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ERB will see employers held to ransom

Wayne Mapp - National Industrial Relations Spokesman

13 September 2004

ERB will see employers held to ransom

National's Industrial Relations spokesman Wayne Mapp says the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill overlooks the mountain of opposing submissions and leaves employers vulnerable to the unions.

The Transport and Industrial Relations select committee reported the legislation back to Parliament today.

"Any talk of reaching a consensus, or of the Bill being more business friendly, is blatant Beehive spin," says Dr Mapp.

"Under the changes to 'good faith', employers have to conclude a collective agreement. They cannot even object on the basis that it's a bad idea or that they don't believe in them.

"The changes also mean employers will not be able to walk away from the negotiating table until all issues are resolved. If those issues include a demand from a union for a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement, then that union will keep the employer at the table until the demand is met.

"Although the clause requiring employers to attend at least one meeting with a union to discuss a MECA has been removed, the Bill will still allow unions to push unwilling employers into one."

The changes to 'good faith' also mean that merely expressing an opinion about a union could land an employer with a fine of up to $10,000.

"This means that employers won't be able to advise their employees of the options relevant to the workplace in question," says Dr Mapp

"The recent strike action involving Ports of Auckland employees is a sign of things to come. The port workers have threatened further action and the involvement of other ports.

"This legislation allows unions to push for MECAs that cover entire industries and has the potential to grind the country to a halt as transport networks and industries shut down."

Dr Mapp urges people to contact their local MP to voice their concerns about this draconian legislation.

"This is just another example of Labour pandering to the unions, to the detriment of both employers and their employees".

ENDS

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