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Schools no place for union recruitment

Nick Smith

National Education Spokesperson

1 October 2000

Schools no place for union recruitment

Union recruitment and promotion in schools is an ominous sign of life under the Employment Relations Act that takes effect today, National Education spokesperson Nick Smith said today.

There are reports of at least twelve secondary schools rearranging school timetables to allow the Council of Trade Unions to give students union education.

"It is bad enough that the Government's new law forces unions into every workplace without having them forced on school pupils. Union education taught by the CTU has no place in our classrooms.

"Using the compulsory state education system to brainwash young minds into supporting the Government's pro-union stance has a nasty small of Stalinism about it," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith noted that recent opinion polls indicated the majority of New Zealanders did not support the new Employment Relations Act. He compared the Labour Government's support of the CTU going into schools promoting the new Act as wrong as if National had abused its power in Government by encouraging the Employers Federation to tour schools and sell the merits of the Employment Contracts Act during the 1990s. Neither National nor the Employers sought to exploit children in this way then and nor should Labour and the Unions now.

"It is appalling that Youth Union Movement spokesperson Marae Dodd cites strong teacher unions as the reason why it was so easy to get access to schools. Teachers should not allow their professional ethics to be compromised by their own political views. If pupils are to receive education on employment issues and outside speakers are needed, equal time should be given to the CTU and the Employers Federation.

"The Labour-Alliance Government relies on its union affiliates for membership and campaign funds. Allowing union recruitment in schools is blatant political manipulation of our state education system and should be banned," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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