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Brash hammers employment Bill

Brash hammers employment Bill

National Party leader Don Brash has launched a vigorous assault on the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill and promised a concerted campaign to oppose it.

Speaking to the Institute of Directors in Wellington today he said: "The Bill is a lose-lose proposition for workers and employers, with a positive spin-off only for unions.

"It will hurt the very people the Government claims to represent. Workers should be very worried about this. It is a jack-up with the unions to get more union fees paid.

"It will reduce the incomes and job opportunities of workers, and destroy the hard-earned wealth tied up in many small businesses.

"The Bill discriminates against non-union employees and seriously undermines the fundamental right of free association. They will lose the right to negotiate what they are worth," Dr Brash said.

Most workers had already voted with their feet and decided they did not want or need to be union members.

"Companies can be fined up to $10,000 if they give employees on individual agreements the same terms and conditions as union members. This amounts to compulsory unionism through the back door, penalising employees who want to negotiate their own contracts.

Dr Brash also said the 'sale of business' clauses were "a serious attack on the ability of small businesses to capitalise on their investment".

"Let me say this to small business owners: this Bill is an all-out assault on your wealth. The 'sale of business' clause, in conjunction with the requirements to settle collective agreements, means unions could impose redundancy clauses that could destroy much of the equity the owner had worked over many years to build up."

'Vulnerable employee' clauses would stop new owners changing staffing and management practices, reducing the value of the firm and making such workers even more vulnerable.

"This is an attempt to impose a failed European model of industrial relations on New Zealand. It is bizarre that we should attempt to imitate the industrial relations law of countries where unemployment rates are stuck at around 10%.

"It will be extremely damaging to job prospects, and will further slow income growth. The only sensible solution is for the Government to perform another U-turn."

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