A Chinese development company planning to fly in 200 overseas tradies for an Auckland hotel build are prepared to pay only three-quarters of the normal hourly rate - with further deductions to workers' pay for travel and accommodation.
Feb 27, 2018 - E tū says more workers are coming forward to report labour abuses to the Labour Inspectorate lead investigation into Chorus contractors and subcontractors working on the ultrafast broadband network.
The investigation began just before Christmas, following reports of exploitative practices by Chorus subcontractors in Nelson where people worked for free, as so-called volunteers.
E tū’s Industry Coordinator Communications, Joe Gallagher says the union is working closely with the Labour Inspectorate, and a number of workers have been interviewed.
“We’ve been very encouraged by the number of people coming forward. We are working with them, ensuring they have contact with the Inspectorate to get this information into the investigation,” says Joe.
He cites reports from workers, including many migrants, which reveal a litany of illegal work practices.
They include illegal pay deductions, underpayment of wages or no payment for so-called ‘volunteers’, as well as health and safety breaches, no annual leave and sick leave, and inadequate equipment.
For many, the work is a way to meet immigration requirements for work permits and residency, but Joe says that’s left people vulnerable to exploitation.
“We saw the early cases come through in Nelson, but in Auckland alone there are 900 subcontractors to Chorus contractors, Visionstream and UCG. The potential scale of the problem is huge,” he says.
Jan 31, 2018 - Gender-balanced tech firms are up to 40 percent more profitable and it is important that Kiwi companies and leaders acknowledge and accept that when hiring staff, the new executive director of Tech Women NZ says.
Jan 25, 2018 - E tū, the biggest private-sector union in New Zealand, is pleased with most of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill announced by the Government today.
E tū National Secretary Bill Newson says that the process is “off to a flying start”, with many improvements for working people and their unions.
Bill says the changes recognise the pressing concerns about the personal and economic cost of low wages and inequality.
“This Government has made fixing inequality a top priority. Wages are a huge factor in this, so strengthening the rights of workers and their unions is critical,” Bill says.
“We see this bill as a big leap forward towards a fair and equitable society.”
Bill says the changes restore many of the rights that were taken away by the last Government.
“We can celebrate some big wins for all workers, such as the restoration of statutory rest and meal breaks and the restoration of reinstatement as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal.”
Bill says working people will also be in a better position thanks to strengthened collective bargaining and union rights.
“Unions will have improved access to workplaces, making unions more available to their members and prospective members. It’s also great that employers will be required to pass on information about active unions – people need to know about the best vehicle for their voice in the workplace. Paid time for union delegates to represent their colleagues will be a much-deserved recognition of the important work that union delegates carry out.
“In short, what we are seeing is the reversal of much of National’s damaging industrial relations policies, along with some exciting new initiatives.”
However, E tū is disappointed that 90-day trial periods could remain for employers with 20 or fewer workers.
“There isn’t a majority in parliament in support of scrapping the 90-day ‘fire at will’ law in its entirety, which is disappointing,” Bill says.
“This is the nature of a coalition government under MMP. It’s now our task, as part of the wider labour movement, to improve this part of the bill.
“We’ll be there at select committees to explain why any ‘fire at will’ law is both unfair and unnecessary.”
Jan 4, 2018 - Nineteen maintenance workers at Silver Fern Farms Takapau are very disappointed that instead of improving their offer after today’s strike action, the company has made the offer even worse. Before the workers took industrial action, the company had offered a 1.5% increase as back pay for the nine months prior, followed by 2% increase at the time of settlement.
Dec 15 , 2017 - New Zealand's labour force is projected to keep growing, driven by an increasing population and people working into older ages, Stats NZ said today. The labour force includes both employed and unemployed people.
Currently 2.6 million people are in the labour force. The new projections indicate a total labour force of around 3.0 million in 2030 and 3.5 million in 2068.
People aged 65 years and over (65+) will make up an increasing share of the labour force. In 1991, just 1 percent of the labour force was aged 65+. Currently the 65+ share is 6 percent; this is projected to increase to 9 percent in the late 2020s.
“The labour force will grow into the future, but at a slowing rate, reflecting what is happening with our population," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.
“We are also seeing more people aged 50 and over in the labour force.”
The participation rate for people in their 50s is 85 percent in 2017. This will increase to 88 percent in 2038 and 89 percent in 2068. For people in their 60s, the participation rate is currently 59 percent, but this will rise to 64 percent in 2038 and 67 percent in 2068.
"In the long term, slower population growth and our increasingly older age structure will slow labour force growth, providing the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation remains the same," Mr Dolan said.