Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


The case for scrapping the ECA

2000 web site
"Labour will repeal the Employment Contracts Act because it is unfair, contravenes important ILO conventions and has failed to increase productivity or growth," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.

"The Act is unfair because it pretends there is no imbalance in the power relationship between workers and employers. The reality in all but the most exceptional cases is different, as most people - and even most economists - are prepared to acknowledge.

"To quote J. K. Galbraith in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times: "That the individual worker, needing regularly to eat, often committed to a mortgage and in doubt as to alternatives, can deal on equal terms with the large corporate buyer of labour can be believed only after much careful training."

"ILO conventions 87 and 98 developed out of the principle to which Galbraith refers. They promote the right of workers to organise and bargain collectively. The ECA is in breach of both of them.

"An ILO report into New Zealand in 1994 recommended that the law be changed to give workers the right to strike in pursuit of a multi-employer contract. The Government rejected this advice. Labour will adopt it and will bring New Zealand into conformity with the ILO.

"National dropped equity as an objective of New Zealand's industrial law with the passage of the ECA, promising only that it would deliver economic efficiency. But even on this narrow test it fails.

"Labour productivity growth has actually fallen since the Act was introduced, according to Reserve Bank figures. The series only goes back to 1987 but still the evidence is compelling: from 1987 to 1990 labour productivity grew at an average annual rate of 2 percent. In the ECA era - 1991 to 1999 - the figure has slipped to just 0.36 percent.

"The Government and its friends in the business community make big claims for the ECA. But they strain credibility when they attempt to credit every job created over the last nine years to the Act. They also conveniently overlook the fact that many of these jobs are part-time, casual, low paid or all three.

"It is time this unfortunate experiment was brought to an end. The incoming Labour Government will do that as a matter of priority and will bring in a fairer regime within our first year in office," Dr Cullen said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election