The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has released an independent report conducted by economic research company BERL into the validity of sector bargaining.
And the findings are clear - there is no economic reason not to implement sector bargaining but many social and individual wellbeing reasons to do so.
CTU President Richard Wagstaff is urging the Government to act,
"Modern sector bargaining such as the proposed Fair Pay Agreements will lift the pay and conditions across an entire sector, to ensure working people have access to a fair return of the profits made by business, and stop bad employers undercutting people’s wages."
At the recent Conference of the NZ Meat Workers Union, shed officials and delegates, who do the hard yards in our meat industry were 100% behind Labour’s policy to implement a new system of industry bargaining (or Fair Payment Agreements) that would level the playing field and help give workers a better deal.
This was Labour Party policy in the 2011, 2014 and 2017 elections. Since the government was formed, a working group, chaired by (ex-National PM) Jim Bolger has made recommendations on how Fair Pay Agreements could be implemented, and why they are important for the future of New Zealand working people, our economy and communities.
The government has yet to respond to the recommendations of the working group. Coalition politics probably have a lot to do with it and the need to get NZ First on board.
The old fashioned fear-mongering from the Opposition is predictable, but the BERL report shows that even the OECD has reversed its previous objection to sector / industry collective bargaining saying :
... [the OECD Jobs Strategy] is based on new evidence that shows that countries with policies and institutions that promote job quality, job quantity and greater inclusiveness perform better than countries where the focus of policy is predominantly on enhancing (or preserving) market flexibility. In other words, it is necessary to combine policies that encourage economic growth with policies and work practices agreed by the social partners that foster inclusiveness and protect workers.
It really is time to have a grown-up 21stcentury discussion about this. And Meat Workers want to talk with NZ First about why this matters.