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New Indistrial Law Welcomed; Benefit Health System




"The new industrial law proposed by the Labour-Alliance government is welcome and should benefit the health system," said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the Employment Relations Bill. The Association is the union representing salaried senior doctors most of who are employed in public hospitals.
"The National Executive has voted unanimously to support the new law in principle. We are especially supportive of the move to underpin employment relationships with good faith obligations, the promotion of collective negotiations so that employees have an equal playing field with employers, and the positive recognition of unions as the collective voice of employees."
"Some may consider it ironical that a union that has made important gains and improved its membership under the Employment Contracts Act of the former National government should support this new law. However, the fact that we have made gains highlights the unfairness of the Employment Contracts Act. Senior doctors are highly trained professionals possessing skills that are in short supply, both in New Zealand and internationally. But most employees are not in this unique situation and therefore are very vulnerable under the biased Employment Contracts Act."
"The Employment Contracts Act is negative short-sighted industrial law. Along with the ill-fated attempt by the former National government to commercialise public hospitals, it has encouraged a destructive adversarial climate between managers and health professionals. At times public hospitals feel more like war zones than caring institutions looking after patients. This has helped to undermine the cooperation essential to providing quality health care for patients."
"Although we support the principles and general direction of the Bill we do have some concerns over specific details. We will seek to have these resolved through our submission to Parliament," concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell
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