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‘Fair Pay’ plans would hurt economy, productivity

The Fair Pay Agreement Working Group has confirmed our worst fears with economically damaging proposals to impose national awards and let a minority of workers force industry-wide pay talks, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Iain Lees-Galloway may have got the recommendations he wanted when he stacked the Working Group with unionists and academics. Employer representatives disagreed, highlighting the business and economic risks but their options didn’t make the final report.

“Seemingly Mr Lees-Galloway is unfazed by the prospects of widespread strikes and loss of productivity. But he’s also apparently blind to the fundamental unfairness of the proposals.

“The idea that one in 10 employees, or 1000 across an industry, can trigger mandatory nationwide employment negotiations is democratically offensive.

“The Minister will struggle to explain how businesses and workers will be better off under a regime that would be backwards, one-size-fits all and rigid.

“One of the most worrying aspects is the lack of opt-out provisions for businesses. That means both small and large businesses across New Zealand will be coerced into more restrictive, costly employment agreements. That is a step towards compulsory unionism.

“The Government needs to quickly dismiss these radical recommendations and give certainty to businesses and workers that they will not be coerced into these restored national awards. They hurt our economy in the 1970s and they will hurt it now.

“National believes the best framework to increase wages over time includes flexible labour markets, respect for the right of individual workers and businesses to agree to their own terms and allows workers to negotiate their own contracts based on productivity or experience.”

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