New Zealand union goes global



FIRST Union, New Zealand’s second largest private sector union, is going international with the launch of Samoa’s only private sector union, Samoa First Union.

“Samoa First Union is building on the legacy of former private sector unions like the old National Union of Workers,” says Samoa First Union co-ordinator Jerome Mika, “but our union differs because we have the benefit of support from an established union in New Zealand.”

“This means Samoa First Union will be sustainable.”

“Samoa became an International Labour Organisation member in 2005, but it lacks a general union for the private sector. There are strong unions in the public sector but without a general private sector union many workplace problems are going unresolved,” says Mika.

“After the Labour and Employment Relations Act 2013 came into force in 2014 we felt there was a renewed need for a general private sector union to inform and empower workers in Samoa.”

“And now, with the backing of FIRST Union New Zealand and the assistance of Sapolu Law, Samoa First Union will launch in Apia on 29 June 2015,” says Mika.

“The first target for our union organisers will be the major banks and hotels, areas where FIRST Union New Zealand – the retail and finance sector union – has particular expertise.”

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“With a growing membership base in New Zealand and now a presence overseas, who says unions are dead?”