The EPMU launched its ‘Work Rights Wage Drive’ today with a rally in Christchurch. Despite the rain, over 1500 Kiwi workers turned out to stand up for their work rights and wages. This is just the first of 25 rallies the EPMU will be undertaking this month, in what will easily be the biggest series of public demonstrations in years.
In conjunction with the Wage Drive, the EPMU has launched its Work Rights Checklist, a point by point account of what parties need to include in their work rights policies if they are to make Kiwis more secure in their work and help boost wages. It’s a substantive yet accessible document, condensing a lot of info into two pages. Well worth a read and a comparison with National’s workplace policy.
Speaking of which, Ben Thomas of NBR has followed up on the ambiguity in National’s policy over union access – in the press release, National seemed to say unions would remain able to access work-sites unless there was good reason to deny them; in the policy paper, it said access would be at employers’ discretion. It’s a pretty important issue, without site access unions are severely weakened.
Kate Wilkinson, National’s Labour spokesperson who hasn’t yet delivered a speech or press conference on her party’s policy, told Thomas that ‘she ‘doesn’t envisage’ that the actual wording of the provisions of the act around union access will be changed.’ From which, I think it’s safe to say, all we can conclude is that National’s wannabe Minister of Labour is completely out of the loop on National’s work rights policy.
The Nats may not have a clue but it is clear from the Christchurch rally that Kiwi workers know what they want: stronger work rights, leading to higher wages.