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Labour Day bittersweet for Kiwis - Fenton

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

2012 marks Labour Day’s 112th year, yet the celebration will be bittersweet for Kiwi workers, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues.

"It’s been another tough year for New Zealanders, with thousands of layoffs, rising costs, stagnant wages and attacks on employment rights.

"We’ve seen some of the worst industrial disputes in a decade, with the Ports of Auckland workers still trying to settle a collective agreement, weeks of wages lost to Talleys AFFCO workers, and even rest home workers having to fight for paltry pay increases.

"We certainly can’t celebrate progress on better jobs and higher incomes this Labour Day. For many workers, an 8-hour day, which gave rise to the first Labour Day, is just an impossible dream.

"Too many New Zealanders are working longer hours for less pay, with single parents, students and professionals juggling two or three low wage jobs. Worse still, 162,000 New Zealanders are out of work altogether. That’s not good enough.

"To add insult to injury, the National-Act Government has launched an attack on young workers this week with its youth rates legislation selling our young people short.

"New Zealanders have a right to feel hard done by. National hasn’t delivered what it promised. Our standard of living is getting worse, not better, and with fewer opportunities, skilled Kiwis are moving across the ditch in their thousands.

"A Labour Government won’t sit back and watch Kiwi talent go wasted. It won’t settle for short-term solutions or a path of decline for our country. It will fight for workers’ rights, and for opportunities here at home for all New Zealanders," Darien Fenton said.

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