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Union Alarmed At Benefit Stand Down Proposal


“The Employers Federation is still stuck in a punitive, forced-labour mind set,” said Robert Reid, President of UNITE!, the community based union for unemployed and marginalised workers.

He was responding to today’s call by Employers Federation boss Anne Knowles for the 13 week benefit stand-down for those dismissed from their job to be extended to those whose dismissal is unjustified. (Dominion 14 January 2000 pg 7)

“It would be much better if Anne Knowles and her ilk left the 19th and 20th Centuries behind them and faced up to the fact that we are now living in a new Century,” Robert Reid said. “Rather than proposing extensions to the failed policies of forced labour, we need to be looking at ways to give workers more powers and freedoms.

“Under the proposal of Anne Knowles, a worker who has been unjustifiably dismissed from a job would be forced onto a 13 week stand-down from the benefit,” Robert Reid said. “Where is the justice in that? Why punish a worker and her or his family for the illegal action of an employer?

“UNITE! is also opposed to the current system of stand-downs, but we seek to eliminate them altogether rather than extend them,” said Robert Reid. “We believe that workers should not be forced into remaining in an unsatisfactory job with the threat of benefit sanctions. Likewise, whether justified or unjustified, all workers should be entitled to the benefit if they are dismissed from their employment.

“UNITE! calls on Hon. Steve Maharey, the new Minister of Social Welfare and Employment, to abolish the punitive stand-down provisions that have no place in a civilised social and industrial policy. It will be meeting with Steve Maharey together with other benefit advocacy groups next week. The question of stand-downs will be one point of the agenda.”

For further information please contact Robert Reid on:
(04) 237 5062 (w), (04) 389 5399 (h)

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