Today is International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security – a day marked around the world by affiliates of UNI Global, the international union body for the service industries.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, E tū is celebrating our campaign to win Fair Pay Agreements for some of our lowest paid workers, including cleaners and security guards. The Fair Pay Agreements Bill is currently before Select Committee, and E tū members and supporters made over 1,000 written submissions in support of the bill.
While all submitters told their own story, some clear themes came through. Submitters were particularly concerned about low wages, the cost of living, health and safety, workplace stress, safe staffing levels, a lack of respect at work, hours of work, and the ‘race to the bottom’ which sees companies using low wages to stay competitive.
An E tū delegation also made an oral submission to the Select Committee on Monday. E tū member and security guard, Lavinia Kafoa, described why essential workers like her deserved better pay and conditions through Fair Pay Agreements.
“Security workers have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response, enabling the public to stay safe,” Lavinia said.
“We ask that we are paid fairly for the important role that we play in society. We have been given the support of the public and been thanked for the work that we do, but unfortunately this does not pay the bills.
“I hope that Fair Pay Agreements give the opportunity to earn liveable incomes for security guards in Aotearoa.”
E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman, says the whole world is watching.
“We are proud to have the support of UNI Global and other international union bodies as we work to win great Fair Pay Agreement legislation,” Annie says.
Just last week, the ILO gave Fair Pay Agreements a big green light, dismissing a vexatious complaint from a New Zealand business representative. The international employment relations community recognises the importance of sectoral bargaining, and we are thrilled that it will finally return to Aotearoa.”