Archive | October, 2014

Living Wage Survey – LAST CHANCE: closes tomorrow night at midnight

30 Oct

The CTU encourages unions and workers to fill in this survey if you haven’t already . It will provide important empirical data for the Living Wage and other wage campaigns.

The Living Wage – Online Survey

As part of a funded empirical study, a Massey University People, Organisation, Work and Employment Research (MPOWER) team is running a national online Living Wage survey.

The survey seeks to find out how people feel about the Living Wage in New Zealand, and what they perceive that it means for employees’ income level, well-being, engagement at work, workplace productivity and capacity to have a decent standard of living. If you are an employee, manager or employer in New Zealand, please take part – it will only take you 5 minutes to complete the survey and gives you an opportunity to have your say about an important societal issue. You can access the survey at

Many thanks

MPOWER Living Wage Research Team

Prof. Stuart Carr * Prof. Jane Parker * Prof. Jim Arrowsmith * Prof. Paul Watters * Dr Kate Lewis * Ms Lindsay Eastgate * Mr Josiah Koloamatangi * Mr Harvey Jones

Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark

30 Oct

Slideshow: Fast food natiom


(Reprinted from the New York Times)

COPENHAGEN — On a recent afternoon, Hampus Elofsson ended his 40-hour workweek at a Burger King and prepared for a movie and beer with friends. He had paid his rent and all his bills, stashed away some savings, yet still had money for nights out.

That is because he earns the equivalent of $20 an hour — the base wage for fast-food workers throughout Denmark and two and a half times what many fast-food workers earn in the United States.

“You can make a decent living here working in fast food,” said Mr. Elofsson, 24. “You don’t have to struggle to get by.”

With an eye to workers like Mr. Elofsson, some American labor activists and liberal scholars are posing a provocative question: If Danish chains can pay $20 an hour, why can’t those in the United States pay the $15 an hour that many fast-food workers have been clamoring for?

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Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’ on 8 November

30 Oct

New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It’s Our Future NZ.

This is part of an international day of action to coincide with the next gathering of TPPA ministers and leaders around the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November. Simultaneous actions are expected in Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Canada and the United States.

While there is huge pressure to conclude from participating governments and corporate lobbyists, more and more New Zealanders are starting to realise the significant impact the TPPA could have on their everyday life, according to It’s Our Future NZ spokesperson Edward Miller.

"When Prime Minister John Key met President Obama in June this year, the pair discussed a November deadline to release a final outcome. We’re now days out from that deadline and the US and Japan are still locking horns over agriculture," said Edward Miller.

"Trade Minister Groser has overestimated his negotiating prowess when he says that Tokyo and Washington will need Wellington’s approval before finalising a deal; once the majors have settled then our input will be little more than an afterthought."

“Putting New Zealand’s name to such a deal would come at serious costs to internet freedom, affordable medicines, the right to regulate industries like mining, forestry or finance more tightly, and much more’.

"Concerned citizens around the country have been organising actions for 8 November to get the message out there that they don’t want secretly negotiated deals that could endanger their jobs, their health, their livelihoods, their environment and their democracy."

“We are urging the government to listen to the will of the people on 8 November and not to sleepwalk into the TPPA corporate trap."

The sponsors of the 8 November action are Actors Equity, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, First Union, Greenpeace, Maritime Union of New Zealand, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Oxfam, Post Primary Teachers Association, Public Service Association, Tertiary Education Union.

Actions have been planned for the following centres: Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North,Levin, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Edward Miller, It’s Our Future NZ spokesperson Edward.Miller

Call centre workers fear calling in sick.

29 Oct

By Shanna Reeder, Unite call centre organiser.

We’ve been receiving an increasing number of phone calls and emails from our call centre union members regarding the “negative” treatment they get for taking sick leave.

Sick leave is a basic right for all employed people in New Zealand. Paid Sick Leave is prescribed under current legislation as at least five days after six months employment. In some workplaces there are provisions in the collective employment agreement for workers to have more than five days paid sick leave per year. Sick leave can also be accumulated year to year up to 20 days by law although some collective agreements have a higher cap on how many days can be accumulated.

Regardless of this, some of our workers in call centres fear or avoid taking sick leave as they have seen their co-workers get dragged into meetings with supervisors on their return from leave to discuss the details of why they have been away. Members have been asked why they were sick, what their sickness was and what medications they are on.

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Work to Live – our next big action

28 Oct
Work to Live – a hui, talanoa and celebration mark an important step toward involvement of local networks in the Living Wage campaign.
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Does your organisation, your faith group, or your union have connections with South Auckland communities? Help our communities come together around the concerns they share about poverty and inequality and start planning action for 2015 so our united voices can make a difference to the well being of local workers and their families. On November 7 a team of Living Wage supporters will be running a celebration with conversation – and of course food and music. For more information contact us at info.
Here is our fine Wellington team at the first of two AGMs for the Living Wage Movement on October 16. Come along to the Auckland AGM on Friday October 31 at 4.00pm. Details above.

After the AGM there is a celebration of a successful year for the Living Wage Movement in Auckland. Food, drinks and an amazing raffle to support our leadership training programme.

See details for the party below and RSVP to events.

Auckland University students, lecturers, and campus communities step up for a Living Wage.
Employers and workers benefit in first Living Wage businesses

Ethical employers have discovered the benefits of a Living Wage in positive productivity outcomes in recent research on a handful of the first Living Wage Employers in NZ. One employer made the connections between a decent wage and a healthy economy:

"We’re offering a really nice product and if my own employees can’t afford to eat it then that’s not good; its better for us as a business if they can afford to eat there."

At the same time workers have enjoyed levels of participation in their community previously not possible because of low wages. One worker interviewed said:

"I know the burden on my family, like they have things to pay for culturally and it feels good to me to say to my mum “don’t worry about that envelope because I’ve got the money.”

You can see the paper presented to the Population Health Congress at under the News section.


Living Wage Survey

Massey University People, Organisation, Work and Employment Research (MPOWER) team is running a national, online Living Wage survey.

The survey will seek to find out how people feel about the Living Wage in NZ and what they perceive that it means for employees’ income level, well-being, engagement at work, workplace productivity and capacity to have a decent standard of living. If you are an employee, manager or employer in New Zealand, please take part – it will only take you five minutes to complete the survey and gives you an opportunity to have your say about an important societal issue. You can access the survey at our website: just click on the button on the Home page. The survey which closes at midnight on 31 October.

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand · 35 George Street, Kingsland, Auckland, New Zealand · Auckland, Auckland 1024 · New Zealand

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Equal pay win in Court of Appeal

28 Oct

CTU Media release

Today the Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers.

The Court of Appeal decision supports the case of caregiver Kristine Bartlett and her union, the Service and Food Workers Union, that in female-predominant industries the claimant may have to go outside the “infected” industry to decide what the female workers should be paid.

“I am over the moon about the Court of Appeal decision,” said Kristine Bartlett.

“I am nearing the end of my working life but am pleased that the Court of Appeal has confirmed what I always thought – caregiving is not recognised or paid fairly because most caregivers are women.” Bartlett said.

“I took this case, with the support of my union, not just for myself but for the tens of thousands of caregivers who get paid close to the minimum wage for doing one of the most important jobs in our society.” Bartlett said

“I urge the employers and Government to abandon any further appeals in favour of getting around the table with my union to sort out a just solution,” said Kristine.

Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall said the Court of Appeal decision came 42 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act and once implemented would substantially narrow the gap between the wages of men and women in New Zealand.


For further comment contact Kristine Bartlett or John Ryall on 027 520 1380 or SFWU Aged Care Sector Leader Alastair Duncan on 027 245 6593

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.


For further comment, please contact:

Bill Rosenberg, Economist, CTU

04 802 3815 / 021 637 991


South Auckland meeting to discuss life & low pay

21 Oct

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