Workers out of pocket due to decades of poor govt policy - CTU

Major structural changes to the economy have left workers out of pocket and changes are needed to address the imbalance, the Council of Trade Union (CTU) says following the release of a new Productivity Commission report.

"Labour share of income - the proportion of the total income of a country that goes to working people as distinct from the owners of capital - has been dropping for decades as a direct result of government decisions," CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg says.

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Unite Union calls for the end of Oil and Gas Exploration in NZ

Leaders from across different sectors and walks of life have signed on to the Open Letter

Unite Union is proud to have signed an important and powerful letter to our Prime Minister calling for an end to oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.

The signatories on the Greenpeace-led letter include the Public Service Association, the New Zealand Medical Association, Unite Union, the Public Health Association and Forest and Bird.

We hope that other Unions will join us in calling on the government to follow up on their pre-election comments that climate change is our "nuclear free moment." Unfortunately they have not confirmed an end to exploring for fossil fuels, which need to be left in the ground.

It is ridiculous that the new government plans to use our money to plant a billion (mostly) pine trees whilst continuing to financially support the digging up of fossil fuels. Our government should be supporting workers transitioning to decent, well paid, environmentally and socially positive livelihoods instead.

Here is the full letter

Gary Cranston

Fast Food Lead Organiser, Auckland and Northland

Climate justice spokesperson


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Unionised fast food workers celebrate new minimum wage "plus" increases

Hi to all Unite Union members at McDonald's, Restaurant Brands, BK and Wendy's.

On April 1 this year the minimum wage will go up 75 cents to $16.50 an hour.

For McDonald's and Restaurant Brands workers, their rates will increase another 10 cents an hour on top of that to make an 85 cent increase. We negotiated a ten cents an hour increase above the minimum last year as well, which means the start rate at McDonald's and Restaurant Brand's will move to $16.70 an hour.

We are close to finishing negotiation for Wendy's and BK workers and both companies have promised to start their start at 10 cents above the minimum each year as well.

Unite strikes from 2013 part of a long campaign to boost wages in the fast food industry.

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What is special about March 8th?

On March 8th every year we celebrate

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UPDATE: Unite Union members to Rally for Climate Justice 🌪 Stop the Oil Summit

On 27 March 2018 the oil and gas industry is holding its annual business conference. Government ministers are lobbied, businesses network and oil and gas exploration permits are announced. Even though the global oil industry can’t use the oil we already know about without pushing the planet's atmosphere into runaway climate chaos.


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No more prisons – find another way!

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The fact that half the prison population in New Zealand is Maori is simply a national scandal that must be ended.

Many Maori are in prison for being poor ie unable to pay fines the wealthy have no trouble paying or victims of laws that shouldn’t be there in the first place like those criminalising cannabis possession.

It simply a fact that Maori are subject to racist discrimination at every stage of the so-called justice system. You are more likely to be stopped in the street if you are brown, more likely to be arrested once stopped, more likely to face more serious charges if prosecuted, more likely to have no legal representation if in court, more likely to be convicted, more likely to be imprisoned, more likely to receive a lengthy sentence.

Graphic from three years ago. The prison population has continued its relentless rise since then to over 10,000 today.

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Chinese Students demand action on latest school scandal

Media Release - Migrant Workers Association

Justice for Chinese students- Migrant Lives Matter

Meeting at UNITE Union headquarters 7:00pm this Thursday and protest 2:00pm Friday at 280 Queen St called by the Migrant Workers Association.

A group of Chinese Students are demanding that the government help them after NZQA have closed their school and discovered that the owner has stolen most of their money. The students, who have been told by NZQA that despite paying $14,000 and spending a year studying in New Zealand that their qualifications will not be issued and that NZQA cannot transfer them to another school.

Chinese students are the latest victims of the profit-driven "export education" sector. Better protections are needed.


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Labour law changes and Unite's achievements

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

I am pleased about the government’s proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act.
These initial changes are mostly just reversing the reductions in rights for workers and unions made by the previous National government.

While these changes will make the unions job a little bit easier it will not significantly enhance workers power.
Changes that could potentially do that are planned for later this year and next year. The Labour Party has promised to reinstate the ability of unions to negotiate to end wage inequality for women and is looking at mechanisms to have minimum standards established for whole industries that have in the past ceased to be covered by union collective agreements. These are also potentially much more expensive and will threaten the “fiscal responsibility” rules the government has imposed on itself.

Unite launched the SupersizMyPay.Com campaign in 2003 for what was dubbed the "Unite Combo": Minimum wage increases, ending youth rates and secure hours. 

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Are things getting overheated at work?

With more very hot weather on the way, here are some suggestions for things Unite members (whether staff or managers) can do if your workplace gets overheated.

If the air conditioning isn't working properly or the temperatures in your workplace are making you or the employees you supervise feel overheated, nauseous, dizzy, stressed, or so sweaty that you could drop something, then escalate it as a health and safety risk through your health and safe system and management/union

How hot is dangerous?

There is no specific temperature that is dangerous - as it can depend on how long you have to work at the temperature and different people have different tolerances to high heat. However, sustained temperatures above 30 degrees celsius will be a health risk to most people.

This is especially important if you or those you supervise are doing physical work or working with equipment that gives out heat, like cookers and gas stations; or if you have a condition that may make you more susceptible to heat. Fainting is common when people get overheated and is a severe risk for injury from resulting falls.

Prevention always best

The key is to deal with the problem before people start feeling unwell.

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Combating child poverty - we can afford it!

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The government has opened or will be opening, some doors that will enable unions and other progressive movements to push for far more than is currently being offered.

The decision by the parties making up this government, Labour, NZ First and the Greens to adhere to a position of “fiscal responsibility” means that there will not be any new taxes imposed on the very wealthy for at least three years. The government is also committed to steadily paying off the existing government debt.

This means that the money available to the government to spend is not that much different to what would have been available to the previous National government. This means that very little can be done to fundamentally change the inequality and injustices that abound.

Actually, the government could simply seize the ACC investment fund which last time I looked was over $30 billion and it would have enough money to do almost whatever it wanted. This fund was built up by taxing working people through higher and higher ACC levies over the last few decades as a prelude to the eventual privatisation of the fund.

When ACC was established there was no fund needed to cover liabilities into the future. The system was deliberately established as a “pay as you go” system which meant this year’s liabilities were paid out of this year’s income. There was no need to change to the system we have unless you planned to sell ACC. That was the plan of the National party in the past. That plan no longer exists. The fund does not need to exist. The money should be returned to the people.

So when someone says “we can’t afford it” – that is actually a lie.


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