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Serious Criminals Negotiating Contracts

Govt. Lifts Ban On Serious Criminals Negotiating Contracts

The Government has removed workers' rights to ban serious criminals from acting as their bargaining agents, Opposition Industrial Relations spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"The Employment Relations Bill scraps safeguards for workers and employers contained in the Employment Contracts Act covering who can represent a worker in contract negotiations.

"The law change means people with serious criminal convictions punishable by a prison term of five years or more will now be able to take up the job of contract negotiator - and the worker will have no absolute right to stop it.

"This radical change was revealed in a Cabinet paper released by Margaret Wilson to the National Party under the Official Information Act.

"The Employment Contracts Act specifically gave an employee the right to object about serious criminals representing them.

"Under the Employment Relations Bill an employee could be represented at the negotiating table by convicted gang members, con men or violent offenders and have no say in it.

"Those same people could have access to highly confidential commercial and business information under the disclosure regime in the ERB.

"The Employment Contracts Act gave protection to small employers to challenge the right of a bargaining agent with criminal convictions. What is a small employer to do now when faced with a powerful union representative with a criminal record?

"I do not understand why this Government wants to specifically remove the safeguards contained in the Employment Contracts Act. It is another example of the ludicrous - and far reaching - provisions in the Employment Relations Bill."

Ends Clause 11 from ECA and advice from Minister of Labour Cabinet paper

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