FIRST Union media statement: 2 February 2018
Labour-hire bill could lift thousands out of poverty
One of New Zealand’s largest trade unions is welcoming a private member’s bill that could give security to thousands of
Labour MP Kieran McAnulty’s Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill was pulled from the ballot on
Thursday and will ensure workers in triangular employment can enjoy collective agreement coverage and personal grievance
Triangular employment is where an employer, for example a labour-hire company, contracts the services of their employee
to a host company, for example a logistics company.
“We’re very happy this bill was pulled from the ballot and our members are already excited about what its passage might
mean for their working lives,” said FIRST Union spokesperson Lisa Meto Fox.
“People stuck in triangular employment often don’t know whether they’re working tomorrow, or next week, or next month.
There’s no security. But this bill could go a long way towards ensuring people are guaranteed work under a site’s
collective agreement. This could help lift thousands of families out of poverty and insecurity.”
FIRST Union often negotiates “automatic conversion” rights in collective agreements where, after a set period of time,
labour-hire workers on a site are converted to employees.
“We’re supporting Kieran McAnulty’s bill to first reading and we’re calling on Parliament to send it to select
committee. We’ll be submitting in favour of including the bill as part of the government’s wider employment reform
“If this bill passes it’s going to mean companies like The Warehouse are going to have to change their practices,” said
Last year the Employment Court made a landmark decision finding it is likely that a host company may be deemed the
employer instead of the labour-hire company where “the work is for an indefinite duration, is expected to be provided
and is expected to be performed by the individual” and “a significant degree of supervision, control and direction is
exercised by the host [company]”.
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.