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Simon says (but he is wrong)

28 January 2003 Media Statement

Simon says (but he is wrong)

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson says constructive debate about the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill must be based on facts, not misinformation.

Business New Zealand chief executive Simon Carlaw this week claimed “imposed settlements and the forced MECAs with subsequent parties clauses…are all getting close to compulsory unionism, compulsory arbitration and national awards of the 70s and 80s.”

Margaret Wilson says the Bill does not mean employers can be forced into a multi-employer employment agreement. “The Bill only requires employers to meet once, if their employees are seeking a MECA.

“The Bill does not signal a return to compulsory unionism. The Bill complies with all obligations under the Bill of Rights, and affirms the principle of freedom of association. Employees have a right to choose to belong to a union or not.

“The Bill does not provide for compulsory arbitration. The Bill allows for non-binding third-party facilitation by the Employment Relations Authority if employers or employees and their union seek such assistance during negotiations.

“The Bill does not provide for a national awards system. Instead the amendments reflect the needs of a diverse workforce.”

“The Business Round Table’s Roger Kerr has also claimed more workdays have been lost because of industrial unrest under the Employment Relations Act.

“According the best information available to me, the average number of days lost per quarter has actually fallen - from 10,330 under the Employment Contracts Act to 8,938 under the ERA.

“The average number of work stoppages per quarter has fallen from 12.7 to 9; the number of employees involved from 4,780 to 3,978, the average amount of wages and salaries lost from $1.53 million to $1.395 million.”


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