NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes report on fair pay agreements

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed a BERL-authored report released by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions this morning, which finds that New Zealand’s abandonment of sector bargaining in the 1990s is linked to a decline in wages.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter said a return to a modern form of fair pay agreements would end unfair pay disparities and variable working conditions across whole sectors.

“Early childhood education would be a prime example of this. The sector has a mix of public provision and private operators, with a large part of overall funding coming from government. We need to lift the whole sector onto a level playing field and shift the focus from wages competition to what’s best for children,” he said.

Mr Goulter said it was time for the Government to make progress legislating for fair pay agreements, which would lift the wages of low-paid Kiwis closer to the level of those in countries like Australia that still have awards systems.

“This country has a low wage problem. Sector-wide agreements are the best way to fix that.”

“It’s been more than six months since the Fair Pay Agreements Working Group reported back to government. New Zealand workers need to see the government making legislative progress,” he said.

“When every worker is being paid a fair, liveable wage for their work, that has benefits for all of society.”

“This Government is committed to wellbeing and improving the lives of New Zealanders. Bringing in fair pay agreements will tackle income inequality and child poverty and make a huge difference to working people’s lives.”