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Employers Speak Out - ER Law Ref Bill

Employers Speak Out - Employment Relations Law Reform Bill -

The Employers and Manufacturers Association Central spoke out today against the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill, in a meeting with the Government Select Committee hearing feedback on the Bill.

"Clearly we don't want this Bill to proceed as it is going to be extremely harmful to

* ...the freedom of choice of the majority of New Zealanders

* ...the genuine improvements in relationships between employers and their employees"

* ...maintaining a focus on productivity and the value employees add to their employer, be they not-for-profit, government or small business"

says Paul Winter, CEO of EMA Central.

"Government says the 59 page Bill is going to proceed. A fine tuning of what is already a 190 page Act that they themselves wrote. If they insist on change then we have strongly recommended ...

* that there are concepts like "good faith" that will never be satisfactorily defined in legislation and are better established through guidelines.

* Tripartite discussions between Department of Labour officials, and employee and employer representatives can constructively establish these guidelines.

"As it stands, we believe the proposed 'solution' (the Bill) is worse than the perceived problems it was intended to fix. Nowhere in this legislative process have the committee sought the voice of the silent majority of employees in New Zealand employed on individual agreements. 73% of employees in a recent and credible Government Growth and Innovation Advisory Board survey indicated they are happily employed. They gave a rating of 7 out of 10 or higher to "My employer values my work."

Around 20% of New Zealand employees choose to belong to unions. The Bill precludes employers passing on the same deal that was negotiated with the union to their non union employees.

"We don't think a very large number of small employers should be forced by this legislation to settle collective agreements with unsustainable outcomes. Good faith should be about fair dealing on both sides - no about a prescribed union outcome."

"Our members have very clearly told us the impact of this Bill on their enterprise would be negative. Only 1% assesses the Bill's impact as positive. Of most concern are the requirement to conclude collective agreements that are not sustainable for their enterprises and being precluded from passing on the same terms and conditions to non union employees".

* ...Good employees have always been highly valued.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Central) Inc.

Background: EMA Central is a member owned and managed organisation. We represent business and employer interests in all matters affecting enterprise operations, from Taranaki and Gisborne in the north to Nelson in the south. EMA (Central) represents 2278 enterprises who employ 120,000 people.

EMA Central has been working for employers and manufacturers at a regional and national government level for more than a century.

EMA Central is a founder member of Business New Zealand and joins forces with other business and employer groups (including EMA Northern) to represent the interests of small, medium, and large New Zealand enterprises.

EMA Central assists employers to reduce business risk; by providing advice and services enabling employers to get to the real issues that allow an enterprise to prosper.

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