At the moment, when you start a job in a union workplace can't be paid less than the going rate in the collective for the first 30 days.
This protection exists to make sure new staff don't get exploited and can't be used to put pressure on wages of existing staff. If National gets its way, this protection will disappear.
The spin is that this is about freedom. The Government says it wants workers to be free. It claims new employees are forced to join the union and this change will give them choice.
The reality is this change has nothing to do with choice for workers. It is about removing choice and allowing employers to drive down wages.
No worker is forced to join a union - we've had voluntary unionism in New Zealand for decades. The 30 day rule simply means people get the union’s protection when they first start so they can't be paid less than the going rate.
The truth is that a new worker is vulnerable, especially if they’re on a 90-day trial. They don’t have the power to demand the going rate, or even to know what the going rate is.
At the moment, the boss can’t exploit that vulnerability to decrease their wage bill. But if the law is changed, employers will be able to pay first one, then another, then another worker to lower wages - and provide worse conditions. The employer will have flexibility. The worker will take what they're given.
The result will be lower wages for everyone. In fact, the Government's own advice says that's what this law will do. With our wages already so low in New Zealand that's the last thing we need.
What you can do
Unions are campaigning to stop these unfair laws and build support for fairness at work. Join our campaign by signing up for action and updates.
1. Sign up to the campaign
2. Come to a rally near you