The Green Party welcome Labour’s commitment to extend the living wage to Government contractors, but will push for Fair Pay Agreements across industries in the next Government so more New Zealanders can earn a dignified income.
“Labour extending decent pay to contractors employed by the Government is a great first step. We know that successive governments have saved money by contracting out services in a way that incentivised poverty wages and bare minimum conditions for our people. We need to change that,” Green Party Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Jan Logie said today.
“But we can’t stop there. Low wage workers in industries not contracted by Government continue to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic, and decent pay should extend to them.
“If elected, we’ll push for the Government to bring in legislation to ensure Fair Pay Agreements, starting with people doing essential work like retail, cleaning, and security.
“These agreements set minimum employment standards, which are agreed through bargaining between employers and unions.
“Those agreements then become legally-required minimum standards for people working throughout the whole sector.
“It ensures workers get fair, decent pay and conditions and opportunities for training - and businesses have a set of consistent standards to work towards. This creates a strong foundation for our businesses and communities.
“Our security guards, cleaners, supermarket staff and so many other Kiwi workers have worked hard to keep New Zealand ticking over and to keep us safe during COVID-19. It is well overdue we legislated to ensure they are paid what they’re worth."
How do Fair Pay Agreements work?
These legislated agreements will be a set of sector-specific minimum employment standards covering wages and working conditions. Essentially, it sets a fair framework for negotiations between employers and unions, which once agreed upon, become legal requirements for all people working in that sector.