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Rescuing Unions

Media release 26 January 2004

Rescuing unions

The Employment Relations Law Reform Bill is aimed at rescuing unions, says Business NZ.

Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says it's the only understandable explanation for the bill.

"The bill fundamentally changes employment rules in a complicated, roundabout way that would make sense only to lawyers and union bosses. Perhaps the unions hope no-one will try to understand the bill before it's pushed into law.

"The union monopoly on collective agreements, the requirement to bargain, the requirement to reach a settlement, the imposed settlements and the forced MECAs with subsequent parties clauses - these are all getting very close to the compulsory unionism, compulsory arbitration and national awards of the '70s and '80s.

"This period was the worst for industrial unrest in NZ's history, with work stoppages over this time* nearly five times higher than annual stoppage figures before or since.

"This is a high price to pay to try to boost union membership."

*Strikes and work stoppages in the 1970s and 1980s averaged 345 a year (Statistics NZ)

ENDS

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