Labour to keep lifting worker wages and rights

A re-elected Labour Government will protect hard-fought workers’ rights and keep the momentum on wage growth to lift incomes for all New Zealanders, leader Chris Hipkins announced today.

  • Progressively extend living wage to workers in Education and Health
  • Reduce the gap between the living wage and minimum wage
  • Scrap starting out and training minimum employment rates
  • Modernise employment relations and protect collective bargaining
  • Safeguard Fair Pay Agreements, sick leave, and restrictions on 90-day trials

“We will progressively move workers across health and education onto at least the living wage under a Government I lead,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Our health care assistants, caregivers, and school caretakers all play an important role in delivering our public services and should be better supported to have a decent standard of living.

“We’re investing in our frontline services and people, not cutting them.

“This builds on our delivery of the living wage to workers on contracts for cleaning, catering and security guards across the public service.

“Labour will also ensure the minimum wage is raised every year, closing the gap between the minimum and living wages.

“When Labour came into Government, the living wage was $20.20 per hour - almost five dollars an hour more than the minimum wage. Labour’s increases mean the current minimum wage was less than a dollar lower than the 2022/23 living wage.

“Lifting the minimum wage will support our lowest income earners and see wage growth continue upwards above the minimum wage too,” Chris Hipkins said.

Labour will support young workers to have meaningful and secure employment by repealing the starting out and training rates.

“Current legislation allows our youngest workers and our workers undertaking training to be paid less than the statutory minimum rate, even though they are often doing the same work as their colleagues.

“Only a small number of young people are employed using these lower wages and removing them will help to restore equity in our minimum wage system,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Worker’s rights are under threat this election as Christopher Luxon and David Seymour eye up a smorgasbord of cuts,” Labour Spokesperson for Workplace Relations and Safety Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Only a Labour government will safeguard fair pay agreements, where applications are currently progressing to improve pay and conditions for bus drivers, hospitality staff, early childhood teachers, port workers, cleaners and security guards.

“We have a proven track record of delivering for Kiwi workers, including increased sick leave, reintroduced meal breaks and increased paid parental leave.

“A re-elected Labour Government will build on worker’s rights by protecting the value of collective bargaining, better defining employees and contractors to protect vulnerable workers, and creating safer workplaces through better workplace violence support and education programmes.

“We are also committed to ensuring more Kiwis have access to training, through successful programmes like Mana in Mahi, Apprenticeship Boost and Flexi-Wage.

“Labour has always been the party that protects and boosts workers’ rights. The choice this election has never been starker as a National ACT coalition line up to cut workers’ rights, while we commit to boosting them,” Carmel Sepuloni said.