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Labourr/Alliance Brouhaha Bad For Workers - NATS

21 January 2000

Hon Max Bradford National's Labour Spokesman

LABOUR/ALLIANCE BROUHAHA BAD FOR NZ WORKERS

For the first time both Labour and the Alliance have confirmed that they intend to reintroduce compulsory unionism into New Zealand workplaces, National's labour spokesman Max Bradford said today.

"Before the election both parties rejected our view that the repeal of the Employment Contracts Act and its replacement by the Labour/Alliance industrial legislation would mean New Zealand workers will have to join a union if they wish to be covered by a collective employment contract," Mr Bradford said.

"In the last day or so a brouhaha between Labour and the Alliance has erupted. Labour is making it absolutely clear they intend to proceed with legislation to require employees to join a union if they want to be part of the collective employment contract.

"The Alliance wants to go further by removing the ability of staff on individual contracts to negotiate pay and conditions different from or less than those on a collective contract.

"Underlying this argument is a firm intention on the part of the Labour/Alliance Government to take New Zealand industrial relations back to the pre-ECA conflict-ridden days.

"It must be great fun inside the Cabinet room at the moment, when Labour and the Alliance can't even agree on what constitutes good faith bargaining.

"However you read this, it is all bad news for New Zealand employees and businesses, as well as for all New Zealanders who will be inconvenienced by the increase in industrial action.

"The Labour/Alliance proposals will put our industrial relations system well behind that of Australia and make it more appealing for motivated young Kiwis to escape high tax rates and intrusive union politics by going to live and work across the Tasman," Mr Bradford said.

ENDS

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