Nat MP Points Out Bill Fixes Non Existent Problem
National MP Points Out Dr Mapp's Bill Fixes Non
National MP Paula Bennett today expressed concern regarding the fate of workers that could be dismissed for refusing to undertake unsafe work should her colleague Dr Wayne Mapp's Employment Probation Bill become law.
After advising NZ Council of Trade Unions President Ross Wilson of her concern regarding workers forced out of employment over health and safety issues Ms Bennett then agreed with the CTU's submission that there were in fact very few cases of personal grievances being taken in the first three months.
"I would back that up from my own experience," Ms Bennett informed the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.
Ms Bennett however considered that in order to fix an apparently, in her own opinion, non-existent problem Dr Mapp's bill would assist young people into gainful employment.
This view was shared by her colleague Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson who assured the committee that he wanted to hire "young Maoris" on his building sites but was put off by the fact that he could not get rid of them easily enough.
Mr Clarkson illustrated his point with an anecdote about a worker continually turning up drunk on a building site. Due to an interruption from committee chair Mark Gosche it was not entirely clear whether Mr Clarkson's story was based on fact or whether he was talking hypothetically.
Fortunately for the safety of Mr Clarkson's other workers, should his story have been based on fact, the Tauranga MP was informed by the CTU's Ross Wilson that the sort of behaviour he was describing could result in workers being sacked on the spot.
Listen to National MPs Paula Bennett and Bob Clarkson tackling the problems of employment in New Zealand
Prior to Ross Wilson's submission to the committee the Bill's creator Dr Wayne Mapp explained that his legislation would assist in stopping New Zealander's fleeing to Australia for better wages and working conditions.
Dr Mapp pointed out that Australian workers had a period of six months where they had no redress for being sacked. In Dr Mapp's opinion the ability to hire ex-felons and/or gang members of Maori descent and then fire them easily should they prove unsatisfactory in the workplace would assist in driving New Zealand's productivity to new heights.
Dr Mapp's alleged concern at high Maori unemployment was treated with scepticism by Sharon Clair, CTU Vice President Maori who told the committee that "current Government policies have reduced Maori unemployment from 19.3% to 8.7% today"
Ms Clair considered that Maori would be better off with more investment in "education and skills training".
Dr Mapp seemed unable to explain why more workers would want to stay in New Zealand after their right to take a case to the Employment Relations Authority had been taken away by his legislation besides pointing out New Zealand would be "more productive."
Various Labour MPs pointed out that workers would be less inclined to take on new jobs should they face being fired at will in the first few months with little option of re-dress.
It was further pointed out by Mr Wilson that if an employer fired someone, who for example, refused to carry out a task that may involve affecting their health, not only would they have no redress but the sacked employee would face a 12 week stand down for the unemployment benefit.
How employees who were sacked would explain their predicament to future employers was another conundrum the members of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee were left to ponder.
Listen to National's Dr Wayne Mapp talking about probationary employment legislation
Listen to the CTU's Ross Wilson outlining his views on Dr Mapp's probationary employment legislation