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Employment Bill good news for casual workers.

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday 10 September 2008

The Maritime Union says a new employment Bill before Parliament is good news for casual workers.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says that many New Zealand workers are struggling with the insecurity of casual work.

The Maritime Union welcomed the Bill which featured increased powers for Labour Inspectors to determine whether workers were fixed-term or permanent employees, and tests to determine whether a worker has progressed from casual to permanent employment.

Mr Hanson says the Bill will also address issues where workers carrying out work for a controlling third party can add that party to a personal grievance, and specifies such workers must be employed on terms and conditions no less favourable than any collective agreement which covers direct employees.

He says this means that employers will not be able to avoid their obligations by contracting out work simply to undermine wages and conditions.

"We see this as a step forward in ensuring all workers are treated fairly and is part of the solution in stopping the creation of an underclass of casualized, short-term workers."

The Maritme Union acknowledges the work put into the casualization issue by Ruth Dyson MP and Peter Brown MP.

Mr Hanson says the problems with casual work are widespread in the maritime industry as well as many other industries.

"Casualization is a major social problem. If a worker is employed on a day to day basis, with no security of income, they are unable to plan their lives or obtain mortgages or loans. This can have major impacts on family life, health and community activities."

Mr Hanson says he would expect any political party that wanted to support New Zealand families would be backing the new Bill.

"We hear a lot from politicians about the need to help Kiwi families, and this is one very practical way that we can ensure hard working New Zealanders have some stability and security in their lives to help bring up their families."


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