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Government Has No Mandate For ERB

Media release from Employers and Manufacturers Association (Central)
Released By Media Trumps

The government did not have a mandate to be so detailed and prescriptive with the Employment Relations Bill.

This was the advice to the Select Committee from the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Central).

EMA chair, Rodger Kerr-Newell, said that while employers accepted that both Labour and the Alliance had promised to change the Employment Contracts Act before the election, the changes outlined in the Bill were far in excess of anything suggested during the campaign.

"An example is the independent contractor clause where the legislation wants employers to take on independent contractors as employees with all the cost, red-tape and paper work that involves," Rodger Kerr-Newell said. "The only thing that will achieve is to slow down the economy, stifle our entrepreneurs and increase costs.

The ability of enterprises to change is also under threat through an implied term that employees covered by a collective agreement will have their employment guaranteed for the term of the agreement.

"Another issue is the basic unlimited access of union officials to workplaces with no restrictions on the amount of time they may waste.

"That is not the way business is done in the twenty first century.

"Finally, to forbid an employer to talk to his or her workers during a negotiation invites union censorship and distorted communications."

Rodger Kerr-Newell said that EMA had consulted its members at length and to a person they were dismayed at the unproductive costs the ERB would incur. Those increased costs would inevitably mean a loss of profitability and with it jobs.

"We believe that employers and employees should be free to negotiate their own contracts, whether they are individual or collective contracts," Rodger Kerr-Newell said. "Neither the government nor trade unions should have a right to interfere in that process."


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