Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Unions go 'back to the past' for ERA review


Unions go 'back to the past' for ERA review

The union movement is dusting off its old wish list for the review of the Employment Relations Act, says Business NZ. Executive Director Anne Knowles says some of the extreme provisions that were struck out of the Employment Relations Bill appear to be now resurfacing in time for the ERA review, planned for this year.

A CTU-sponsored paper released today by Wellington academic Gordon Anderson argues for changes to the provisions relating to unjustified dismissals, saying that the test for unjustified dismissals now favours employers and calling for substantial increases in compensation awards to workers unjustifiably dismissed.

Ms Knowles says the claims are wildly out of touch with reality.

"The test for unjustified dismissals has been clarified over the last decade, but not in employers' favour. Employers must still bear the burden of proof - they are deemed to be guilty until they can prove their innocence to an objective third party. Other factors also work against them, for example, it is very easy to make an unjustified dismissal claim against your employer, especially when such a claim reduces the stand-down period before an unemployment benefit may be accessed. It's easier still given the growing use of contingency fees by those acting on behalf of disgruntled employees - "we'll charge a fee only if we win the case." Then there are the procedural hurdles an employer must jump - many substantive cases have failed because the employer missed a single procedural step in an otherwise justified dismissal," Ms Knowles said. "There is no way that the current law favours employers.

"The Anderson/CTU paper also recommends that the minimum payout for an unjustified dismissal should be increased substantially - perhaps to the $20,000 level recently recommended by the Chief Judge of the Employment Court. If this happened, it would be a disaster for the economy. 93% of NZ workplaces employ 10 people or fewer - they are by definition small employers many of whom would be lucky to pull $20,000 from the business in a good year. Setting a $20,000 'floor' for compensation in unjustified dismissal cases would make most small employers choke at the thought of ever hiring again.

"This 'back to the past' mentality does not augur well for the ERA review," Ms Knowles said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Elsewhere:


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>