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Employment Bill Must Be Dumped, Says Prebble

Time was running out for employers and other interested groups to show their opposition to the government’s “radical” Employment Relations Bill, ACT leader Richard Prebble said today.

“Employers are only just beginning to realise this Bill is not a modification to the Employment Contracts Act, but a radical, totally new labour relations system. We only have until May 3 to get employers to make submissions opposing this Bill to the select committee,” Mr Prebble said.

“The ACT Party has been receiving an increasing number of calls from businesses asking us to explain the Bill and what, if anything, can be done about it.”

The Bill recommends, amongst other things:
 Termination of a fixed term contract at the end of the term will be deemed a case for unjustifiable dismissal
 All an employer’s financial records, business planning, and economic forecasting must be provided to union representatives during contract bargaining
 Compulsory consultation with unions if an employer is making business decisions which may affect employees
 Employers will no longer be able to negotiate collective contracts directly with staff.

“The financial sector, for example, will be affected because the Bill overrides statutes such as the Commerce Act, procedures for information disclosure for companies, and places financial liabilities directly on to directors and officers of companies,” Mr Prebble said.

“Small businesses are only just starting to realise that even companies that employ no-one could easily be caught up in the Bill. And if they do 70% of their business with one customer, they could discover to their surprise they are an employee of that company.”

Mr Prebble said anyone wanting to make a submission could access an online form at:
http://www.act.org.nz/action/employment/submission.html or fax the ACT Parliamentary office on 04 473 3532.

“Labour Minister Margaret Wilson has said if there are enough submissions, the government will consider amending the Bill – so we need to get as many as possible,” Mr Prebble said.
ENDS

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