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Access free-for-all grates with farmers


Common courtesy and sound workplace and biosecurity safety practice is thrown out the window with proposed new employment laws reported back to Parliament this week, Federated Farmers says.

"There’s been little or no fuss with current laws that enable union representatives to enter a farm or any other workplace to talk to workers after liaising with the owner or manager about a suitable time," Feds employment spokesman Chris Lewis says.

"But under the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, union representatives can just bowl into a busy shearing or milking shed when they feel like it, with no need to give notice or seek permission. Not only is that discourteous and a recipe for friction, but it can be dangerous when staff are flat tack with machinery and animals."

The Bill also removes the 90-day trial arrangements for businesses employing more than 20 people, which will be a barrier to employers willing to take a punt on a job applicant with a chequered work history or limited qualifications.

"It’s the access without notice or permission clauses which will really grate with farmers," Chris says.

"It’s a non-fix for a non-existent problem."

"Willy-nilly access to farm properties, which are generally also the owning family’s home, seems to be a flavour of the moment. Whether it’s Fish & Game people taking a weekend off from running down our sector to access waterways, visitors to the High Country treating private farmland as the national estate and now MPI inspectors not even needing a warrant or reason to search and seize, farming families’ quiet enjoyment of their land appears to be up for grabs."

ENDS




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