The Government has announced a radical overhaul of New Zealand’s labour laws, with a policy package that will supercharge the institutional power of unions and place centralised wage bargaining back at the heart of industrial relations law.
The new Fair Pay Agreement system, announced in Auckland today, is explicitly designed to put a floor under wages by allowing unions to negotiate on an industry-wide basis. If 10 per cent of a workforce, or 1000 workers agree, a new Fair Pay Agreement can be enacted.
The relevant union will then have power to negotiate directly with an employer group covering the sector that will be compelled to negotiate to create the agreement. Any resulting agreement will set minimum ordinary time wages and conditions, overtime, penalty rates across the country. Regional variations to account for cost of living will be able to be built into the system and strikes will be prohibited during negotiations.
The agreements will cover all workers – union and non-union – but as part of the deal unions can apply for union members to receive extra wages up to the value of their union fees.
What a stroke of strategic genius this was.
It’s almost as if Labour strategists looked deep into the soul of their likely critics, put together a strategy that elicited the exact response you could predict from those critics, and implemented it ruthlessly.
3 – Announce Universal Union Membership WHILE giving the CTU $250k to help implement it.
4 – Critics shut the fuck up because Labour have just pulled out the greatest workers rights upgrade since the 1908 blackball miners strike and the public won’t tolerate strikes from public servants being paid $100 000.
That’s how you do it.
This Fair Pay Agreement is Universal Unionism that erodes PSA influence while rapidly expanding private sector unions.
The bosses will scream but only the exploiters that working class unions like UTU are uncovering will be genuinely hurt by this.
Workers rights become universally strengthened, Bad bugger bosses get hurt and the Wellington bureaucratic elites lose political influence.
That’s a win win win.
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