Collectively.Thinking – April 2024

Apr 30, 2024

April activities included a minimum wage increase, new Living Wage announcement, a hold on the OCR and a reduction in CPI. 

As always, here are the noteworthy events from April, summarised with links included for your light reading.

1.  Living Wage 2024

While the minimum wage increased by 2%, the Living Wage has had a more substantial increase of $1.80 to $27.80, effective from 1 September 2024. Its calculations are based on supporting the needs of a family made up of two adults and two children on one-and-a-half incomes. The rate is fully recalculated every five years, using market studies. Updates to the hourly rate for the years in between are linked to movement in New Zealand’s average hourly wages.

2.  Pathlab strike in Bay of Plenty

First Union members at Pathlab in the Bay of Plenty at taking action seeking rates comparable to their hospital counterparts. Pathlab provides blood testing and other pathology services in the Western Bay of Plenty area. The offer from the company was 6% backdated to November 2023.

3. BK members settle

Unite members at Burger King have settled their collective agreement with a 50c per hour increase and two union member payments of $200. A number of other matters have also been agreed as part of the bargaining process.

4. Police reject Government offer

More than 75% of Police have rejected the Government’s latest offer. The NZ Police Association have requested to be directed to final offer arbitration – legislation doesn’t allow police to take industrial action.

5. Junior doctors strike

Junior hospital doctors have issued a strike notice for action to be taken in May. The union has said that the majority of doctors will receive a significant pay increase of up to 25%, but they’re taking action for the 300 members not getting the same level of increase. These are doctors training to be specialists in areas that have a big shortage of senior doctors – including psychiatry, radiation oncology and public health.

6. OCR and CPI

With inflation still being high, the Reserve Bank has decided to hold the Official Cash Rate at 5.5%. The goal is to achieve CPI in the target range of 1-3% by the end of 2024. Annual CPI for the year ending March 2024 is 4%. The biggest contributor to this is housing & utilities – with rents having increased at the highest rate since September 1999.

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