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Union backs a return to the bad old days

Union backs a return to the bad old days

A call by the country's largest union for a return to compulsory union membership heralds the giant leap backwards that the McGillicuddy Serious Party was always looking for.

"Most worrying is that the Labour Government will be forced to take the Engineers Union call seriously," says National Party Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

"Only recently Helen Clark was singing the praises of the Trade Union movement at a conference in Australia - her sympathies are well known.

"Already New Zealand businesses are screaming enough, with new legislation that promises to push up compliance costs by as much as $44,000 a year," Mr Sowry says.

"Now they're facing a new threat, a return to compulsory union membership.

"In the spirit of democracy and free choice, every Kiwi deserves to be able to make up their own mind about union membership," Mr Sowry says.

"The world's heading into uncharted waters, with a war looming, a rising exchange, soft commodity prices and the well forecast international slow-down, businesses can't afford a major change to the industrial relations climate.

"They're being forced to shoulder extra costs associated with Occupational Safety and Health legislation and contemplating the impact of Holidays Act changes," says Mr Sowry.

"If the Labour Government was serious about its now abandoned economic growth targets any suggestion of a return to compulsory unionism would be scotched without debate.

"It seems unlikely the Labour Government will do that, given the concessions it continues to make to those that helped them stay in power," Mr Sowry says.

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