Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Employment Relations Bill Speech to Parliament

ACT leader Richard Prebble
Employment Relations Bill Speech to Parliament

The ACT party is strongly opposed to the Employment Relations Bill.

The Bill is a radical rewrite of New Zealand's employment laws. It introduces new concepts foreign to our law, some that have no precedent anywhere. It's law designed on the premise that the whole country is like a university.

The government claims its new law is fairer - this law has nothing to do with fairness. Where is the fairness in making it illegal to carry on your business in a strike? Is it fair that good employers will now have even more to fear from bogus personal grievance claims?

This Bill's real purpose is to promote trade unionism. The Bill is the result of an ideological belief that the free enterprise system is exploitative; the belief that business is exploitative; and the belief that freedom to contract is exploitative. The people that wrote this Bill actually think that all employers are crooks and thieves!

The government must believe this otherwise why would labour inspectors be given more power than a police officer? Why would the Bill allow a trade union official to enter your premises without notice, something a police officer can't do?

This Bill bestows power and privilege on unions. Only unions can negotiate a collective contract. If any employees dare to do this - the contract is void. Multi-employer strikes are legalised - a return to industry-wide strikes. New employees must be employed on the union collective for 30 days. To be on the collective, workers must join the union - de facto compulsory unionism.

Unions truly are Helen Clark's 'chosen people'.

The Bill rides roughshod over the sanctity of contract. Unions - by democratic vote - can terminate existing collective contracts on July 1 next year. They will use this to line up every port, every freezing works, every airline. This is a recipe for industry-wide collectives - and industry-wide strikes.

The Bill, for the first time in New Zealand, makes it illegal to order employees to do the work of striking workers, or bring in outside help. This clause alone gives enormous power to workers in key positions and makes the strike a lethal weapon.

This Bill will not promote industrial harmony. It's bad for investment, growth and jobs.

This Bill is unfair to small business. It has been designed for big business, but 92% of employers have fewer than 10 workers. Employers must pay for union education, they must collect union fees, they must understand this complex legislation. The compliance costs of this will be huge, and small business will be hardest hit.

Personal grievances are easier to bring and the presumption is created that the employer is guilty. In certain circumstances, claims can be brought up to nine years later. That’s another compliance cost, and another reason not to create jobs.

The Bill attracted the all-time record for submissions. Some 2305 substantive submissions, 75% against the Bill. 15,000 form submissions and a 57,000 signature petition in favour of owner operator continuity.

I had expected in the 395 oral submissions to hear stories of workers being exploited. That's been the coalition propaganda. There are 250,000 employers in New Zealand. Human nature being what it is there must be, under any law, some bad employers.

Very few cases were presented. In every case the Labour department had prosecuted or the Employment Court had made major awards. There were no cases of exploitation where the existing law had not acted or this Bill would provide a better remedy.

That did surprise me. The Employment Contracts Act not only provided a framework where over 280,000 new jobs were created, it has clearly been much fairer than either its critics or supporters realised.

This Bill is not fair on the unemployed. Under this regime the people who will lose out will be those who are most marginalised in our community - the young, the uneducated, the unskilled.

This Bill makes it risky to employ anyone, let alone someone with a dodgy employment history. The very people who most need a break will now be even less likely to get one. Those who already have jobs may get pay rises, but it is the unemployed who will pay.

This Bill must not pass. It is unfair, it creates privilege, it will create industrial strife, it will damage the economy, it will hurt the poor and the marginalised. This Bill will not take us one step closer to the government's own, very laudable goal of closing the gaps. This Bill must not pass.


dENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

a well

Wellness: Gordon Campbell On Ardern, Davos, And Wellbeing

The word “well-being” has a nice warm ring to it. So much so that the ‘wellbeing budget’ being touted by PM Jacinda Ardern at the rich folks’ club in Davos, Switzerland sounds more like a marketing slogan than an actual policy initiative.

Still, it is just as easy to forget that GDP – the common measure of how well an economy is performing – is also a marketing device. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Shipping Is NZ’s New Trade Problem

So Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May have signed a piece of paper promising peace in our time when it comes to our trade with Britain... Brexit is not the only concern. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: National Announces Spokesperson For Drug Reform

National Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Paula Bennett to the new position of Spokesperson for Drug Reform as the Government pushes ahead with its agenda of drug decriminalisation, to signal National’s commitment to holding them to account. More>>

ALSO:

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday]. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels