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Industrial Action A Taste Of Labour: Vernon

Belinda Vernon
MP for Maungakiekie

MEDIA RELEASE


Industrial Action A Taste Of Labour: Vernon
20/10/99

"The recent union industrial action that has disrupted Auckland bus and plane commuters is a taste of what life would be like under a Labour/Alliance government," said Maungakiekie MP Belinda Vernon today.

"Labour's industrial relations policy would see legalised strikes in pursuit of multi-employer contracts and union dominated work sites. Under Labour it wouldn't be just the bus drivers striking, it would be everyone covered under the transport workers union - we would see absolute gridlock."

"Since the Employment Contracts Act there has been a stunning decline in workplace conflict. Under 3 years of the Labour more than 900,000 working days were lost compared to around 106,000 under the last 3 years of National. In dollar terms lost wages totaled $100 million under Labour compared to $14 million under National. No one wants a return to the days of costly strikes. Strikes cost union members money."

"Labour's industrial relations policy is designed to re-build the power base of the unions. The unions have traditionally been Labour's support base. If Labour forms a government there is no doubt the unions will demand their reward for loyalty.

"Labour's emphasis on union influence does not reflect the sentiment of New Zealanders. Since voluntary unionism was introduced employees have been deserting unions. Today, less than 20% of employees are part of a union. The overwhelming majority of employees have found strike-orientated unions are not necessary to negotiate positive terms and conditions of employment."

Ms Vernon concluded, "Labour needs to wake up to the fact that New Zealand workers want to work, not get involved in industrial unrest."

Ends

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