FIRST Union elect first Asian NZer to lead major trade union

Press Release – First Union

FIRST Union elects first Asian New Zealander to lead major trade union

FIRST Union, New Zealand’s second-largest private sector trade union, is pleased to welcome its new General Secretary, Dennis Maga, who becomes the first New Zealander of Asian descent to lead a major trade union.

Maga was elected General Secretary in November 2017 and has commenced his first year at the helm of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing trade unions.

“This is such a privilege, and I’m humbled,” said Maga.

“FIRST Union is growing year-on-year. We represent working people in the major retail chains and the major banks, in the trucking industry and the forestry industry.”

FIRST Union represents 28,000 members across many of New Zealand’s most well-known companies.

“It’s my goal to grow our union family and prioritise secure work and pay equity, two essentials to human dignity,” said Maga.

Maga was born in the Philippines and is a well-known activist and union leader helping lead campaigns to improve the lives of migrant workers and end education trafficking. In 2015 he helped lead the dramatic rescue of exploited workers at an Auckland sushi bar.

“With a growing membership base and a new government the future is looking bright for the union movement and for working people.”

“We know one of the best ways to make houses more affordable and learning more accessible is to lift wages and improve working conditions. Together we’re going to continue doing that to ensure more New Zealanders can live secure, prosperous and rewarding lives.”

“The union movement is about struggle, and we’re going to continue that struggle,” said Maga.


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