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Employers seek co-operation with Government

Employers seek co-operation with Government, and growth

The chairman of the Employers Forum of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Terry Arnold, is urging employers to adopt a constructive and co-operative approach to the Labour/Alliance Government rather than confrontation, in spite of strong business opposition to some of the government's major legislative changes.

Mr Arnold’s comments followed an EMA conference where employers and politicians vigourously debated critical issues facing the economy as a result of the new Government's macro and micro economic approach. He said some sectors of business had made it bluntly clear they thought Government was taking backward steps in some areas.

"The criticism by some employer groups is understandable, and it is imperative that robust public debate continue over policy between business and Government,” Mr Arnold said.

“But today's commercial environment requires all parties to listen to one another’s interests and to explore ways of establishing a collaborative approach rather than a contentious one.

"Confrontation does not work. In the past it led to industrial disharmony, and we do not want to revert to the old days when Government frequently intervened in business because there appeared no alternative.

“Nevertheless there are serious areas of disagreement requiring co-operation between employers and the Government over the coming months if our economic competitiveness and sustainability are to be maintained. Two principle issues are the changes to accident compensation and labour relations’ legislation.

"Employers are vigorously forwarding points of view directly in conflict with the Government's stated policies; both points of view must focus on developing an acceptable level of compromise.

“The absolute top priority for Government and employers must be to generate economic growth.

“However business wants Government to address inconsistencies apparent in some of its stated policies.

"On the one hand the Government wants to create a 'knowledge economy' and generate innovation; on the other it is attempting to prescribe how markets should behave with some changes it is introducing, such as the new labour relations legislation.

"Employers are committed to growing their businesses but need an encouraging Government policy environment and business framework, unfettered by excessive Government intervention, in which to do so.

“We are dedicated toward achieving positive outcomes in such an environment.”

ends

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