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Horticulturalists fear uncertainties in ERB

Media release


7 August 2000

Horticulturalists fear uncertainties in Employment Relations Bill

The Nursery & Garden Industry Association, representing 650 plant nurseries and garden retailers nation-wide, has voiced its concerns about the proposed Employment Relations Bill.

The Association says the Bill, if enacted, will impose considerable costs on the majority of its members. Most of its members are small businesses, a very significant number of which are regionally located.

Chief Executive Jeremy Kennerley says costs from union meetings, extended employment until the expiry of an agreement, education leave and other provisions of the Bill, will be hard for small employers to bear.

"Many of our members are operating on the margins now and they do not know how they will cope once the costs of reunionising fall on them," Mr Kennerley said.

"Compounding this is the problem of uncertainty and relearning the law. Not knowing what 'good faith' is until it gets tested in the court is very unsettling. Not knowing whether a union is going to cause a strike in order to get a multi-employer agreement across the industry does not help confidence to invest. Not knowing whether a former employee will bring up a bogus grievance claim nine years after leaving, does not give certainty.

"The Bill introduces additional restrictions for employers including the clauses detailing union entry to workplaces, communication with staff and information disclosure. Such restrictions work against the very core of small business generation, which is about flexibility and innovation, fuelled by the entrepreneurial flame.

"All these uncertainties are the result of this Bill and uncertainty prohibits growth. Our members respectfully ask the Government to take the Bill back to the drawing board," Mr Kennerley said.

Ends

Contact Jeremy Kennerley 04 3853511 or 025 953480


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