CTU President Richard Wagstaff has a great opinion piece in the Dom Post this morning pointing out why Fair Pay Agreements are good for business as well as Kiwi workers:
Remember when you could pay a mortgage, keep the kitchen cupboard full, take the kids to the movies now and then, by working as a bus driver, a freezing worker, a journalist, or any number of other solid middle-Kiwi jobs? When a decent working life was a given?
Too far back to remember? Maybe you’ve noticed how just across the ditch our cousins with all kinds of everyday jobs seem to be that much better off than us?
The difference between then and now, and between Australia and New Zealand, is sector bargaining. This used to be called awards here. In Australia, sector bargaining is called modern awards; in other parts of the world it takes the shape of industry agreements or tripartite national bargaining. What it is in all of these places is a system to deliver minimum standards. Minimum standards agreed between employers in an industry and the people who work for them; sometimes the government is involved as well.
The advantage for working people is they don’t have their wages and conditions systematically driven down by businesses competing on how cheaply they can subcontract people’s work. Like we’ve seen in the forestry and service industries. And they don’t have their terms and conditions that they’ve negotiated in good faith over years contracted out from underneath them. Like we’ve seen in the transport and telecommunications industries.
The advantages for employers are that they can invest in skills and training, and plan to increase their productivity over the medium and long term. They’re not forced to compete with businesses running fly-by-night operations based on low wages and insecure jobs. And they can invest in new plant and machinery and innovation – things that take time to pay off – knowing they aren’t going to be undercut by low-tech outfits run on a cheap labour and low-investment model. Not to mention the fact that more Kiwis with better incomes have more money to spend at our Kiwi businesses.
The full piece is here