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Excitement as security guards initiate for Fair Pay Agreement

Wednesday 29 March 2023, 4:07AM

By E tu

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Security guards have made their voices heard and now have enough signatures to initiate a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) for workers in their occupation.

Since the Fair Pay Agreements Bill was passed in October 2022, more than 1000 security guards across Aotearoa New Zealand have put their signature forward in support of a Fair Pay Agreement.

E tū, the union for security guards, will send the initiation document on their behalf to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on Wednesday.

A Fair Pay Agreement sets minimum pay and conditions for workers across whole industries or occupations by way of bargaining between unions and employer representatives.

E tū delegate and security guard Rosey Ngakopu, who has been campaigning for Fair Pay Agreements for the past four years, says she’s excited it’s finally time to initiate an agreement.

“It’s an awesome feeling – all our hard work has paid off. Fair Pay Agreements will mean we’ll be able to address industry issues in a collective conversation and find possible solutions.

“FPAs are about raising the standards of our working conditions, lifting our pay, skills and training, and making sure we have everything we need on site to work safely and with dignity.

“I can’t wait to get around the bargaining table and start negotiating.”

Annie Newman, an Assistant National Secretary of E tū, says the initiation is a momentous occasion for security guards – one of the most positive changes for these workers in decades – by giving them a say in the conditions for all security guards across the country.

“Our members tell us that they want improved health and safety, more participation in decision-making, and of course, decent wages,” she says.

“Being able to negotiate on these issues in good faith through Fair Pay Agreements, which our members have fought hard for, will be life-changing for security guards.”

A Fair Pay Agreement will also stop the frequent ‘race to the bottom’, so employers can’t compete by paying the lowest wages to win a work contract, as all workers would be paid the same base starting rates, Annie says.