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ERA reform is about fairness at work

Tuesday January 27 2004.

For immediate release

ERA reform is about fairness at work

Simon Carlaw, in his press release of 26 January, states that the Employment Relations Reform Law Bill's purpose is to rescue unions.

Unions would say that the bill is about fairness at work and allowing workers to organise to make sure they get it. And what is so bad about that?

For almost a decade after the passing of the Employment Contracts Act, employers used expressions like 'a level playing field' to describe inequitable bargaining positions.

After nine years of failing to deliver more gain in return for more and more pain, the public got sick of them, voted their policies out and replaced them with more responsive ones which, among other things, attempted to restore some equity to workers.

The changes to the ERA will not reintroduce compulsory unionism or necessarily mean a return to frequent stoppages. However, it takes two to make a stoppage and employers advocates like Simon Carlaw - intent on showing the unfair face of New Zealand employers - seem set on returning us to those bad old days.

Unions believe that the Employment Relations Act offers a fair and constructive employment path that will benefit everyone in the long run - employers, workers and the community. Employers should not be afraid to join us on it.


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