Announcement on FPAs welcomed
E tū welcomes the setting up of the working group on Fair Pay Agreements.
E tū’s National Director of Campaigns, Annie Newman says today’s announcement is the fulfilment of a key election promise to workers, who need greater support for their pay and conditions.
FPAs would set basic standards for pay and conditions across an entire industry, through collective bargaining by businesses and unions.
“The stories in the media every day revealing workers being ripped off show that our current employment relations system is not working,” says Annie.
“Workers in small workplaces, especially in the service sector, have very little bargaining power. Even in industries where there are labour shortages, employers are too scared to lift their pay in case another employer undermines them,” she says.
“Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards for wages and conditions and will give these workers a real say in their minimum employment conditions.”
E tū Industry Co-ordinator Jill Ovens says a particular concern is the plight of vulnerable workers such as security guards.
“We have collective agreements with the bigger security companies that provide for hours of work, training, health and safety, protections of workers’ rights if they get into trouble, and so on.
“But these companies tell us they are constantly being undercut by cowboys in the industry who have a churn of guards on individual agreements.”
Jill says E tū is working with the Security Association to improve the professionalism of workers in the industry, but that means bringing the terms and conditions of these ‘bottom feeders’ into line.
She says government entities are prominent among those rewarding tenders which cut costs, including workers’ wages and hours to the bone, in “a race to the bottom”.
Annie Newman said employers’ doom and gloom rhetoric about FPAs should be discounted as they had wrongly told people they would pave the way for industrial unrest.
“There is no right to strike for an FPA and all Agreements will be negotiated collectively,” she says.
E tū has also welcomed the inclusion on the FPA team of E tū Assistant Secretary, John Ryall.