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Union reaction to battle for fairness shocks EMA

Union reaction to battle for fairness shocks EMA

EMA says it is shocked at the reaction by the CTU and EPMU to its campaign in defence of the majority of workers who can't afford to join KiwiSaver.

"We are amazed and disappointed at the reactionary, negative response by the unions in our battle to protect the rights of lower paid people who can't afford to join KiwiSaver," said Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern)

"Our campaign is totally for the members of such as the Unite Union, who are often ineligible to join it, plus others who can't afford it or are over 65.

"We would support any legislation that deals specifically with the few employers that Mallard and the unions allege are pocketing employer contributions from their employees' total remuneration, or take home pay, where the employer and employee have not agreed in good faith to increase employees' total remuneration to cover it.

"The straw arguments put up by both the CTU and EPMU are misleading and false.

"Its amazing to us that the CTU, the EPMU and the Labour government want to ensure lower income workers are not going to be permitted an increase in their pay to bring them up to the same level as those who join KiwiSaver thereby picking up their employers contribution.

As Michael Chamberlain, principal of KiwiSaver provider Aventine said in yesterday's NZ Herald 'I have real concerns that the proposals announced by the minister may lead to major complications and unintended consequences with managing employment relations and remuneration strategies.'

"He said 'the government should allow employers to go ahead with building KiwiSaver into total remuneration packages but should focus on stopping employers that have docked the pay of their staff to cover KiwiSaver contributions.'

"We could not agree more.

"But we have seen no evidence that employers are docking their employees' total remuneration. When Mr Mallard was challenged to produce names back in April (on Campbell Live) he declined.

"If the minister proceeds with the changes, the worst case scenario is that those who can't afford to join KiwiSaver will be discriminated against, because those who can afford to join will have to be paid four per cent more.

"We agree with other commentary that if Mallard's proposed changes go ahead there will be a clear conflict between the Employment Relations Act and the KiwiSaver Act."


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