Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said that he was disappointed in the National Party’s knee-jerk response to the Government’s announcement of the Fair Pay Agreement working group yesterday.
“I think Mr Bridges and his workplace relations spokesperson didn’t engage their brains before saying they would repeal any tripartite legislation for better industry standards for Kiwis,” Mr Wagstaff said.
“Fair Pay Agreements will protect Kiwi businesses from aggressive competition financed by international capital that siphons profits offshore while pushing down wages to the lowest common denominator. I’m not really sure whether the National Party is saying they support this model of economic ‘flexibility’. Given Bill English is on record saying low wages are our ‘competitive advantage’, Mr Bridges may just be confirming National’s commitment to a low-wage economy.
“The National Party recently showcased the caregiver’s equal pay settlement as one of its crowning achievements- that’s the best recent example we have of what is essentially an industry standard. But then National introduced legislation that would have prevented similar cases, when they realised it would mean big business would have to increase wages to low paid women. I think we’re seeing a similar thing here, where National says they support better living standards for Kiwis, but their gut instincts immediately put the global one percent ahead of working New Zealand families and good local enterprise.”
“Simon Bridges and Scott Simpson need to go away come back with a more mature and constructive response to this well-signaled tripartite announcement. The National Party is out of touch if they think ordinary Kiwis don’t want a line in the sand on exploitative business practices. National seems to be paying more attention to scaremongering from big businesses than to what local industries and communities actually want.”