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Secret Workplace Reviews Must Be Made Public

20 May 2001

Govt's Secret Workplace Reviews Must Be Made Public

National's Industrial Relations Spokesperson Lockwood Smith is calling on the Government to release immediately the secret reviews it's been carrying out on key industrial relations issues.

The Government has recently received reviews on the Holidays' Act, Equal Employment Opportunities, and what's called 'contracting out'.

"If the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, is being genuine in her claims of open government, she should insist these reviews are released. There are big issues at stake and the public should have the chance to debate them.

Dr Smith said the 'Contracting Out' review is advising the Government on policy options for protecting the wages and conditions of workers in the event of a business being transferred or sold, or where the work is contracted out.

"What's scary, is that the Government may pick up on the latest European Union directive on this issue, a directive that says if a business is transferred to a new buyer or contractor, that new buyer or contractor must pick up all the employees and all their existing employment arrangements from the previous employer.

"This means the costs of restructuring a business will shift to the purchaser, subsequently reducing the purchase price and making the business worth much less.

"What's more, if you win a contract for a service job for example, such as cleaning, you'll probably have to take over the staff of the previous contractor. A business in this situation is likely to already have its own staff and combining the two will obviously cause integration and industrial problems.

"These issues should be the subject of wider debate and the Government's current secrecy makes a mockery of Helen Clark's claims of open and honest Government. It seems the Yelash affair has set new standards on the Government's openness," Dr Smth said.


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