We can and must do better for middle New Zealanders.
While recent years have seen wages generally grow for those at the top and bottom, we know middle New Zealand has been feeling the squeeze. Rising costs, particularly in housing, have meant a whole portion of Kiwis have been losing out.
We have a vision for a highly skilled and innovative economy, with good jobs, decent work conditions, and fair wages. An economy where everyone gets a share in growth and prosperity.
That's why we're excited to announce we are beginning work on Fair Pay Agreements, designing a collective bargaining system to lift wages and productivity in New Zealand.
Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum terms and conditions for all workers across an entire industry or occupation.
A team, led by the Former Prime Minister Rt Hon John Bolger, will develop the recommendations on the design of the Fair Pay Agreement System, working closely with businesses, organisations, and workers to develop a new and enduring framework that is good for employers and workers.
As it stands now, employers can undercut each other by reducing costs through low wages and poor conditions, effectively creating a “race to the bottom”. Fair Pay Agreements will prevent employers from competing with each other by lowering wages, ensuring good employers are not disadvantaged by paying reasonable, industry-standard wages. These Agreements may also facilitate industry-wide discussions around issues such as training or safety.
We believe workers and employers know their sector best. It will be up to unions and employers to create Fair Pay Agreements in their industry or occupation. This will ensure the standards set are relevant to the sector and support productivity and growth.
Our Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Less-Galloway is emphatic about the need for change.
“It is time to move away from adversarial models of bargaining. It is time New Zealand adopts a process that is well-used across the developed world, including in Australia where the Modern Awards system is in place.”