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The Mapp Report: Strikes Go On And On

The Mapp report 6 May 2005

Strikes Go On And On

This week, union strikes and lockouts have reached the highest level for many years. The bus drivers began their six-day strike this week. The Employment Court has ruled that the University of Auckland has to negotiate a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement. Both these situations have come about because of the Government's amendments to the Employment Relations Bill 2000 last year.

The six-day bus strike engineered by the Drivers Union shows just how far back this Government has taken New Zealand. We have returned to the bad old days of union militancy and random strikes that will inconvenience the public at every turn. It comes on the back of anxiety about New Zealand's economic future. The Auckland Stagecoach Drivers have gone on strike for six days, despite the recommendation of the Employment Relations Authority that the drivers accept a 14.8% offer made by Stagecoach. The drivers are effectively striking for 66c per hour. They will lose more wages through the strike, than they would by accepting the company's pay offer. Consequently, some drivers are now seeking individual contracts with the company. What is the point of this strike? The answer is obvious. Union power, promoted by the amendments to the ERA 2000, pushed through by Labour in 2004.

The University of Auckland is now confronted by industrial action which is out of step with a modern economy. Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon is quite right when he says collective bargaining is not appropriate in a competitive tertiary environment. Besides which, all staff - both union and non-union - have been offered a 4.5% wage rise. The notion that it is 'bad faith' to offer all staff such a deal shows the real reason behind the amendments in 2004. To bring back multi-employer employment contracts, even though it is contrary to the needs of the modern economy.

These are just two of the current disputes. We have had practically a strike a day all through April, and as a result of that, business confidence has plummeted to its lowest level in many years. It would be naïve in the extreme to think, as the EPMU seems to think, that the strikes have had nothing to do with this. Now that the expected results of Labour's legislation have come home to roost, it is time for some solutions to this debacle.

It's Time For Balance In The Workplace: National Launches Employment Policy

Yesterday, I launched National's policy on Employment Law. We want to see some balance brought back into the workplace, and employment legislation that reflects the free and modern workforce that now exists today. New Zealand will never have the kind of productivity growth that Australia has enjoyed, without sensible employment law. Productivity growth in Australia is around 2.5% per annum, compared with our 1.5%. OECD research has shown that flexible modern employment law, of the kind that we are proposing, is crucial in achieving such gains. We have no choice if we want to move ahead as a nation.

National will repeal the Employment Relations Law Reform Act 2004, and bring in a new Act incorporating the best of the Employment Contracts Act 1991 and the Employment Relations Act 2000. This new Act will ensure employers and employees have the same rights in employment contracts; remove union monopoly bargaining rights over collective agreements; establish a 90 day probation period for new workers to reduce barriers to employment; put limits on union access to the workplace.

National will also review the Holidays Act 2003, and change the definition of "relevant daily pay" to "ordinary pay". This will mean that payment for sick leave, public holidays and bereavement leave will not automatically include overtime and productivity bonuses. National will also review the payment formula for public holidays. We want to give employees real choice, and allow people to work the fourth week of annual leave, or take it as salary/wages, by mutual agreement.

A National government will also remove the provision of work related stress as a specific ground for OSH action. Work related stress is too easy to assert, and too difficult to prove.

Our policy is about more productive work places. We will deliver employment law that meets the needs of the modern economy, to boost New Zealand incomes, both of businesses and employees.

06 May 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).

Monday 23rd May, 2005

Post-Budget Breakfast with Don Brash
Your opportunity to hear Don Brash & Finance Spokesperson John Key assess the Labour Budget. They will also cover key elements of National's plan to build prosperity.
Time: 7.15am
Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna
Cost: $25.00
RSVP: 486 0005
Monday, 23rd May, 2005
Public Meeting with Dr. Wayne Mapp MP
Wayne will be giving the post-budget talk. Please feel free to bring a friend for a cup of tea and a chat.
Time: 10.00am
Venue: North Shore Electorate Office, 1st Floor, Parkway Arcade, 54 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna.


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