Labour Day

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, October 23rd, 2017 - 19 comments
Categories: human rights, labour, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

We’ve written a bit about Labour Day over the years – see the archives for the origins, history, and importance of the day. Enjoying your weekend? Thank a unionist!

Labour Day is extra sweet this year. Check out Labour’s workplace relations policy page:

Backing fair pay and conditions

After nine years of National, working people’s share of the economy is falling. Less than 40 per cent of economic growth under National has gone into working people’s wages. If working people’s slice of the economy hadn’t shrunk under National, workers’ pay packets would have been $23 billion larger.

When 40 per cent of children in poverty live in a working household and two-thirds of workers’ pay fell in real terms last year, despite the economy growing, working people are not sharing in economic prosperity.

The problem is set to continue. The Budget forecasts no real growth in the average wage in 2017 or in two of the next four years.

Weak employment law has created avenues for some businesses to undercut good employers by driving down wages and minimising costs.

Labour’s workplace relations package includes:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour.
  • Replacing the current National Government’s ‘fire at will’ law with fair trial periods that provide both protection against unjustified dismissal and a simple, fair, and fast referee service.
  • Introducing Fair Pay Agreements that set fair, basic employment conditions across an industry based on the employment standards that apply in that industry.
  • Promoting the Living Wage by paying it to all workers in the core public service, and extending it to contractors over time.
  • Doubling the number of Labour Inspectors.
  • Implement the changes to the Equal Pay Act as set out in the report from the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles to give all women in female-dominated workforces access to collective bargaining and court processes to settle their claims.

See the manifesto chapter for a full list of initiatives.

19 comments on “Labour Day”

  1. Ovid 1

    Proud to be a former member of the Southern Local Government Officers’ Union and the Public Service Association. Currently a member of the Tertiary Education Union.

  2. Doogs 2

    Member of the NZEI and have been since I began teaching in 1965. Still teaching, and still a member. Could wish for them to be a bit more militant, but it is one of the few areas where women get paid the same as men. Also the glass ceiling doesn’t seem to be a problem here. That could be due to the fact that women outnumber men in the profession by about 2 or 3 to 1. That needs to change, and the biggest factor appears to be salary. Another factor is that men don’t see themselves as carers and nurturers. That also needs to change.

    • Dreadwomyn 2.1

      The last figures I could find also noted that people identifying as male teachers are declining in numbers at just 26% of the workforce as at 2014. However the glass ceiling still appears to be a challenge with 49% of people identifying as women being appointed as Principals. Hopefully this Labour day we can celebrate and support the equal pay claim of school support staff given thechnge of government.
      (The quoted figures are from RNZ article Dec 2014).

  3. r0b 3

    Successively a member of –
    Association of University Teachers (AUT)
    Association of University Staff (AUS)
    Tertiary Education Union (TEU)

    Proud of the way “my” union/s have become more inclusive over time.

  4. eco maori 4

    Labour day a day off not What we call the normal jobs that one works from 7 to 5 is a gentleman’s job as most job I’ve worked have no set hours and one start’s at 4am ect and there is no such thing as a weekend as we work on those days. Its a well deserved break for everyone so Congrats to you all. I think someone should start Paying for a positive media campaign to counter all this bullshit that I can see in our media come on please fight fire with fire we need to look after our new coalition government Ka Pai

    • Carolyn_nth 4.1

      yes I celebrate Labour Day and the victories of unions in the past. We have all benefited from the gains, directly or indirectly in terms of the wider benefits to society.

      The future requires more awareness, reflected in policy, that many of us now do not work 9-5 Monday to Friday.

      In my workplace everyone with a job dealing with the public is expected to work some weekends. Many of us worked this weekend, and rarely work Mondays. As usual, the cleaners were just finishing when I arrived – goodness knows what time they start work at weekends. This is not properly reflected in public holiday allocation – some workers get more of these than others.

      Then there’s all the unpaid carers and voluntary workers, necessary to society.

      I have taken part in a lot of industrial action in previous jobs: strikes, work to rule, picket lines, strike day protest marches. Most of this was in the days of neo-con attacks on unions. So the resulting gains have been meagre.

      Now is the time to strengthen a movement for all workers: secure and precarious; paid and unpaid; part time and full time; regular 9-5 weekdays and irregular any-of-7-days rosters, etc.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.2

      I agree EcoMaori/Kiwi, we need Kirton and co to begin a “hearts and minds campaign.” We won the battle of Coalition, now we have to win the war. Think I’ll write to Andrew Little. Now there is a great organiser and recruiter.

      I was a member of the NZEI Union ’till I retired 16 years ago. Follow all their battles through younger teacher/Principal friends.

  5. joe90 5

    Past member of –

    PSA
    Electrical Workers Union
    EPMU

    However, this bloke ….

  6. cleangreen 6

    After nine years of National, working people’s share of the economy is falling and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

    Labour Day must become an every day event with public service programing streamlined to present the programming to cultivate a better lifestyle and economic fortunes all all NZ people both rich and poor as we are all human.

    This morning i turned on Radio NZ, to listen (hopefully) to the festivities of the working class society of NZ and was so very diapointed by the mindless programing put together by the obvious “last vestiges of the National Party propagandist Steven Joyce and hs MBIE” hold over what is still subornly called “RNZ National” and the programming was just rubbish and not refective of the workers of this land working as our “labour force”.

    I recall the 1970’s when Labour Day was a festive occasssion celibrating the workers and Unions of New Zealand and all the annual televised “float parades” and programs that signified the hard fought efforts for better working conditions.

    Todays MSM does not even mention Labiour day” as anything else but just another day, signalling they dont rate workers as being of any worth to even celebrate.

    How pathetic is NZ Media today.

    Anyway at our house we will celebrate “Labour Day” with Champaign, music and singing.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.1

      It seems to me, the people now benefiting most from getting a Labour Day public holiday, and a 3 day weekend, are the most secure, and better off managerial and professional classes. And they are in no way interested in where this holiday came from.

      Many of the least secure, lowest paid and/or part time workers are not getting a holiday – just work as usual.

      So, we need a return to strong unions to deliver a fairer employment system.

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        Yes we need to have loyalty from our employers, and appreciation of when we do good work on holidays with penalty pay, and have some opportunity to have holidays with our family and friends.

        And in industries that are well paid and have security of employment, that same loyalty will mean that the workers turn out on holidays when needed to get consignments, orders dealt with and away. But they get alternative time off when possible to replace, and get well paid for their sacrifice to the job.

        Is that too much to ask for? I hope not, for the present, until the further disruption of machine replacement of humans, by when we must have a financial and social system that enables us all to contribute and have security of a living.

  7. Craig H 7

    PSA national delegate, bargaining team member – we were all watching on Thursday with great interest!

  8. greywarshark 8

    Perhaps this is a song that is an analogy or something for this Labour Day and this election.
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Nice version, slow and sweet.
    Sara Bareilles

    I have finally decided where my future lies – Beyond the yellow brick road….

    You know you can’t hold me forever
    I didn’t sign up with you
    I’m not a present for your friends to open
    This boy’s too young to be singing the blues

    So goodbye yellow brick road
    Where the dogs of society howl
    You can’t plant me in your penthouse
    I’m going back to my plough

    https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eltonjohn/goodbyeyellowbrickroad.html

  9. cleangreen 9

    Our new Labour lead Government must bring back the past “Labour day” I remember the floats in Napier in the early 1950s and all the games at the ‘annual show grounds’ where I waved a flag at “Walter Nash as he was the leader of the labour party just before becomming PM of NZ.

    https://yournz.org/2017/10/23/labour-day-2017/

    Quote “Early Labour Day parades drew huge crowds in places such as Palmerston North and Napier as well as in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Unionists and supporters marched behind colourful banners and ornate floats, and the parades were followed by popular picnics and sports events.

    The huge crowds this Labour day are likely to be flocking to the malls on the first sales since last week. We have transformed into a consumerist society.”

    I say “more like the MSM/Corporate brain-washing of our lives has transformed us into consumers for them.”

    • Heather Grimwood 9.1

      to cleangreen at 9 : I remember pre WW2 The excitement of our rural electorate’s Labour Day picnics once with a merry-go-round.

      • greywarshark 9.1.1

        Let’s make election day that sort of funfair and celebrate that we still have a vote and want to keep and exercise that right, and keep trying to help each other not just the already-haves helping themselves.

  10. When two thirds of workers have their wages declining in real terms then the only thing that’s growing is the amount of legalised theft.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      DTB
      But the economy is dependent on retail spending. So there is a disjunct – made up by borrowing from credit cards, loan sharks etc.

      So in a declining wage, declining work hours country, debt is what is growing. In the 2017 year it is the highest it has been at 167.80% for Household Debt to Income. In 1991 it was 56.20%. (Presumably it is an average also.) Here are a couple of charts for those who like that sort of thing!
      https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/households-debt-to-income
      (This is a very informative site.)
      Note: Canada’s also high – has been 170%
      Switzerland seems to operate on another planet at 178.57% in Dec.15

      and NZ Sectors Report from MOBIE

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