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Media Releases

Classing kava as a drug is discriminatory - union

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

After failing to consult with unions or community groups, the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency will begin testing workers for kava use says FIRST Union organiser Jerome Mika.

“Goodman Fielder has advised FIRST Union members at Quality Bakers in Dunedin that the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency will begin testing for kava”.

“But kava should not be classed as a drug” says Mika.

Employment figures hide prevalence of insecure work

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Today’s unemployment figures are hiding the prevalence of insecure work in New Zealand, according to FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

The figures show that despite growing labour force participation the unemployment rate remains steady from the last quarter at 5.8%.

“We’re glad that unemployment isn’t growing again as it did last year, however we’re concerned with the growth of insecure work in many of our sectors,” says Reid.

ANZ announces interim results amidst potential hours reductions

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

While ANZ announces an impressive half year result, hours reductions remain a threat for ANZ workers in New Zealand says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams.   

“Last week ANZ concluded consultation with workers at the bank’s Whangarei branches on a proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions”.

Company closure leaves workers in the dark

Date of Release: 
Monday, May 4, 2015

While creditors and contractors take action to recover their assets in Kiwi Forestry International and Harvest Pro, workers in the subsidiary company Smith & Davies are still in the dark over their employment status says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

Unite defeats zero hour contracts, but new examples emerge

Date of Release: 
Friday, May 1, 2015

FIRST Union is congratulating Unite Union on their win against zero hour contracts at McDonalds, says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“We are standing in solidarity with Unite Union on May Day”.

“But the issues of insecure work and insecure hours remain. Low contracted hours are just as common as zero hours and just as unfair and exploitative,” says Reid.

“In the retail sector workers are regularly kept on low hours. When new hours become available retail employers often opt for new workers who are then put on low hours as well”.

ANZ proposes casualisation in Whangarei stores

Date of Release: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015

ANZ workers in Whangarei could see their incomes drop by 20 to 40 percent if the bank’s proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions goes ahead says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams.

“Last week ANZ proposed a reduction in the number of full time positions at the Whangarei and Bank Street branches”. 

“If the proposal goes ahead workers will see their hours cut and many will be forced to look for work elsewhere” says Tali Williams.

Potential job losses at Carter Holt Harvey subsidiary pending sale

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In response to media inquiries FIRST Union can confirm that members at Bestwood, a division of Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts, have been advised of a proposal by Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) to sell the division to New Zealand Panel Group. 

The sale could see the closure of the Wiri and Rangiora production facilities with a loss of approximately 40 jobs.  The proposal would see only the Kopu site retain production with around 10 workers remaining.

Low inflation means it's time for a pay rise

Date of Release: 
Monday, April 20, 2015

Low inflation means it’s time for a pay rise

With inflation falling for the second quarter in a row now is the perfect time for a pay rise for workers says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

New data today from Statistics New Zealand reveals that annual inflation has dipped to 0.1 percent, well below the Reserve Bank’s 1-3% targeted inflation rate.

“This government has done everything it can to keep our national wage bill low, including attacks on collective bargaining and significant cuts to government spending” says Reid.

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