Work rights should be a big issue this election. National is proposing to strip workers of their rights to undermine wage increases. The Greens’ work rights policy, on the other hand, rocks.
– Lift the minimum wage from $12 an hour to $15 an hour immediately.
That will restore the minimum wage relative to the average wage to the levels before National came to power in 1990. It would directly increase the incomes of around half a million kiwis and their families.
– A new framework for state sector collective bargaining to ensure consistency and fairness across the public service.
At the moment the public service competes against itself for employees, which isn’t necessarily the most efficient or fair way of doing things. This policy should help ensure consistency and fairness across the state sector.
– An additional statutory holiday to fall between Queen’s Birthday and Labour Weekend.
Go Matariki! It’s about time we had a holiday that specifically recognised Maori culture
– Working to extend paid parental leave to 13 months.
That would bring us more in-line with most of the developed world, only Australia and the US languish behind
– A full review of the Employment Relations Act.
The ERA was a welcome relief after the hell of National’s ECA but since then Labour has rested on its laurels in some respects – making important improvements at the margins (eg minimum wage, holiday pay, meal-breaks/breast-feeding) but not fundamentally improving the bargaining situation for workers.
* A separate government agency to support union and employer bargaining on multi-employer collective agreements.
This is top of the unions’ wish-list. Bargaining for separate collectives at thousands of different businesses is a massive drain on resources and can lead to the unfair situation where the workers in the same union doing the same work are paid different amounts at different businesses.
Go the Greens! Hopefully, Labour’s policy will come some way to matching these proposals.