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Employment law anarchy must stop, says union

March 29, 2004
Media Release

Employment law anarchy must
stop, says union

New Zealand’s largest union is calling on the Government to come down hard on employment law anarchy.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little today issued a call for the Government – both politicians and officials – to send a clear message that employment laws will be rigorously enforced.

“There has been an on-going campaign for some months by employer groups seeking to undermine laws providing protections and benefits for working people,” Mr Little said.

“Ministers in this Government need to be clear that they are legislating for a balanced set of rules for workplace relations, and relevant government departments need to be adequately resourced to enforce the law.”

Examples cited by Mr Little included:

- Comments in today’s Dominion Post newspaper that some employers will ignore the new Holidays Act, guaranteeing that workers will be paid at least time-and-a-half for working on public holidays.
- Claims by EMA Northern chief executive Alasdair Thompson that 70 per cent of employers ignore the Employment Relations Act.
- A campaign by some business organisations against changes to the Employment Relations Act, and an attempt by the EMA Northern to bully its way through the select committee process.

“For a community that’s been swept up by ‘one-for-all” rhetoric, to simply decide not to obey laws you don’t like smacks of rank hypocrisy,” Mr Little said.

“It’s alright for members of larger unions, such as the EPMU, who have the resources to vigorously enforce their rights, but many workers are dependent on their employers playing fair and abiding by the rules, and they need the protection of government inspectors to enforce their minimum rights,” Mr Little said.


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