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Employment Relations Bill worse than expected

The Employment Relations Bill is worse than we anticipated and totally out of step with modern businesses and today's generation of workers, Opposition Industrial Relations spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"The National Party will be carefully considering the detail of the Bill, but it is clear that a number of features not only turn back the Employment Contracts Act but go further than the old outdated Labour Relations Bill.

"New Zealanders won't have to look far to see the Employment Relations Bill is just a recipe for allowing unions to take control over people's pay and conditions.

"Eighty per-cent of workers have chosen not to join a union, but many will now have to if they want to be bound by the collective. That's nothing but compulsory union membership by the back door.

"The Bill will increase union membership by making the cost of not being in a union too high.

"The new union rights are greater than expected. It is obvious this Bill is not about employees and employers but is just a pay back to the traditional Labour support base - unions.

* Unions will get open entry to secret company and business information.

* Contractors like homecare workers (dependent contractors) are highly likely to have to become union members rather than be their own boss.

* Union members will have their job protected over the jobs of non-union members.

* Unions get a right enshrined in law to enter workplaces and recruit members.

* If you want to be part of a collective agreement you will have to join a union.

* If you want to be part of a collective agreement you will have to pay union fees. This will put between $50-$150million into the pockets of union officials.

* Employers will be forced to deduct union fees.

* Union members get special paid education leave.

"We do however think the concept of an Employment Relations Authority and changes to the Labour inspectorate have merit. But the Bill does not deal with problems with the Holidays Act.

"There are other concerning features of the changes which National will be working on and analysing.

"National believes it won't take long for most people - especially middle New Zealand - to realise that Labour's promises amount to nothing but the imposition of unions, union rules and union fees on their working lives."


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