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Union Legislation Takes Effect Confidence Plummets

The Mapp Report

Union Legislation Takes Effect As Business Confidence Plummets

The EPMU's 5% across the board wage rise campaign is beginning to have the predicted effects on the business sector. The latest National Bank Business Outlook Survey shows 48% of firms are pessimistic about the future - up from 19% the month before. Such a sudden change shows a hard landing is much more likely. Much of this change in sentiment is directly due to the Labour Government's industrial relations policies, which have encouraged union militancy.

This week, the ANZ-National Bank workers are taking their industrial action up another level. They are planning to launch instant strikes as early as next week. This means workers will walk off the job any time they want to. Imagine the chaos this will cause to thousands of National Bank and ANZ customers.

Despite the union denials that the 7 days of strikes during early April would have had any effect on business confidence, employers know better. CTU spokesman Peter Conway's comment that strike action is at historically 'low levels' is simply not true. The level of strike action since the EPMU campaign is the highest in many years, with strikes virtually every day this month.

The basic problem is the EPMU's view of one size fits all; that all employers should pay a 5% rise in wages, irrespective of the individual costs of this in each firm. The EPMU wants multi-employer collective bargaining contracts (MECA's) - a concept that is simply not relevant to the needs of modern business. MECAs are exactly what Labour's legislation encourages. Unions are using their new found power. But the cost of the strike action is borne by employers, employees, and customers.

National has now been proven correct that Labour's amendments to the ERA last year would cause industrial strife. Strike action is up, and business confidence is falling. The winter of discontent has well and truly begun.

It is not only the strike action that has caused the collapse in confidence. Labour's Holiday Act amendments, requiring time and a half plus a day in lieu to be paid to all workers working on public holidays, have also shaken business confidence. The costs of complying with this demand are clear on every public holiday - bars and cafes, which should be doing a roaring trade, are instead choosing to close rather than paying an additional 150% to staff. Workers, employers, and the public all lose out.

Unfortunately, these events will be only the start, as the predicted economic downturn starts to bite. Employers are already being forced to consider laying off workers.

National has a clear policy alternative. We will remove union preferences from the law. Employers and employees need to be able to negotiate agreements that suit their needs, not the agendas of unions more concerned with multi-employer contracts.

I will be setting out the details of our industrial relations policy at the EMA on May 5th.

We know that employers need less compliance costs, and more freedom to organise their workplaces to suit their businesses. If you want less compliance, less downtime, and more business, give your Party Vote to National this election. There is no other way to change the current industrial relations law.

29th April 2005

20th May 2005
Post Budget Briefing with Don Brash.

Join National Party Leader Dr. Don Brash for a post-Budget Briefing at the Ellerslie Convention Centre The North Shore Electorate are going to have a table, so please come and join us. All enquries to the Electorate Office: 09 486 0005 or

Time: 12.00pm for a 12.30pm start.Venue: Ellerslie Convention Centre, Ellerslie Racecourse.Cost: $65.00 pp (if paying before 30th April, or $75.00pp after that date).

Dr Wayne Mapp

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