Right now, in New Zealand, there are a lot of working people who are missing out on basic rights at work. That’s because they’ve been hired as contractors instead of employees by companies who are taking advantage of how the law currently works. Those contractors do the same work as employees - sometimes they work alongside them. But contractors can be paid less, fired more easily and don’t receive holidays, sick leave or KiwiSaver contributions.
This kind of “dependent” contracting is happening to cleaners, security guards, food workers, couriers, drivers, IT workers and many others.
And because contractors can have their contract cancelled with little or no notice (unlike employees) they find it harder to ask for better conditions. If they do, they might be dumped.
Right now the Government is asking for feedback on some options to strengthen legal protections for contractors. They’ve got 79 specific questions they want to ask. But we think it boils down to three key points.
- Do more to stop people being wrongly employed as contractors.
- Give all contractors the power to bargain collectively (like unions do) so they can improve their conditions.
- Don’t create a new legal category between contractor and employer - that will just make it worse.
You can read more about those 3 points here. And the Government’s consultation is only open until Friday 14 February 2020. Use the form opposite now to send you views to them. Let them hear about the reality for contactors and dependent contractors so they provide protections for all working people!
We can have better work lives in New Zealand. A good way to do that is better employment law that’s fairer for everyone. The Council of Trade Unions has shown what that should look like in a recent report - A Framework for Fairness. And now the Government has finally released its response to the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group report (that, itself, was released in 2018)... and they want to consult some more.
That’s fine - apart from the fact that some of the options they are consulting on would substantially weaken working people’s ability to improve their pay and conditions.
Now we have just SIX WEEKS to ensure that we get the law we need for all Kiwis. And we need your help.
There are some basic principles of fairness that should not be up for grabs. That’s why we released our Framework for Fairness outlining these principles and it’s why we are asking you and every other person who believes in a fair deal to tell the Government to get this law right.
To the Prime Minister and Cabinet:
It’s time to do the right thing by working people, and the many good employers in New Zealand, and deliver us Fair Pay Agreements. We need Fair Pay Agreement law that makes life better for working Kiwis. We can’t continue with the low-wage, low-training, model that has cost us all so much.
The law our elected leaders make to do this must abide by six basic principles of good sector bargaining:
1) Fair Pay Agreements will enable working people to improve their terms and conditions of employment, develop their skills and have these skills recognised.
2) Working people will have a voice through their unions to negotiate Fair Pay Agreements.
3) Fair Pay Agreements should cover every person working and every employer in a defined industry or occupation.
4) Fair Pay Agreements need to be about more than pay rates – they need to provide a minimum standard for decent incomes, career pathways and good working lives for New Zealanders.
5) If union members and employers in an industry or sector can’t agree on what’s fair, they will be able to go through an independent assessment process to determine a Fair Pay Agreement.
6) If a Fair Pay Agreement is reached, it should be final.
Working people and their families have waited too long for a fair bargaining system. Please, take this incredibly important step to get the Government honour their promise to working people.
On Friday 27 September school students around New Zealand are striking for our climate. We all want the planet to be a healthy place to live and work - for us, for our children, for our grandchildren. And, as working people, we understand the power of collective action.
Now young people are taking the same power that has delivered decent pay and working conditions and using it to ensure we can all have a healthy planet. Show our support for these young people and show that, together, we can protect our planet.
I want to celebrate young people using the power of the collective to help ensure we have a healthy planet.
So I add my name to those who stand alongside students striking for climate action.
In recent years tens of thousands of New Zealand women have won equal pay. There is a draft law in Parliament right now that wants to help even more Kiwi women do the same. But that draft law has got some important things wrong. It needs to be fixed quickly - before it gets set in stone. So we’re calling directly on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to step in and fix it. Show your support by adding your name below and send her a message that this issue is black and white - we either have good equal pay law or we don’t!
Dear Prime Minister
We need to ensure that everyone is paid fairly, regardless of gender. I know this is the vision for New Zealand that you have.
There are lots of good parts to the Equal Pay Amendment Bill our Parliament is now considering. But, unfortunately, there are some problems that need fixing. These are big problems that could stop thousands of New Zealand women from accessing their right to equal pay. I don’t want that to happen.
1) The law shouldn’t delay access to the courts when bargaining doesn’t go well.
2) The law should give more support to sector-wide equal pay settlements, compared to settlements that go employer-by-employer.
3) The law needs to follow existing rules about collective bargaining - not add new ones.
4) The law should support a process where equal pay settlements can be checked to make sure they are up to scratch.
5) The law shouldn’t make women who already have equal pay claims in progress go back to the beginning and start again.
Jacinda, I think you are the perfect person to sort this out. You have clearly stated your unwavering support for equal pay on many occasions. So I am calling on you to commit to fixing the problems with the draft law so we get new equal pay law that delivers justice for all New Zealand women - something I know we both want.
The Government is changing the law controlling loan sharks. All of the changes are good, but they’ve missed out the one big change that’s needed to make a real difference - an interest rate cap.
The good news is we live in a democracy and, before the law is finalised, you can help fix it!
We’ve made that easy. You can make your submission right here. We’ve drafted some text to start with but feel free to add your words to it – if you personalise it, it will count as an individual submission. If you want to get into a bit more detail, BERL has produced a full report on this issue.  [http://www.together.org.nz/berl]
And please, if you can, make sure you tell them you want to appear in person. It’s a very powerful way to speak up for what’s right.
Every day in New Zealand predatory lending leaves people suffering under huge interest rates and penalties. That's money going into loan sharks' profits when it should be going into putting food on the table, paying the rent, or vital visits to the doctor.
It's wrong and the Government is taking steps to fix it with a new law. There's only one problem. Without an interest rate cap the law won't work.
Tell the Government, and the Minister in charge of this legislation Kris Faafoi, that to do the right thing they need to put an interest rate cap on the loan sharks that are hurting our families.
To the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs,
We know you want to do the right thing by the many people and their families who are being preyed on by loan sharks. Please, take the one simple step that will achieve this: introduce an interest rate cap.
Please, let's stop loan sharks together.
The strong demand for people who can work in the construction industry means there are currently thousands of overseas workers in New Zealand helping to build much-needed homes. But the work visas that these people are given expose them to greater risk of exploitation.
The Government has committed to do more to protect migrant workers. That's why we're asking the Government to issue longer work visas and spare migrant workers from uncertainty and pressure of immigration costs.
To the Hon Iain Lees-Galloway - Minister of Immigration
I implore you to start issuing 3-year work visas to migrant workers in the construction industry. We also need you to introduce better pay rates and regulation of pastoral care providers to address the current living conditions of many of migrant workers.
The contribution migrant workers make to Aotearoa-New Zealand’s housing and construction needs is invaluable. By making these three changes - 3 year visas, better pay rates, and regulation of pastoral care providers - you will support their vital contribution to our country by protecting them from exploitation, undue stress, uncertainty and the heavy cost of visa and consultancy fees.
People working at Sistema do 60 hours a week for minimum wage, minimum sick leave, with minimum health and safety. With this company it’s all about providing the very least they can without breaking the law. People leave exhausted and in tears. It’s not right.
You’ll know the name Sistema - it’s pretty likely to be stamped on food containers, water jugs and other plastics in your kitchen. People like you are their customers. They rely on you to make a profit.
That means when you speak their CEO will listen. Use that power. Put your name to an open letter to Sistema’s CEO telling him to negotiate a CEA with decent pay and conditions.
To Drew Muirhead
You need to pay your staff properly. Sit down with them and negotiate a decent collective employment agreement. It’s the right thing to do for them, and for your company’s brand.
in 2015 Helen Kelly agreed to let documentary maker Tony Sutorius - the award winning director of Campaign - into her life to document her last year of activism.
The result is Helen Kelly - Together - a stunning affirmation of both her dedication to justice, and her friendships with those she fought alongside.
Equal parts moving and inspiring, funny and tragic, Helen Kelly - Together is as much about what it is to be a Kiwi as it is about Helen’s astounding life. It is a cultural landmark and a piece of New Zealand’s film history.
You can sign up here to keep updated about the film and for the chance to run your own screening.
Please, join us to become part of Helen Kelly - Together.
YES! I want to be a part of Helen Kelly - Together
It has been months since the Government received advice on how to implement Fair Pay Agreements that would set fair minimum pay and other terms and conditions for working people.
The research shows that Fair Pay Agreements could make huge change for New Zealanders - higher incomes would mean less child poverty and more money in our communities, better training would mean a more skilled workforce and would help drive innovation.
These are all things this Government has said it wants to achieve. But we’re still waiting for these agreements to become law. Tell them it’s time to walk the talk. Tell them to put Fair Pay Agreements into law.
To the Coalition Government:
Getting Fair Pay right will mean working people and their families are better off, a better competitive environment for businesses who want to invest and innovate, and a larger share of New Zealand’s wealth flowing back into our communities.
We need Fair Pay Agreements that:
● Cover all working people in an industry so that no business can make low wages and low investment a competitive advantage.
● Encourage skills training, and workforce investment so that we can do better as working people and as a nation.
● Rein in the cowboys and fly-by-night operators who exploit working people and undermine good employment, harming good business and our regional economies.
● Get fair pay and a fair deal back to the working people who hold up our industries so they can have stable, happy and healthy lives again.
You have the opportunity to make an enormous positive difference to New Zealanders and to our economy. Please make the most of this opportunity to build better lives for all of us.