FIRST Union delegates meet for conference

FIRST Union ConferenceDelegates from FIRST Union, which formed a year ago when FinSec and the National Distribution Union (NDU) merged, attended the union’s biennial conference in Auckland last month.

Secretary Robert Reid describes the union’s agenda as “Decent Work Decent Life” which covers four main areas: jobs for all, a living wage, secure work and safe work. Regarding the living wage Reid says the union will be “promoting not only the concept but to get some real wins on the board in coming years.”

“We are committing to campaign against the most insidious form of employment being labour hire or agency employment, spreading like cancer through all of our industries, and in particular for our union, in transport, logistics and wood. We have achieved recent wins in reducing the use of casual work on jobs, and this issue will remain on our bargaining agenda, as will employment practices that exist across all of our industries where targets programmes are being used to make the life of our members miserable.”

On the agendas last pillar, safe-work, Reid notes that a global health and safety movement was led by workers and job delegates in the 1970s. “It was a liberatory movement; it empowered workers and unions, but over time this has turned into another form of control over workers. It is not the boss that gets killed or maimed at work; it is us and our workmates. Until we turn the current health and safety system on its head, our workplaces will be neither healthy nor safe”

This way of thinking about health and safety contrasts with the governments health and safety taskforce, which is made up of business leaders and one tokenistic unionist. (see NZ’s Injured Workers “Would Fill Eden Park Four Times Over” in the October Issue of The Spark or online here


  1. Don Franks says:

    Good report on union office politics latest.
    I was not aware the Robert Reid had been rolled by this new interloper.

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