28 May 2015

More support needed for Maori workers, says CTU

9:26 pm on 28 May 2015

A leading Māori trade unionist wants Māori-owned companies to support the lower paid more, because those workers are predominantly Māori.

Syd Keepa, who is Vice-President Māori of the Council of Trade Unions, said successful Māori-owned commercial enterprises, both private and iwi-lead, have economic clout, and they can do something to assist lower paid Māori.

He said the financial position of those companies was growing by the day and they did have influence.

"Because you know, and I know, that those companies only listen to people with money," Mr Keepa said.

"If those iwi got involved in trying to make a better life, more wages and better communities, then yes, I would support that."

Mr Keepa said the Māori-owned companies can influence other companies into paying workers more by flexing their own purchasing power with those companies.

"If they think about their own people and how their own people are living today, then I would say that they should be influencing those overseas corporates to pay their workers a lot better than they are paying them now."

He said a lot of low-paid workers, both Māori and Pākehā, were being exploited and cited zero-contracts as one way.