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Workers demand right to say no to freeloaders

Workers demand right to say no to freeloaders

New Zealand’s largest union is calling for employers and workers to have the right to agree that everyone who works in a particular workplace be on the collective – and a member of the union.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little, in a speech this morning to the 17th annual IIR Industrial Relations Conference in Auckland, said that there was a growing tide of anger against freeloaders who accepted union-negotiated wages and conditions without contributing to the process.

“The freeloader problem is turning into a major one for a growing number of workplaces,” he said.

“The failure to address this issue will impede the ability to get the best (out of the workforce).”

Anger against freeloaders had dominated debate during a recent meeting in Auckland of some 400 EPMU members from different workplaces, he said.

Mr Little’s arguments about the “rights” of individuals not to join a union did not hold water.

“In my view, it would be entirely appropriate and consistent with a balance of relevant rights and freedoms for the legislation to allow a union and an employer to be able to agree that people who wish to work there must agree to be employed under terms and conditions negotiated by the union and must, therefore, also belong to the union.”

The EPMU would be raising the issue in the upcoming review of the Employment Relations Act, Mr Little said.

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