The biennial conference of the Council of Trade Unions has opened with a call to fight for workers' rights and against wage inequality.
CTU president Helen Kelly told delegates the top 1% of New Zealanders hold more wealth than the bottom 60%, which she said is plain wrong.
She also said delegates need to fight any opposition to collective bargaining in the workplace.
Ms Kelly said international research shows there is more equality in communities where there is good collective bargaining.
She urged low wage workers to fight for better conditions and not simply be grateful to have a job.
Ms Kelly also attacked the Government, saying it appears to support some businesses providing employment as a charity to workers.
She said this was evident during the 'Hobbit' saga with actors demanding better conditions, which ended when the Government did a deal with Warner Bros.