By Bill Newson, E tū National Secretary
Welcome to this publication setting out our vision for Decent Work. This book follows our ‘Decent Work Summit – Mauri Tū Mauri Ora’ in February 2022, which was moved online due to heightened risk from Covid-19.
Shifting the Decent Work Summit online was indicative of the need to be adaptive in how we face our organisational challenges during Covid-19 and move towards a digital future.
The pace of change in the world of work during the Covid-19 experience has been remarkable. Face masks, contact tracing, work proximity rules, PCR and rapid antigen testing, vaccination policies, passes, and boosters are all tangible examples of how things can move quickly to become a new reality.
The pandemic has accentuated and accelerated a similar rapid pace of change in the introduction of automated technologies, artificial intelligence, work organisation, workforce skills, and climate-sustainable production processes and products. This previously existing trend will be compounded by productivity and innovation impacts in the recovery from Covid-19.
The Government, businesses, and unions need to consider what is required to meet this transition fairly and effectively.
The challenges that we face together in the future of work, such as technological transformation, flexible work organisation, redesigned work processes, and changing skill requirements, are underpinned by a more diverse and demographically changing New Zealand workforce.
Working people are demanding greater respect for the fundamental integrity of the person both individually and collectively at work, as well as good pay and conditions. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) describes this as “better prospects for personal development, freedom for people to express their concerns, and participate in the decisions that affect their lives” while at work.
Working people have aspirations for a decent life centred around Decent Work, and working people must be at the heart of a Just Transition as we face the challenges of today and the future.
You will read about what Decent Work looks like – decent incomes, stable employment and supportive transition between jobs, health and safety and wellbeing, and the ability to have a genuine, trusted say at work. I hope you can use this publication as a resource, share it and come back to it.