Sunday, June 20, 2021
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HomePoliticalFair Pay Agreements Good News For Employees - Contractors Need Protection Too

Fair Pay Agreements Good News For Employees – Contractors Need Protection Too


Cabinet has approved a framework for drafting Fair Pay
Agreement legislation, and the Public Service Association
says this means low-paid workers can look forward to
improved and more consistent working lives.

Michael
Wood, the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety,
announced today that the government will introduce FPA
legislation later this year. It is expected to pass in
2022.

“For community and home support workers,
cleaners, and security guards, insecure work means a daily
challenge. All too often, employers compete for contracts by
holding down pay and undermining conditions in an endless
race to the bottom,” says PSA National Secretary Kerry
Davies.

“Industry-wide agreements are common in most
developed countries. They provide protection and consistency
for workers, not just around pay but also for training and
safety. We’re very pleased to see concrete progress toward
introducing such sensible policies in New
Zealand.”

Fair Pay Agreements will make a big
difference to workforces the PSA represents, such as home
support workers.

Support workers are employed through
a fragmented,
chaotic
system of competing provider companies. The union wants this
to be urgently overhauled. The PSA argues Fair Pay
Agreements should be viewed as an extension of previous
achievements like 2017’s Care
and Support Pay Equity Settlement.

Unions and
provider companies are now in broad agreement on the need
for a fairly paid and well-trained home support workforce
with secure, guaranteed hours.

“Implementing a Fair
Pay Agreement in the community health sector will make it
possible to deliver on promises made years ago. Home support
staff deserve consistent, decent conditions like any other
health worker,” says Ms Davies.

“Support workers
protected us from Covid-19 and dozens were infected while
doing so. They were essential then, they’re essential now,
and they’ll be essential in future.”

Fair Pay
Agreements do not replace existing employment agreements.
Instead, they can be the bedrock from which workers
negotiate terms and conditions that go beyond those in
particular workplaces.

In the current draft, employees
are included but contractors are not. Minister Wood has
offered assurances this will be addressed in future
amendments to the Act.

Fair Pay Agreements can be
initiated by any union which demonstrates support from
either ten percent or 1,000 employees in a given industry or
occupation.

“It’s important no door is left open for
unscrupulous employers to undermine Fair Pay Agreements by
engaging contractors on terms below those of employees. If
any employer misclassifies employees as contractors to avoid
compliance, that employer should face penalties,” says Ms
Davies.

“Fair Pay Agreements are exciting because not
only can they improve working conditions, they can also
extend democracy into the workplace. Workers have a right to
be involved in making decisions about our
lives.”

© Scoop Media

 



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