Two years ago, the EPMU ran a 5% in '05 campaign which saw 70% of their workers get at least a 5% wage rise. Now they're hoping for a repeat performance this year with the launch of their "fair share '07" campaign. But they're not just after a simple wage rise - with the launch of KiwiSaver later in the year, they will also be pushing for employer contributions to the scheme. It's an excellent idea; some workplaces already provide employer contributions to a retirement package, and extending this down the pyramid and for a portable package which can also be used for a house will make it a lot easier for workers to participate and build their savings. It may also help keep the Reserve Bank's instinct to raise interest rates to keep wages down in check as well.
Business New Zealand is already wailing and gnashing its teeth, complaining about making KiwiSaver an industrial relations issue (how could it not be?) and calling employer contributions "a wage rise by another name" (of course they are, and the EPMU explicitly rcognises that they will be bargained off against cash in the hand and other benefits). But if they want to dig their heels in, that's OK - the EPMU's members will just strike, just like they did two years ago. The 5% in '05 campaign showed that motivated workers can fight for and win concessions from their employers - and with unemployment still at near-record lows, and the economy going well, if they can't make up lost ground now, then when?