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Minister of Labour has to get off the fence

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Minister of Labour has to get off the fence

Minister of Labour, Paul Swain, has to get off the fence and inform business whether or not the Government supports further changes to the Employment Relations Act, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"In March Mr Swain told employers there would be no more changes to employment legislation," said Employment Services Manager, David Lowe.

"Two weeks later the Government supported taking the changes in the Green's Flexible Working Hours Bill through to the Select Committee.

"EMA has questioned the Minister over this inconsistency.

"The Minister's reply is non-committal, instead referring all questions on the matter to Ruth Dyson, his associate Minister.

"Ruth Dyson's office has said she won't answer the question either until after the Select Committee reports back.

"Select Committee submissions close before the Election, but there will probably be no opportunity to make submissions if the Labour Party wins a third term, then decides to support the Bill.

"But some employers are not making a submission to the Select Committee, instead relying on the Minister's assurances of no more legislation.

"The Government has used this tactic before, specifically regarding its four weeks annual leave proposal.

"Employers submissions to the Select Committee will be entirely different if the Bill is supported by the Government because in that case, it has a high chance of becoming law.

"Employers need to know whether the Government is backing the Green's Flexible Working Hours Bill into law. The question is simple and we would appreciate a straight answer.

"At the least the Chair of the Select Committee must keep submissions open until the Government gets off the fence."


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