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ERA will make NZ’s poverty problem worse

Andrew Little
Labour Issues Spokesperson

11 December 2013

ERA will make NZ’s poverty problem worse

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill as reported back to Parliament today will make it harder to lift wages and incomes and make New Zealand’s poverty problem worse, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Andrew Little.

“The Bill was reported back from the select committee today with few changes, despite being in serious need of them.

“At a time of real wage decline and growing income inequality what we need is the means to push wages up, not hand even more control to employers to keep wages down, which is what this Bill does.

“The Bill abolishes the requirement to employ new employees under any applicable collective agreement for the first 30 days, allows an employer to seek a declaration that bargaining for a collective agreement is at an end, enables an employer to opt out of multi-employer bargaining where that has been sought by the workforce, and reduces the coverage of protections for workers whose work is transferred to another employer.

“The Bill also introduces new rules for strikes and lock-outs and requires the Employment Relations Authority to give oral decisions at the conclusion of a hearing.

“It is not a flexible labour practice for the employer to dictate the price of labour and other working conditions; that’s a rigid labour practice that denies workers their legitimate voice on their workplace issues.”

“This Government continues to play into the worst from of productivity improvement – giving the employer the power to slash wages in real terms rather than creating value through good quality workplace relationships and paying better wages.

“Labour is committed to labour law reform that puts mutually respectful and rewarding employment relationships at the centre of our legal framework, rather than this Government’s on-going commitment to an increasingly skewed and exploitative arrangement reflected in this Bill,” says Andrew Little.

ENDS

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