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Unions the big winners - Anne Knowles

MEDIA RELEASE

14 March 2000

Unions the big winners - Anne Knowles

Unions are the big winners out of the Government's Employment Relations Bill, says Employers' Federation Chief Executive Anne Knowles.

"This Bill creates powerful rights for unions. Only unions can negotiate a collective agreement. Only unions can be party to a collective agreement, or agree to variations to a collective agreement. Only union members can take strike action. Only union members can vote on a multi-employer agreement.

"The Government's intention in giving all these rights to unions has been to fix a power imbalance that it sees between employers and employees.

"However the balance is now being weighted heavily in favour of unions. Employers will be vulnerable to the threat of strikes in support of a multi-employer agreement. They will not be able to replace striking workers. And they will be forced to reveal their financial records and business plans to unions under the guise of good faith bargaining.

"Strikes in support of a multi-employer agreement have the potential to destroy businesses. Being forced to reveal financial information will lead to less competition between employers, meaning price rises and inflation. All this will mean fewer jobs for ordinary New Zealanders.

"While unions may be the winners out of this legislation, both employers and employees have much to lose," Ms Knowles said.

End

Contact Anne Knowles 04 4994111 or 021 425868 Kathryn Asare 04 4994111

Visit our website www.nzef.org.nz for news, views and events


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