The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.
“Pacific people are among the most vulnerable and lowest paid in our society. Most are covered by collective agreements which are being eroded in this legislation.
“This Bill deliberately empowers employers to opt out of those agreements and gives them new powers to not conclude bargaining.
“Pacific workers have always had their rights protected by being members of unions who negotiated on their behalf to improve their terms and conditions.
“Through these unions they secured wage increases last year. The 43 per cent of the workforce not covered by collective agreements didn’t receive a wage increase despite the economy improving by 3.5 per cent over that period.
“I suspect that’s not what was promised to them by this Government when John Key and National attended church services and met with our Pacific communities during the election,” says Su’a William Sio.