For immediate release: 18 September 2015
Union backs community calls to lift refugee intake
New Zealand’s second-largest private sector union is backing calls to significantly lift the refugee intake amidst reports
that a family of climate change refugees could be deported within the next week.
“We’re standing in solidarity with refugees across the world,” says FIRST Union Secretary Robert Reid.
“The apparent decision to deport a family of climate change refugees before their case is heard at the United Nations is
unethical. It isn’t in the spirit of social justice.”
“Nor is the government’s recent announcement that it will reluctantly accept 600 more Syrian refugees. This is pathetic
in light of the scale of the global refugee crisis,” says Reid.
“This is a human crisis that demands an urgent and compassionate response from our government.”
“Western colonialism, economic pressure and repeated military interventions have helped create the current crisis. As
part of this Western club New Zealand has a responsibility to help those who are fleeing the devastation in their home
“This means the government must immediately upgrade and expand refugee settlement centres and get ready to play our
part. New Zealand has the means, the only question is whether it has the political will,” says Reid.
FIRST Union is encouraging its members to attend the “Welcome Ten Thousand Now
” community event in Aotea Square on 19 September and other events around the country.
Putting Workers First
FIRST Union is New Zealand's second-largest private sector trade union.
Formed in 2011 after the merger between the National Distribution Union and Finsec, FIRST Union represents 27,000
workers in the Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood), Retail, Stores, Transport and Logistics sectors.
FIRST Union is also affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and runs several networks including the Union
Network of Migrants, the Runanga, Fono and Womens' Committee. In 2015 FIRST Union launched Samoa First Union, Samoa's
only private sector union.
Join FIRST Union today for higher pay, better conditions and more say at work.