NZCTU welcomes commitment to labour standards within the NZ/EU Free Trade Agreement

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has welcomed the signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union that requires New Zealand to make “continued and sustained efforts” to ratify the fundamental International Labour Organisation Conventions.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said the move demonstrated the Government’s commitment to protecting working people.

“This is the first time that New Zealand has signed a Free Trade Agreement with such a strong commitment, and where both sides are required to report to each other on the delivery of these commitments.”

“These fundamental commitments include issues that most New Zealanders would think should already be part of our law.

“Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. The effective abolition of child labour. This FTA is the first time that we have agreed to deliver on these commitments, and the NZCTU will be asking that they are delivered as quickly as the benefits of free trade are delivered.”

The NZCTU also welcomes the commitments within the EU NZ FTA to health and safety, ending gender discrimination, climate change, and Māori economic development.

“These issues have been ignored for too long by previous free trade agreements, even though they are core to New Zealanders wellbeing. This FTA requires the creation of Domestic Advisory Groups to oversee its implementation. The CTU will be ensuring that these interests are heard by the government so that this FTA can become a model for future agreements.”

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