24 January 2002
ERA – framework for NZ’s growth
“The Employment Relations Act provides the necessary framework for the future growth New Zealand needs,” said Council of Trade Unions secretary, Paul Goulter today.
Commenting on an NZIER survey on the impact of the ERA released today, Paul Goulter said:
“Unemployment is down since the ERA and wages are trending slightly up, but the real gains of our industrial framework, the sustainable gains that come from a high/skill, high/wage economy, will take longer than 12 months to be realised.”
Paul Goulter said the Employment Contracts Act had to go not only because it exploited our workforce, but because it was bad for business.
“The short term, opportunistic approach of the ECA was demonstrated in the lack of commitment business showed to training during the ECA era,” he said.
“We needed a change to an industrial framework which is about fairness and balance in employment relations and an investment in upskilling our workforce and rewarding workers appropriately.”
Commenting on the work stoppage figures released today, Paul Goulter said they were predictably up from the very low figures of last year.
“Last year we had the lowest work stoppage figures for the past decade,’ he said.
“This year the number is closer to the 1997 figure after five years of the Employment Contracts Act, but nowhere near the figure of 72 in 1996.”
Paul Goulter said the increase in stoppages was due to a tight labour market, a transition to a different industrial framework, including an increase in worker confidence, and some employers failing to recognise the new environment.