Assistance Package Must Address Genuine Needs of Workers

Press Release – Council of Trade Unions

The NZCTU has welcomed the assistance package announced today, but has raised questions about whether it goes far enough to met the genuine needs of workers at this time.Council of Trade Unions media release
28 February 2011

Assistance Package Must Address Genuine Needs of Workers

The NZCTU has welcomed the assistance package announced today, but has raised questions about whether it goes far enough to met the genuine needs of workers at this time.

Peter Conway CTU Secretary said this is a more generous package than last time but it had to be given the scale of this catastrophe.

“One question we have raised is what happens in the situation where an employer is able to offer work, but the worker cannot attend at this time because of the need to support their family, children off school, or other genuine reasons for absence. Surely the wages subsidy should apply to that worker also so that the employer can maintain full pay rather than force that worker to apply to Work and Income for assistance”.

The CTU says the additional support for workers who are made redundant is also welcome.

The CTU had proposed that all wages are covered in this acute phase. Most families live on their full wages each week and costs such as mortgages, rents, petrol and food do not decrease because of the earthquake. Many families will have goods on higher purchase and credit card debt that they were paying off. While the assistance made available today will help towards meeting these costs, there will remain considerable financial stress on working people.

Over 50 union officials met in Christchurch today with CTU Secretary Peter Conway and are gearing up to provide support for workers. Union officials reported a wide range of issues facing working people in the region including transport to work, caring for children when schools are closed, accommodation in the city, concern about redundancies and lack of pay. Other issues include relocation, health and safety, processing ACC claims, and counseling. Unions will meet again next week and continue to work together to offer Christchurch workers practical support and advice.

Marty Braithwaite is acting as the Canterbury Earthquake Coordinator for the NZCTU. His contact details are below.
ENDS

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