March 15, 2004
Moves to protect workers’ money welcome - union
New Zealand’s largest union is welcoming plans to increase the amount of workers’ money protected when companies collapse, but says that it comes too late to help hundreds of Qantas New Zealand workers.
The Government is proposing increasing to $15,000 the cap on owed wages and holiday pay to $15,000, and including redundancy pay in the equation. At the moment, the maximum each worker can claim as a preferential creditor is $6000 for wages and holiday pay. Any extra money owed – including the entire redundancy payment – is treated as an unsecured debt
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that it was about time the law was revised to protect workers’ rights.
“We have several hundred members who are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the collapse of Qantas New Zealand nearly three years ago,” he said.
“As unsecured creditors, they have to line up behind secured creditors for what little might be left.”
Mr Little said that the union was still keen to talk to employers about establishing a trust fund to cover money owed to workers in company collapses, as had been done in Australia.