SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts

24 Oct

SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison “not telling the truth”.

By Mike Treen (Unite National Director) and John Crocker (Unite SkyCity Organiser)

SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday.

A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths or are exaggerations. In one important respect when discussing a SkyCity worker what he says is simply untrue.

To pride oneself on being a non-minimum wage employer when the start rate for many positions in the employment agreement is only 10 cents above the minimum wage is a partial truth at best. Apprentice chefs are also paid less than the minimum wage so to say “all” SkyCity employees are paid above is not accurate.

To boast about the training staff receive when the company deliberately changed its policy in order to stop paying trainee table game dealers during their training is a bit misleading. Now when SkyCity takes employees from WINZ, the taxpayer is paying a benefit to the worker during unpaid staff training.  They then subsidise their wages for a period if subsequently employed.

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Antiwar action Auckland Saturday 2pm

23 Oct

Low inflation – time for meaningful wage increases

23 Oct

CTU Media release

With inflation low, now is a good time for workers to negotiate for pay increases that outstrip price rises and deliver real increases in wages and salaries. “For too many people, real pay increases have been missing for several years unless they worked longer hours,” CTU economist Bill Rosenberg says. “Productivity has been rising for several years but hasn’t been recognised in pay increases.”

“Housing and electricity costs are driving annual inflation. At an annual increase of 1.0 percent overall inflation is lower than expected and almost 80 percent of that is housing and energy costs. The Reserve Bank should be considering lowering interest rates rather than raising them. The focus should be on lowering housing costs by building more houses and improving state rental housing and private tenancy conditions rather than risking the uneven recovery with higher interest rates.” Rosenberg said.

Over the year, housing and household utilities, which includes rents, new housing and home energy prices, accounted for almost four-fifths (79.5 percent) of the increase in the CPI. Rents, costs of new housing, maintenance, rates and energy costs all rose at a rate well above the 1.0 percent rise in the CPI. By far the largest contributor to energy costs was electricity, which rose 3.7 percent over the year. Rents rose 2.2 percent, purchase of new housing 4.8 percent, rates 3.8 percent and energy (including gas and solid fuels) 3.6 percent. “And this doesn’t include interest payments, which rose 1.2 percent over the year,” Rosenberg said.

Inflation in Canterbury was considerably higher than the rest of the country at 1.6 percent for the year, with housing and utility costs rising 4.9 percent for the year compared to 3.4 percent for the country as a whole.

ENDS

For further comment, please contact:

Bill Rosenberg, Economist, CTU

04 802 3815 / 021 637 991

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South Auckland meeting to discuss life & low pay

21 Oct

Unite 2014 Conference and AGM

20 Oct

U2012 Unite Conferencenite will be holding its 2014 National conference and AGM in Auckland on Monday 1st December and Tuesday 2nd December at the St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St,  Ponsonby,  Auckland. Delegates will be attending from all over the country to participate in training workshops, discussions about the future of unionism and Unite, and to elect Unite’s National Executive, the leading body of the union.

 

The conference is a great opportunity for leading members from different sectors and regions to meet up, learn from each other’s experiences, and take the movement forward. Any member can attend as an observer but voting representatives need to be either elected as AGM reps or already elected as  a rep from their worksite.

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Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November

20 Oct

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

By Prof Jane Kelsey

On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back.

Why should you join us?

The latest version of intellectual property chapter, leaked last week, is a timely reminder of what’s at stake. This confirmed that the US has backed off some demands, such as the ban on parallel importing, because its own courts said ruled in favour of parallel imports. It has toned down some other demands, such as criminalising those who break the regional digital locks on DVDs, in the face of a concerted campaign for Internet freedom.

But the leak showed two major risks for New Zealand are still on the table.

Big Pharma wants to lock up access to information on new generation biologics medicines to treat cancer, diabetes and other crippling illnesses in New Zealand for a further three or even seven years. That means they reap their megaprofits for longer. Pharmac would have to reallocate funds from its capped budget to pay for them or face a political and public backlash for not subsidising the super-expensive new life saving medicines. Think Herceptin.

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Injuries show agriculture, forestry, and fishery too dangerous

18 Oct

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Workers are deeply concerned about the research Statistics New Zealand have released today showing that almost one-quarter of agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers had a work-related injury claim accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2013.

Provisional figures for 2013 show that agriculture, forestry, and fishery workers made 226 injury claims per 1,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), and 2.6 percent of these workers experienced an injury that resulted in a week or more off work.

“Clearly workers in these areas are over represented. There is something seriously and systemically wrong when a quarter of workforce in any particular sector are injured at work.” CTU President Helen Kelly said today.

“There seems to be an acceptance that there are some sectors where a certain number of injuries, or even fatalities are expected. This is an unacceptable perspective. Every worker should be able to return home from work safety.” Kelly said.

“The thing all three of these sectors have in common is workers have no viable form of independent representation including through unions and the current employment law makes collectivising across these types of businesses extremely difficult. The industries are then characterised by poor working conditions, high turnover, and a lack of investment in training and long hours. Instead of dealing with this reality, the Government intends to attack workers’ rights and in this environment, we can expect these disastrous statistics to be repeated next year.” Kelly said.

For further comment, please contact:

Helen Kelly, President, CTU

021 776 741

For more information about these statistics: Visit Injury Statistics – Work-related Claims: 2013

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