.

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Inequality kills

Global inequality returned to the news this week with the release of an updated report by Oxfam to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos for the global elite. NZ Prime Minister John Key attended Davos this year and he described the experience as “like speed dating in first class.” Trade Minister Tim Grosser accompanied Key, no doubt to the deserved accolades of his big business masters for pimping the alleged “benefits” of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. 2500 bankers, corporate moguls and politicians discussed how to rule the world.

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