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Media Releases

New Zealand union goes global

Date of Release: 
Monday, June 22, 2015

FIRST Union, New Zealand’s second largest private sector union, is going international with the launch of Samoa’s only private sector union, Samoa First Union.

“Samoa First Union is building on the legacy of former private sector unions like the old National Union of Workers,” says Samoa First Union co-ordinator Jerome Mika, “but our union differs because we have the benefit of support from an established union in New Zealand.”

“This means Samoa First Union will be sustainable.”

Secret trade negotiation a backdoor to deregulation

Date of Release: 
Thursday, June 4, 2015

This morning’s leak of documents from the highly secretive Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations are a backdoor to widespread deregulation, according to FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“The documents demonstrate that the government is trying to lock New Zealanders out from deciding how services are regulated, including in FIRST Union’s coverage areas of finance and transport, as well as telecommunications, post and the professions.”

Bank workers' union and community unite to keep open Ruatōria’s last bank

Date of Release: 
Friday, May 29, 2015

If Westpac decides to close its Ruatōria branch, locals will have to drive 200 kilometres to reach the nearest bank says FIRST Union President Syd Keepa.

“We’re standing with the affected workers and the local community to keep their bank branch open.”

“Westpac is the last bank on the rural East Coast. If the bean counters in Auckland or Sydney decide to close the branch then locals are left without banking options,” says Keepa.  

Government must not abandon health and safety reform

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015

While resistance in the National Party caucus delays the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid says there should be no health and safety law exceptions for small businesses and farmers.

“Some MPs within the National Party appear to be pushing to retain the status quo, the same status quo that led to workplace disasters like the Pike River Mine explosion”.

Companies must ensure they are not chartering slave ships – migrant workers’ advocate

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Companies who outsource their New Zealand quota catch to foreign fishing vessels must take more steps to ensure they are not enabling slave fishers says Union Network of Migrant (UNEMIG) workers’ advocate Dennis Maga. 

Recent research from Auckland University has revealed that slave fishing is still happening in New Zealand waters, years after the issue was first exposed.”

Budget 2015: Working people miss out - union

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Returning some of the income that was stolen from beneficiaries in National’s welfare cuts in 1991 is not an adequate way to address poverty or reduce inequality says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid. 

“The government’s decision to lift benefit levels for families receiving state support will mean nothing without stronger action on the housing crisis. Many families will see their extra support eaten up by rising rents”. 

Employer accreditation may not go far enough

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A group representing migrant workers is welcoming the government’s changes to Essential Skills visas, but concerns remain over the content of an accreditation scheme which aims to protect migrant workers against unscrupulous employers.

Lending restrictions leave workers with high housing costs

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FIRST Union is welcoming the Reserve Bank’s new lending restrictions for property investors in Auckland, but believes the Government should be doing more to address the multiple issues that feed into the problem of Auckland’s housing affordability.

“Slowing house price inflation won’t solve the problem for Auckland workers, many of whom are already struggling with the high cost of housing” says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

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