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Greens to moot six changes to ERB

Greens to moot six changes to ERB

The Green Party is proposing six amendments to the Employment Relations Bill this week.

These supplementary order papers, plus Green amendments already added to the bill in the select committee process, are aimed at refining the bill rather than greatly favouring either worker or employer.

A new clause announced by Green Employment Spokesperson Sue Bradford yesterday gives continuity of employment under new bosses for service workers, and especially cleaners, where a provider changes but the service on the premises continues. Other amendments proposed this week are:

1. A new clause 22A which states that employers cannot unreasonably deny unions access even in work areas designated "secure". 2. A new clause 68 which aims to minimise freeloading. The supplementary order paper allows for a 75 percent vote of all employees in a workplace to require workers to either join the union or pay an agents bargaining fee to the union. 3. A new clause 76 to require employers to supply names and addresses of workers to unions if such workers agree. This is particularly important for home care workers where there is no single work site and it is difficult for unions to speak to employees, or even know who is employed. 4. A new clause 100 which allows the right to strike for political, social and environmental reasons. 5. A new clause 107 and schedule one that stipulates public passenger transport services must be designated essential services and that they need 24 hours notice of a strike. The present bill omits such notice and has public safety implications - for example a worst case scenario would be school children left on the street waiting for buses, if a strike was called during the day.

During the select committee process, Sue argued for the following changes to the ERB which:

1. Gave dependent contractors the right to determine their own employment status instead of being designated employees. 2. Stipulated that a minimum of 15 people be allowed to form a union. The bill as it stood previously would have allowed smaller membership numbers. 3. Supported the Brethren Church's request that unions could be denied access where the employer was a practising member of a religious organisation whose beliefs precluded membership of any organisation. This applies only where no employees are union members.

Sue Bradford MP 04 4706720 SOP details and background notes are available from the following staff: Deborah Moran, Researcher 04 4706705. Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 021 214 2665

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